FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, August 20 with GRSA. SUNDAY, AUGUST 26: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, August 21 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Unless there are two scratchings in Sunday night’s Group 3 Darwin Cup (537 m), Rockoon will contest the consolation before returning to Mount Gambier on Monday with his trainer Tracie Price.
The white and black son of Peter Rocket and Raya Riot, after finishing strongly to grab third spot in the final heat of the cup last Sunday night, was the seventh fastest of the four heats, running a time of 31.92 seconds.
However, only the first two in each heat qualified for the $25,000-to-the-winner final, Rockoon listed as the second reserve.
Price said that Rockoon had pulled up a treat after last Sunday night’s unlucky third and that he had been pleased with the run.
Meanwhile, at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon, there looks to be plenty of interest in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m) with Charlton trainer Kevin Ashton’s China Catch ‘Em, a brilliant 10 length winner last week in 30.05 seconds, chasing his fourth successive win.
Monday, July 30, 2018
The last time Geelong greyhound trainer Mick Vaughan was at Tara Raceway with Shep was at the beginning of July when he ran into Rockoon on the day he decided to break the 512 metre track record.
And while on Sunday Rockoon was 3500 kilometres away tackling a heat of the Darwin Cup, Shep still found himself up against some fair sort of dogs, not the least being Tuggeragh, a winner of 32 races and needing only a win in the winningformula.net.au Mixed Stake (512 m) to take his stake earnings to more than $100,000.
A winner at Tara Raceway last October, the 4½-year-old Shep came into the race on the back of a win in a Veteran race at Shepparton 10 days ago, but as one of the outsiders at $11 in the five-dog field that form was not really expected to hold up against the majority of his rivals.
However, Sunday was going to be his litter’s day. Lining up from box six at start number 105, the black son of the imported Westmead Osprey and Eily McMahon went out of the first turn in front and was never headed, holding off Blitz And Bolt to win by a length in a personal best time of 30.11 seconds.
This was the 14th time Shep had won, other success coming at The Meadows, Warrnambool, Geelong, Traralgon, Ballarat and Warragul – his durability and versatility perhaps inherited from Eily McMahon who only ever whelped the one litter.
By Trewly Special, the city-winning Eily McMahon went around on 80 occasions for 15 wins and 24 minor placings over distances ranging from 450 metres to 658 metres.
Earlier in the day, Shep’s litter sister and kennelmate, Eily West, led all the way from box three to defeat the Cap Abbott trained Blonde Barbados by 1¼ lengths in 23.58 seconds in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake, the first heat of a grade five over 400 metres.
Although this was her first win at Tara Raceway, Eily West – another durable and versatile chaser with 84 starts to her name – had previously won 15 races at the same tracks as Shep.
And Sunday’s double was the littermates’ third, Shep and Eily West also successful on March 2, 2016 at The Meadows and again on August 19, 2016 at Geelong.
Vaughan, who also bred and owns the littermates, said he was now keen to breed with Eily West, a winner of three races in the city and close to $50,000 in stakemoney.
Calling the races on Sunday was Ray Fewings who is generally good for an on-air quote.
As runners were being paraded prior to the running of the first grade five heat, Fewings said he wasn’t too sure how Cap Abbott would handle a blonde in Barbados. Quick to respond, the silver-haired Abbott, 75, was adamant that he would have no trouble in coping!
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Mount Gambier 512 metre track record holder Rockoon has missed out on a Darwin Cup finals berth after running a luckless third in the fourth and final heat at Winnellie Park on Sunday night.
Owned by Keith Hellmuth and trained at Compton by Tracie Price, Rockoon was a $2.25 favourite but after jumping well from box eight found trouble at the first turn.
From then on the white and black son of Peter Rocket and Raya Riot faced a huge task to finish in the first two and qualify for next Sunday’s Group 3 Darwin Cup final (537 m).
In the end he made up a stack of ground to finish three lengths from the winner Weeona Jimmy who ran the quickest of the four heats – 31.70 seconds – Rockoon now likely to be second reserve for the final.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Price’s nicely-bred Lika Missile impressed when winning the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Maiden (512 m) at Tara Raceway by six lengths in 30.25 seconds.
By Nitro Burst out of O Cee Ya, the November 2016 black dog will now be set for the forthcoming Peter Rocket Winter Classic, for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2016, heats of which will be run at Tara Raceway on Sunday, August 19.
Sunday, July 29, 2018
Trainers Richard Boehm and Sandra Elmes, based in the Victorian goldfields town of Dunolly, landed their first winners at Tara Raceway when Avatar Blaze and Serendipity Gold were successful at Friday’s time-graded meeting.
