The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

SUNDAY, MAY 27: Nominations closed. FRIDAY, JUNE 1 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, May 28 with GRSA. SUNDAY, JUNE 3: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, May 29 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.


Racing to resume at Tara Raceway

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

After a 2½-week break while a major track upgrade was undertaken, greyhound racing will resume at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

A trial session was conducted on Tuesday morning with track work supervisor Tim Manterfield reporting that the trials had gone off smoothly and participants had been more than happy with the track.

Highlighting Sunday’s 10-race program will be two heats of the Trackside Meats Feature Grade Five (512 metres), the top four in each heat advancing to Sunday week’s final.

The consistent Goldie’s Run, now being trained at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, looks one of the toughest to beat in the first heat while Nicole Stanley’s Big Lebowski appears well placed in heat two after a win at Sandown Park last Sunday.

A current dearth of fast-class sprinters at Tara Raceway has seen Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield’s Solitary Lad graded into the Produce Store Mixed Stake (600 m) for his first attempt at the middle-distance.

A recent winner of two races at Horsham prior to finishing unplaced in last week’s Stan Lake Memorial at Warrnambool behind Raw Ability, the brindle dog is one of Tara Raceway’s better 512 metre performers.

However, with Mount Gambier Cup winner Xtreme Caution currently back in Wagga with owner Matt Morris, track record holder Lektra Stomp recently sold to Adelaide and Cup Consolation winner Hutch sidelined with injury, Solitary Lad has struggled to find a race over 512 metres.

Meanwhile, local greyhounds Springvale Alysa and Galactic Panther, trained by John Little and Steve Bartholomew, will clash in a grade six 515 metre event at Angle Park tomorrow night.

Springvale Alysa, a winner of her past three starts, and Galactic Panther, third in this year’s Mount Gambier Cup, look likely to face stiff opposition from the beautifully bred Abuzz (Fernando Bale x Hope’s Up), a winner of nine races from 16 starts.

Stanley’s big day out at Sandown

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Portland greyhound trainer Nicole Stanley enjoyed a big day out on Sunday when Big Lebowski and Bereluke were both successful in 515 metre events at Sandown Park.

For Big Lebowski it was a case of breaking a long run of outs as he took the lead going out of the first turn before holding on in a four-way go to win by a narrow margin in 30.15 seconds.

Big Lebowski (No. 3) defeats Alexgal (9), Another Shiner (1) and Tahlia’s Diamond (4) in a keen tussle at Sandown Park last Sunday.

By Spring Gun out of Ginsue Too – a winner of a couple of races at Tara Raceway when trained by David Jones and Bernie Rogers – Big Lebowski’s last win had been back in September last year at Tara Raceway.

Later in the day, Bereluke led all the way in a 200+ ranking grade five heat and will now contest the $6260-to-the-winner final this Sunday.

A winner at Tara Raceway on ANZAC Day, Bereluke has now won two straight for Stanley and owner Michael Groves, the pair previously combining to win two races in early 2017 at the local track with McRay.

In Stanley’s kennels since mid-April, the March 2016 black bitch is by Barcia Bale out of Flying Cheryl, who raced on only six occasions for three wins over 515 metres at Angle Park in 2014, her best time being 29.75 seconds.

Eddie Holland in his playing days at Woodville.

Flying Cheryl was trained at Two Wells by Eddie Holland, who had played for Woodville in the SANFL between 1968-1977, accumulating 137 games as well as representing SA in a state game against WA.

On Monday night, local stayers Cryer’s Plugger and Bekim Lucy’s ran the quinella for Compton trainer Tracie Price in a mixed stake over 600 metres at Angle Park.

Raced by Margaret Cryer of Apsley, Cryer’s Plugger bounced back after three unplaced Angle Park runs, winning his first race outside of Mount Gambier when railing through in the home straight to hold off Michael Robinson and Willie Vossen’s fast-finishing Bekim Lucy’s in 35.66 seconds.

Price originally took over the training of Cryer’s Plugger from Tom Cryer while Tara Raceway was in recess, however in the short term, at least, the son of Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget is likely to remain at Compton and will return to Angle Park on Monday night.