Avatar Blaze, a giveaway greyhound that had previously won at Horsham and Shepparton for Boehm, looked to have the leaders covered a fair way out in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 metres) before finishing strongly in the home straight for a two length win in 23.66 seconds.
By US sire KC And All, the white and fawn dog is out of maiden bitch Sabroni Mist whose dam, Miss Elly Mint, won 44 races and close to $200,000 in stakemoney.
The Elmes-trained Serendipity Gold opened his winning account at the track with a dominant performance in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), taking the lead going out of the first turn before racing away to 4¼ length win in a quick 30.12 seconds.
The winner, which has now won eight races, is owned by Boehm who also bred the son of Kinloch Brae and Helga – a bitch he won five races with.
Elmes and Boehm also combined to run second in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (600 m) with outsider Blondy Two who went into the race as a maiden and with six third placings from 26 starts.
A give away after initially displaying a reluctance to chase the lure, the fawn bitch was well off the pace mid-race but made up plenty of ground in the run home to go down to Last Princess by only three-quarters of a length in 35.71 seconds.
The SA-bred daughter of Spring Gun x As It Goes, Blondy Two is a litter sister to He’s Loaded, a winner of 10 races, along with 23 minor placings, for $74,000 in stakemoney.
Training greyhounds for nine years, Elmes and Boehm’s success came at their third trip to Mount Gambier.
“I reckon Tara Raceway is greyhound racing’s best kept secret,” Boehm said. “It’s a laid-back atmosphere with friendly people, while the track and surroundings are great. For sure, we will continue to race here.”
George Regis, in Mount Gambier with his owners Noel and Heather Perry since June, opened his SA winning account in 23.27 seconds when too strong for Quedos and Sweet Spud in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m).
Purchased as a pup by the Perrys, the win continued Noel Perry’s successful introduction to the training ranks, George Regis previously being based in Victoria where he won four races at Geelong and Ballarat.
By the Group 1-winning Spud Regis out of Sky Fly High, a winner of 18 races and $68,000 in stakemoney, the black and white dog was also originally part-owned by Heather Perry’s brother, Brian Treloar, who raced the sire.
But it hasn’t been all plain sailing for George Regis, as Heather Perry pointed out after Friday’s win.
“There have been toe issues with him. In fact, he’s had a toe removed and we’re now hoping that he can hold up to the rigours of racing. So far, though, he’s been handling himself pretty well.”
In late June, Ima Maldini put the writing on the wall for a win at Tara Raceway when leading for a long way before just going down to Ginger Road over 512 metres.
And Coleraine trainer Sindy Colpoys was back on Friday with Ima Maldini, the black bitch leading all the way from box six in the Produce Store Stake (512 m) to score by 1¾ lengths in 30.20 seconds.
Colpoys races the winner in partnership with her son Michael Kemp, the family successful at Tara Raceway with litter brother Villa Maldini – husband Steve the trainer on that occasion but currently recovering from a couple of knee replacements – at the end of last year.
By Dyna Villa out of Mizzy Maldini, Ima Maldini is one of a litter of 11, whelped in April 2016, which so far has produced nine individual winners.
Tracie Price’s treble on Friday included wins by litter brothers Knocka’s Moment and Smart Marty, the litter of five by Knocka Norris x Who’s Doing What all now having won.
Knocka’s Moment, having his first race start, was an impressive seven length winner of the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 m) while Smart Marty led all the way from box six in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) to defeat a fast finishing Azumi Twister in a best of day 23.19 seconds.
The litter double saw Who’s Doing What move two wins clear of Azumi Touch (the dam of Azumi Twister) in the leading dams’ list.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Tara Raceway 512 metre record holder Rockoon trialled in outstanding fashion in Darwin on Tuesday in readiness for the Darwin Cup heats (537 m) on Sunday night.
Trialling over the cup distance, Rockoon clocked 31.56 seconds which, according to Compton trainer Tracie Price, was “super”.
“Admittedly, this was a solo trial but at last Sunday’s race meeting Del Rey, who is running in a cup heat, won the Chief Minister’s Cup in 32.10 seconds,” he said.
Four Darwin Cup heats will be run on Sunday night with the first two placegetters from each heat advancing to the $25,000-to-the-winner Group 3 final which will be run on Sunday week.
Rockoon, a winner of $126,000 and the highest stakemoney earner of all the contenders, has drawn box eight in the final heat which is scheduled to be run at 8.38 p.m. (SA time).