And last night, Stanley was back among the winners again when Archaeology – successful at Tara Raceway last month – led all the way to register a strong win at Horsham over 485 metres.

Extra race meetings for Tara Raceway

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Greyhound Racing SA has released three extra racing dates in May and June for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.

Following a track upgrade, racing will resume at Tara Raceway on Sunday, May 13 with extra meetings being programmed for Thursday, May 24, Thursday, June 7 and Thursday, June 21.

With the temporary closure of the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club for refurbishments from May through to August it is believed that the extra meetings in Mount Gambier will assist participation in the region.

Springvale Alysa made it three wins in a row when successful at Warrnambool last night.

GRSA has released only three extra dates in the first instance in order to gauge support, however it is the intent to also add additional race meetings in July and August while the Warrnambool works are being undertaken.

The Thursday fixtures will be non penalty time-graded meetings with races run over all distances. However, the format will differ from that of Friday time-graded meetings with maidens, 1-3 wins and 4+ wins making up the 10-race programmes.

And while the Friday time-graded meeting format remains unchanged, the Sunday main fixture which follows will also include a 5+ wins time-graded event over 400 metres and one over 512 metres.

Meanwhile, Warrnambool’s final meeting prior to its temporary closure was run last night, Kongorong trainer John Little winning his first race outside of SA with Springvale Alysa in a bitches-only 390 metre event.

Raced by Little in partnership with Liz Newberry and Kevin Mullan, Springvale Alysa has now won at her past three starts, previously successful in a 512 metre maiden and grade six at Tara Raceway last month.

Industry information session

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Greyhound Racing SA board members and senior managers will visit Mount Gambier next month for an industry information and engagement session.

Tentatively set down for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5 at Tara Raceway, the session will provide SA and Victorian registered participants with an opportunity to raise and discuss important industry matters and to hear GRSA’s plans for the short-term future of the local industry.

The bullring at the Sale Greyhound Racing Club.

Light refreshments will be provided at the session.

And as part of its broader plan, GRSA is also working on strategies to support rearing and breaking-in services and, interestingly, greater utilisation of TAB tracks for greyhound education and training.

While Tara Raceway already has its own slipping track whereby greyhounds are able to free gallop in a safe environment, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club has previously discussed the possibility of a “bullring” to complement the slipping track.

The main purpose of a bullring – generally around a nine-metre radius – is as a stepping stone for pups before they venture on to a race track. Bullrings are all about building the confidence of pups and getting them used to the sights and sounds of a lure in motion.

Following the GRSA broader plan release to participants last week, the MGGRC no doubt will further liaise with the controlling body regarding its education and training plans for race tracks, believing that Tara Raceway is one such track well placed to provide both racing and training services to participants.

Track upgrade ‘ahead of schedule’

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

There was plenty happening at Tara Raceway on Wednesday morning.

Tim Manterfield (left), Brad Beckett and Terry Winder pictured after the laying of a new starting mat in front of the 400 metre boxes.

Track work supervisor Tim Manterfield, Terry Winder (head of Greyhound Racing SA industry maintenance) and Brad Beckett (GRSA maintenance) were preparing the front of the 732 metre boxes for the laying of a new starting mat after having previously laid the 400 metre, 512 metre and 600 metre mats.

And while electricians carried out the ground work in readiness for the installation of television sets at the 400 metre and 512 metre boxes, John Woodland, “keeper of the kennels”, had completed the pressure cleaning of 100-plus race day kennels and was hard at work in the wash-down area.

Manterfield reckons work on the major track upgrade is actually ahead of schedule and he’s given the green light for trials to resume at Tara Raceway next Tuesday (May 8) in readiness for the Sunday, May 13 race meeting.

John Woodland gets to work on the wash-down area.

“Actually, the whole operation has gone very smoothly,” he said. “The starting box slabs have been laid and Williams Crane Hire will be in this afternoon to place the boxes back in position.