Price, who arrived in Darwin with Rockoon on Saturday afternoon, said the white and black dog had settled in well.
“We’re based at a lovely spot called Bees Creek which is about 30 kilometres outside Darwin. And I tell you what, ‘Rocky’ has really taken over the place, to the extent that he has even claimed his own bedroom.”
Thursday, July 26, 2018
All told, the 2½-year-old Ben Nevis, previously one of the “bad boys” of greyhound racing, had spent something like five months on the sidelines due to indiscretions on the track prior to winning last Sunday’s Anniversary Cup (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.
He even failed a couple of Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) assessments, owners Sue Smith and her daughter, leading Victorian trainer Angela Langton, finally opting for one last roll of the dice – with trainer Nicole Stanley.
Stanley has enjoyed considerable success over a long period of time with greyhounds raced by Smith and Langton’s Champagne Partners syndicate that have been considered not up to Victorian city standard or maybe could benefit from some racing behind the finish-on-lure at Tara Raceway.
But, according to the Portland trainer, Ben Nevis, who hadn’t raced since the end of February, had been something of a challenge.
“He arrived down here in May, however it took quite a few trials before he switched on to the finish-on-lure,” she said. “It was actually a couple of months before he returned to racing with a win over Lilly An’ Page, who subsequently won at Tara Raceway at her next start.”
By Return The King out of Tarks Jewel, a Sandown Park and The Meadows winner, Ben Nevis is a half-brother to last year’s Anniversary Cup winner Fiorelli Rose, also raced by the Champagne Partners and trained by Stanley.
With Bereluke through to last Sunday’s final by virtue of an impressive heat win and Ben Nevis qualifying with a solid third placing, Stanley looked well placed to become the first trainer to win back-to-back Anniversary Cups with different greyhounds since Connie Miller won with Kenzel Lad and Durafi in 1986-1987 at Glenburnie.
Peter Franklin, of Moyston, is the only trainer to have won back-to-back cups with the same greyhound – Mojito Mayhem in 2015 and 2016 – although Kenzel Lad also won the inaugural event in 1985 when trained by Hazel Lane.
With wins also at Sandown Park and Angle Park, there had never been any doubting Ben Nevis’s ability and it was as if the black dog had a point to prove when he lined up from the awkward box six draw in last Sunday’s 34th Anniversary Cup final.
Contrary to his heat run the previous week when he was slowly away from box three, he flew the start, quickly crossed to the front and from then on was never headed, eventually running out a 3¾ length winner in 29.90 seconds – eclipsing Mojito Mayhem’s 2015 race record of 29.99 seconds. Point proved.
So it was back-to-back Anniversary Cups for Stanley, while dead-heating for second were the Miller-trained Kolora Posie and Chilly Kiss, the irony of the result perhaps not lost on either trainer.
However, Miller would have been pleased with Kolora Posie who turned in a huge effort, coming from a long way back, while Chilly Kiss continued her consistent form which sees her currently leading in the Greyhound of the Year award.
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Aeroplane Mo, winner of the Koroit 600 in early July, brought up his second middle-distance feature win for the month at Tara Raceway when successful in last Sunday’s keenly-contested Eric Lewis Memorial (600 metres).
But Ballarat greyhound trainer Trent Blacker, 31, admits to having his heart in his mouth mid-race when Aeroplane Mo was running third and looked to have plenty of work to do as Ima Caravan bowled along in front.
“To be honest, I really believed he would have to lead to win,” Blacker said. “He’d led all the way to win the Koroit 600 but when he found himself back early from box six on Sunday my thoughts were that he would probably struggle to run them down.”
Turning for home, though, the black dog pulled out to make his run, making a mockery of his trainer’s assessment of the situation when finishing strongly down the middle of the track to defeat Noosa Parade and Ima Caravan in a race record time of 35.55 seconds.
On the line, Aeroplane Mo had a length to spare but such was the evenness of the race that only 2¼ lengths actually separated the field.
The winner is by Collision out of Ritza Night, the litter enjoying a good few days after Mandjoogoordap and Paganoni were both successful at Northam in WA on the Thursday prior.
Blacker’s wife Zoe, who owns Aeroplane Mo, was unable to make the trip over last Sunday, so accompanying him was his mother Carolyn, herself no stranger to feature race success.
Carolyn Blacker, who has developed a keen interest in greyhound racing, was formerly a professional thoroughbred trainer in SA for more than 20 years and trained cup and city feature race winners.
Making the presentation on Sunday was Eric Lewis’s son, Dale, secretary of the South East Greyhound Racing Club (as it was then known) between 1981 and 1983. He said he was still keen to see the memorial step up in distance to 732 metres.