“The covers over the 512 metre and 732 metre boxes may not be completed by Tuesday morning but that won’t have too much impact on the running of the trials.”

Manterfield said what was needed now was for the predicted rain to fall in the next few days to assist in the compacting of the 500 cubic metres of Burrumbeet sand that has been distributed on the track.

Meanwhile, Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club secretary/treasurer Barry Shepheard was in Adelaide on Wednesday to discuss proposed racing dates for Tara Raceway once the Murray Bridge track, currently under construction, was operational.

See “Gallery”.

Track record holder sold

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Lektra Stomp, the fastest 512 metre greyhound to race at Tara Raceway, has been sold by Toolong breeder-owner-trainer Phil Lenehan.

The son of Walk Hard x Lektra Angie broke his own track record of 29.45 seconds with a run of 29.35 seconds on April 20 prior to being sold this week to Adelaide owners Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman who have placed Lektra Stomp with Gifford Hill trainer Tony Rasmussen.

Lektra Stomp defeats Cryer’s Bob in the final of the 2017 Newman McDonnell Memorial at Tara Raceway.

According to Lenehan, the offer for the record holder was simply too good to refuse.

“Tim had been chasing me for a while to sell the dog and in the end I figured what they offered would have taken a fair while to win back at Tara Raceway – that’s where he raced best for me – so I let him go.”

And in something of a kennel clean-out, Lenehan has also sold recent Tara Raceway 600 metre winner Lektra Lucy and four-race winner Lektra Viki, both bitches to be trained at Finniss by Lauren Harris, while he sent a Spring Gun x Lektra Scarlett litter to the Daillys at Anakie for pre-training.

“The problem at the moment is that Warrnambool will be closing for several months for renovations so it’s going to make it tough to trial young dogs around here,” he said.

“It might give me a chance for a bit of a break although there are generally plenty of pups coming through the system.”

A Fabregas x Lektra Stroke litter is next to be broken-in, followed by another Lektra Angie litter (by Destini Fireball), and then Lektra Kelly (by KC And All).

“Basically I try and breed a litter every six months or so in order to try and maintain some form of continuity,” Lenehan said.

Trainer rolls the dice for the final time

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Portland trainer Nifty Lenehan rolled the dice for the final time with Boomer Hargen at Tara Raceway’s recent time-graded meeting.

She’s the greyhound that until recently had been going around in blinkers, Lenehan – Boomer Hargen’s fourth trainer – opting for the “gear change” after a couple of indiscretions on Victorian tracks.

Nifty Lenehan with Rising Girl who broke a long run of outs at Tara Raceway on ANZAC Day.

But the blinkers were off for the Mixed Stake (600 metres), and while the sizeable 31 kilogram bitch ultimately won the race in a steady 36.54 seconds, home straight interference was attributed to her, connections subsequently announcing her retirement with a view to breeding.

Raced by Lenehan in partnership with Nicole Stanley, Boomer Hargen is by Barcia Bale out of Punk Rock Lass who has also produced winners to Kinloch Brae, Nolen and Fernando Bale.

“She’s already registered for breeding with a couple of sire options being Kinloch Brae and Fabregas,” he said.

“This is a line that we’re obviously pretty keen on, Punk Rock Lass’s great-granddam being Hoppy’s Star who traces back to my father Brian’s foundation brood bitch Sydney Gem.”

Later in the day Lenehan brought up a training double when Tilly Rocks led all the way in the Produce Store Stake (400 m) to win her first race at Tara Raceway.

Previously a winner of five races on Victorian tracks, Tilly Rocks is raced by Melton owner Sarah Welsh who also owns litter sister Chesca, a winner of three races at Tara Raceway and Warrnambool since being in the care of Lenehan.

At Tara Raceway’s ANZAC Day meeting, Lenehan’s successful run continued when $19 chance Rising Girl broke a long run of outs with an all the way win in the Somme Stake (400 m) in a handy 23.19 seconds.

Bred and owned by the trainer, Rising Girl is by Kinloch Brae x Obama’s Girl and had last won at Tara Raceway in August although, according to Lenehan, all things being equal the black bitch should have been racing at Broken Hill.

“At the end of last year, no strings attached, we sent her to Broken Hill for her to see out her racing days but three months later she was back, not having had a run, the trainer claiming she wasn’t what he was looking for.”

And last Sunday, Stanley and Lenehan opted to “Catch On To Coursing”, making the 600 kilometre journey to Benalla for the opening meeting of the season.

The Lenehan owned and trained Optic Bray, having her first run at a coursing meeting, made the trip worthwhile when defeating Stylish Bree in the final of the eight-dog MGRA Maiden Bitch Stake and giving her trainer his first coursing success.

A litter sister to Rising Girl, the four-year-old Optic Bray has only recently returned to racing after having spent five months on the sidelines due to a stopper bone injury.

Solitary Lad to face tough test at Warrnambool

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Leading local greyhound Solitary Lad will face the toughest test of his 26-start racing career when he lines up from box six in Wednesday night’s time-honoured Stan Lake Memorial (450 metres) at Warrnambool.

Complementing the Warrnambool Cup final, the annual memorial, which carries a first prize of $5,900, is run in memory of Stan Lake, president of the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club for 13 years, a committee member for 52 years and trainer of the 1962 Warrnambool Cup winner Indian Fighter.

Solitary Lad will take on a top field in Wednesday night’s Stan Lake Memorial at Warrnambool.

By Lonesome Cry out of Up And Away, Solitary Lad – owned at Yambuk by Ann Sinnott – won last year’s John Reid Memorial at Tara Raceway and also the Winter Classic prior to recently winning two consecutive 485 metre races at Horsham.

And at Tara Raceway’s ANZAC meeting last Wednesday, Solitary Lad chased recent Mount Gambier Cup finalist Blazing Moment throughout in the Legacy Open (512 m), running a good second when eventually going down by three-quarters of a length in a best of day 29.89 seconds.

However, long-time Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield said he was under no illusion as to how tough Wednesday’s job was going to be for the brindle dog – a winner of 10 races and $11,000 in prizemoney.

“These races are never easy and always attract a good field, but with Raw Ability just missing out on qualifying for the Warrnambool Cup final, the memorial just got a whole lot tougher,” he said.

A winner of $244,000 in prizemoney, Raw Ability, who was a gift as a pup to Myrniong trainer Anthony Azzopardi from breeder Jacqueline Davis, won the 2017 Group 1 Adelaide Cup at Angle Park and this year’s Group 1 Paws Of Thunder at Wentworth Park.

Sinnott will also be represented in the memorial by Solitary Lad’s litter sister, Solitary Girl, who recently contested the Group 2 Horsham Cup final won by Jimmy Newob.

Originally trained by her husband Tom, Solitary Girl’s 23.02 seconds run when winning her maiden over 400 metres at Tara Raceway in June last year was a class record at the time and resulted in her shortly after switching kennels to Ray Drew of Dennington.

The last local greyhound to contest the Stan Lake Memorial was Rouse Flyer in 2014. Trained at Glencoe by Barry Shepheard, the 4½-year-old Rouse Flyer ran a big race to finish a three length fourth behind Premier Express.

And in 2002, leading local trainer Tracie Price, then based at Branxholme, won the memorial with Big Nick Jewels, a 38 kilogram brindle and white son of the US-bred Galilee and John’s Beauty.

Big Nick Jewels’s winning time of 25.43 seconds compared favourably on the night to that of Kantarn Bale in the Warrnambool Cup (25.42 seconds) and Zed Three’s 25.37 seconds in the Warrnambool Classic.

Redevelopment commences at Tara Raceway

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Following the re-surveying of the Tara Raceway track earlier this week by local surveying firm Alexander Symonds, 500 cubic metres of sand will have been distributed on the track by tomorrow night.

Speaking at the track on Wednesday, Tara Raceway track work supervisor, Tim Manterfield, said around the bends there would be a crossfall of 10% and in the front and back straights a crossfall of 4%.

Tim Manterfield . . . “Redevelopment is for the welfare of the racing animal.”