“I’ve still got fond memories of my father’s distance dog Kori Arc winning 12 city distance races in Victoria and of one memorable week when he won over 732 metres at Olympic Park on the Monday night and then won again on the Thursday at Sandown Park over 718 metres.”
Trent Blacker is now hoping that another 732 metre race can be run at Tara Raceway in the not too distant future.
“After the way he finished today, I wouldn’t mind trying him over a bit more ground,” he said. “I’d certainly like to come back here again with him because he seems to race well behind the finish-on-lure.”
Aeroplane Mo is currently the only dog Blacker has in work, however he has four recently broken-in youngsters to soon follow – by Fernando Bale, Banjo Boy and Barcia Bale.
Looking at the memorial placegetters, Noosa Parade, trained at Ecklin South by Peter Fulton, ran a terrific race at what was only his second run back after a two month break while Ima Caravan gave a great front-running display, eventually finishing a 1½ length third for Koroit owner-trainer Robert Walsh.
Ima Caravan is from the Walsh-bred Cape Hawke x Jamaican Ruby litter which also includes I’m A Princess, trained for Walsh by Dustin Drew of Dennington and recent winner of the $10,000-to-the-winner Winter Cup (660 m) at Bendigo.
A second Jamaican Ruby litter (by Banjo Boy), whelped in February 2018, was bred by Fulton.
And finally, Aeroplane Mo repeated the feat of last year’s Eric Lewis Memorial winner Two Jobs, who also won the Koroit 600 for Serviceton trainer David Brodhurst.
Monday, July 23, 2018
Mount Gambier owner Elysia Bartholomew, born on the weekend of the first greyhound meeting conducted at Glenburnie, celebrated her 39th birthday in style at Tara Raceway’s Anniversary Cup meeting on Sunday afternoon when Dusty Pearl won the John Reid Memorial Maiden final (512 metres).
And it was a case of Bartholomew, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s official starter, switching roles for race four and handling the light fawn bitch for the trainer who just happens to be her father, Steve Bartholomew, of Worrolong.
Dusty Pearl only started racing last week, in a heat of the memorial which she won from box one. Sunday’s final was always going to be tougher, especially from box five, but once again she quickly found the front, eventually defeating Lika Missile in a desperately tight finish by a nose in 30.31 seconds with the winner’s sister Azumi Spirit 5¼ lengths back in third spot.
The time was the same as that recorded by Solitary Lad in winning last year’s Reid Memorial, Elysia Bartholomew having no idea whether Dusty Pearl had held on in the run to the line.
“I was still down at the starting boxes, none the wiser until I spotted my mother (Lee) and sister Debbie carrying on in embarrassing fashion at the finish line. I thought then that she must have won. ‘What a legend’ I said to myself.”
It was a terrific birthday present for Bartholomew, the Reid family and supporters acknowledging the occasion at the presentation with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
Bred by the Bartholomew family, Dusty Pearl is by Dyna Tron out of Azumi Touch, a winner of 15 races at Tara Raceway and one at Angle Park – Elysia Bartholomew having previously purchased a pup from Azumi Touch’s first litter (by Cosmic Chief) and enjoying only minimal success.
“Actually, things didn’t start out terribly well with Dusty Pearl, either, as she broke a toe soon after I purchased her at about three months of age. However, even though the toe had to be removed, there have been no issues since due to the young age that it was operated on,” she said.
The three placegetters are now likely to push on to next month’s Peter Rocket Winter Classic at Tara Raceway, the Tracie Price trained Lika Missile, at his fourth start, finishing strongly in second spot and not likely to remain a maiden for much longer.
Price had been chasing his second John Reid Memorial after My Pal Houston won the event in 2015.
Speaking after the 14th running of the John Reid Memorial, Daryl Reid thanked the MGGRC and confirmed that the family would continue to support the race run in memory of his father.
Saturday, July 21, 2018
Sometimes the time-graded meetings at Tara Raceway throw up a greyhound that looks to be so well-graded in the lower class, non-penalty format that, all things being equal, the dog should just win.
Boona Lad was a case in point at last Thursday’s meeting when he lined up in the Williams Crane Hire Stake, a grade six 400 metre sprint, connections appearing to have found the right race for a confidence booster after a couple of tough encounters at Horsham and Ballarat.
The black dog’s only downside was the fact that he had never raced at Tara Raceway and that he had been done no favours with a box six draw. But we’re talking about a dog that a couple of months ago was running a quick 25.08 seconds at Warrnambool over 450 metres.
As things panned out, a new track and a bad box mattered little, Boona Lad quickly finding the front and tearing away to a 6¾ length win in a best of day time of 23.01 seconds for owner Jake Rhode who brought the winner over for Warrnambool trainer Norm McCullagh.
McCullagh’s last runner at Tara Raceway had been a couple of years ago when he was successful with Ella Rhode. Prior to that, in 2004, he had won the Mount Gambier Cup with Bay Rhode.
Boona Lad is a member of the Magic Sprite x So Much Joy litter which was reared by McCullagh and Rhode for Warrnambool greyhound identities Phil Mitchem and Stuart Bishop – Rhode taking a particular liking to a black dog pup.
“He was probably only about four months old at the time but I really liked him so I purchased him from Phil and Stuart. He turned out to be Boona Lad who has now won six races and run seven minor placings for $12,000 in stakemoney,” he said.
Rhode, involved in the sport for four years, is now hoping Boona Lad can add to his record when he jumps from box one in a heat of the GRV Vic Bred Series over 450 metres at Ballarat on Wednesday night.
Training honours for Thursday were shared by Dean Fennell of Glencoe and Kevin Ashton who regularly makes the five-hour trip to Mount Gambier from Charlton.
Fennell has really picked up the pace this month, having trained more winners in July than for the first six months of the year – his double with Hard Call in the Produce Store Stake (400 m) and Allen Unther in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) his second in four days after Hard Call and Ramfied had won at the previous Sunday meeting.
The Ashton-trained Ollie Aztec, who broke an 11-month drought when winning two time-graded races last month, led all the way in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 m) to defeat kennelmate Mr Agro.
In the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), Ashton completed a double with China Catch ‘Em, having his first start for his new trainer and his first at the track, taking the lead down the back straight before running out a convincing winner in 30.61 seconds.
The double was Ashton’s first at Tara Raceway since January when he was successful with Spotted Gunn and Dream Edition.
Thursday, July 19, 2018
While it’s now been 31 years since a Connie Miller trained greyhound won an Anniversary Cup, the long-time Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club stalwart looks to hold a strong hand in Sunday’s final at Tara Raceway.
Successful at Glenburnie in 1986 with Kenzel Lad and Durafi the following year, Miller has Kolora Posie, the faster of the two heat winners, and current Greyhound of the Year leader Chilly Kiss lining up from boxes five and two respectively in what will be the 34th running of the Anniversary Cup (512 metres).
By Bekim Bale out of Swift Blaze, Kolora Posie is a younger full sister to 2016 Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year Old Jock who ran fourth in last year’s cup behind kennelmate Fiorelli Rose, the pair trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley.
A $16 chance on the back of two 600 metre placings, Kolora Posie showed plenty of early pace in last Sunday’s first heat from box four, taking the lead going out of the first turn and, despite using plenty of the track, finishing strongly to defeat Paraphernalia by 1¼ lengths in 29.85 seconds.
And Chilly Kiss, who will be chasing her second feature win at Tara Raceway this year after success in the Tank Man (600 m) in March, worked home well for a 5¼ length third behind Bereluke in the second heat in 30.01 seconds.
Miller, a life member of the MGGRC since 1994, was also secretary of the club for 20 years and in the early 1990s received an Award of Merit from the SA Greyhound Racing Board for services to greyhound racing.
Worrolong trainer Steve Bartholomew is another long-time club stalwart, involved since day one at Glenburnie back in 1979 and looking for his first Anniversary Cup win with Azumi Spice who has drawn box one in the final.
A daughter of Cosmic Chief and Azumi Touch, Azumi Spice finished her race off nicely with a strong 1¾ length second to Bereluke and after some injury issues earlier in the year looks ready to make her presence felt on Sunday.
Bartholomew, awarded life membership in 1998, has been the MGGRC president for the past nine years. In 2016 he received a Greyhound Racing SA Outstanding Service to the Industry Award.
Bereluke, at Angle Park and Gawler on the previous three Sundays to contest the paid-up Produce Stake, appreciated her return to Tara Raceway, leading all the way from box eight for Stanley who also has Ben Nevis through to the final.
Bereluke, a daughter of Barcia Bale and Flying Cheryl, was the middle leg of a treble for Stanley who earlier in the day had won with Hit The Runway and later with Jan’s Star who made it two wins in succession when leading all the way in the Metal Worx Stake (400 m).
Jan’s Star’s win on Sunday gave the Spud Regis x Sweet Shine litter a two-state double after Jet Blaster collected $6260 for winning the Winter Cup up the straight at Healesville.