Racing is scheduled to resume on Sunday, May 13 with heats of the Trackside Meats Feature Grade Five (512 m) but as Manterfield pointed out there was much to be done on the track before then.

“The 512 metre, 600 metre and 732 metre boxes will all require to be lifted and concrete slabs laid to ensure the starting boxes are at the recommended levels,” he said.

“There will be new starting mats placed in front of all four starting boxes, along with new covers over the 512 metre and 732 metre boxes.

“Television cabling will also be laid in order that TV sets can be mounted behind the 400 metre and 512 metre boxes which will allow trainers to be able to view the finish of races.”

He also said that there would be a new turnaround area for the race track tractor on the northern side of the track.

Manterfield, who pointed out that there would be no changes to race distances, said he was hopeful that trials would resume on Tuesday, May 8.

And he stressed that the Tara Raceway redevelopment undertaking was not for the purpose of greyhounds being able to run faster times but for the welfare of the racing animal.

Fitting win in Dowdell Memorial

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Glencoe greyhound Galactic Viper’s win in the Ivor Dowdell Memorial final (400 metres) at Tara Raceway on Wednesday afternoon was surely a fitting result.

After all, the race – now in its second year – is run in memory of a man who was still training when in his early 90s and who had been generally regarded as the world’s oldest licensed greyhound trainer.

Terry Dowdell, Barry Shepheard and Leonie Dowdell pictured with Galactic Viper, winner of the Ivor Dowdell Memorial at Tara Raceway on Wednesday.

And the winner, owned and trained by Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club secretary/treasurer Barry Shepheard, turned five in February, making him one of very few greyhounds of that age to be still racing and winning at a TAB track anywhere in Australia.

The final attracted a good field with Mahlo Blackhawk, looking to open his Tara Raceway winning account after two recent second placings, taking up the early running over Dimora Flash and Galactic Viper.

But turning for home, both Dimora Flash and Galactic Viper were poised to make their moves – the latter finishing well along the rails to defeat Dimora Flash, who made his run out wide and failed by a head, while the early leader was a further head back in third spot in a winning time of 23.31 seconds.

Speaking at the presentation, an emotional Shepheard paid tribute to the son of Velocette x Magic Elite that has now raced on 121 occasions for 26 wins, 26 seconds and 12 thirds, marvelling that the black dog was still competing and winning at an age when most racing greyhounds have been retired.

Earlier at the ANZAC meeting, Spirited Bingle, lining up for her third start at Tara Raceway, had looked to be the omen tip of the day – her dam being Kokoda Spirit.

And the black bitch showed plenty of spirit, leading all the way in the Veterans Stake (400 m) for Portland trainer Robert Halliday, running out a 6¼ length winner over Galactic Shiraz in a best of day time of 23.05 seconds.

Shirley Halliday with Spirited Bingle after her best of day 400 metre win at Tara Raceway on Wednesday.

“Actually, she should be in gaol,” joked Halliday, referring to the fact that Spirited Bingle had previously copped convictions (for failing to chase) at Horsham and Bendigo.

“Mark Morrissey of Strathfieldsaye reckoned she had some ability and suggested the finish-on-lure at Tara Raceway as a means of perhaps switching her on,” he said.

Kokoda Spirit, winner of the 2013 Group 3 SA Oaks at Angle Park, is by Knocka Norris x Flaming Doll and a litter sister to former Tara Raceway 400 metre record holder Star Doll (23.05 sec.) and Guru Doll, the dam of Brinza and Odd Boots who Halliday has enjoyed success with.

And in December, Guru Doll whelped a litter of four dogs and three bitches to General Destini, this coming about after Halliday won a service to the beautifully bred sire as part of the winner’s prize when successful with Hutch in the 2017 Summer Classic at Tara Raceway.

Leading trainers Tracie Price and Nicole Stanley dominated the meeting with trebles – Price with Swift Limes, Blazing Moment and Banjo Queen while Stanley was successful with Joshy Wink Wink, Bereluke and Jan’s Star.