SUNDAY, MARCH 4: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, February 27 with GRSA. FRIDAY, MARCH 9: Mount Gambier Cup supporting events heats. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, March 5 with GRSA. SATURDAY, MARCH 10: Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta at Tara Raceway. SUNDAY, MARCH 11: Mount Gambier Cup heats. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, March 6 with GRSA. See “Racing Calendar” for full details. HOT WEATHER POLICY: Please note that when the Mount Gambier temperature is forecast at 32 degrees or higher on a race day the kennels will be open a half hour earlier. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Mount Gambier Cup contenders Xtreme Shine and Lektra Stomp look to be on track for next month’s Group Listed 512 metre event after registering smart wins in consecutive races over 485 metres at Horsham on Tuesday night.
Another member of the successful Barcia Bale x Xtreme Gretel litter, Xtreme Shine is trained at Portland by Robert Duncan who won successive 512 metre races with the black dog, both in under 30 seconds, at Tara Raceway in January.
An odds-on favourite from box one, Xtreme Shine shared the lead early with Why Not Archie before finishing powerfully to run out a 3½ length winner in 27.50 seconds.
In the following race, former Tara Raceway 600 metre record holder Paraphernalia led for much of the journey before Team Lenehan’s Lektra Stomp, always handy in the run, finished powerfully to win by less than a length in 27.65 seconds.
By Walk Hard x Lektra Angie, Lektra Stomp ran another cup contender in Zuma Creek to 1¼ lengths in a heat of December’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 m) and will return to Tara Raceway on Sunday for the winningformula.net.au Mixed Stake (512 m) – a race that he looks well placed in.
Paraphernalia, a winner of 23 races and more than $67,000 in prizemoney from 95 starts, is also likely to be back for a second crack at the cup.
Speaking earlier this week, Horsham trainer Jeff Guy said he was keen to get back again after the son of Big Daddy Cool and Scrappy Coco had failed to qualify for last year’s final when running second to Hutch in a heat.
And Lektra Viki, who ran fifth behind Lektra Stomp on Tuesday night, is likely to take on the Peter Rocket Summer Classic (512 m), heats of which will be run at Tara Raceway on Sunday, February 11.
Trained at Toolong by Phil Lenehan, the January 2016 whelped Lektra Viki is by US sire KC And All out of Lektra Scarlett, a litter sister to Lektra Angie.
The black bitch has raced on 12 occasions for three wins, including a 25.49 seconds effort over 450 metres at Warrnambool – a time that should see her more than competitive at Tara Raceway against her own age.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Moyston breeder-trainer Peter Franklin this week forwarded a photograph of some of Blonde Caviar’s pups whelped on December 22, 2017 to the boom sire Barcia Bale.
All told, Blonde Caviar, a daughter of Where’s Pedro x Lemon Cruiser, whelped a litter of seven dogs and three bitches, a couple more than her first litter in May 2015 to US sire Bella Infrared.
Among the first litter is McIvor Verna, a winner of 10 races from 31 starts and $37,000 in prizemoney. The fawn bitch, holder of the Tara Raceway 600 metre record at 34.84 seconds, will line up off the 10 metre mark in a 725 metre handicap at The Meadows on Saturday night.
And Horsham breeder-trainer Jeff Guy has advised that the beautifully bred Frac Geek – by Where’s Pedro out of $360,000 winner Proven Impala – is due to whelp her first litter this weekend to Barcia Bale.
Frac Geek was a winner of 12 races at Sandown Park, The Meadows, Horsham and Bendigo as well as three races in succession at Tara Raceway over 512 metres, 600 metres and 400 metres in September last year.
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Distance racing returns to Tara Raceway on Sunday and while the JB Irrigation Mixed Stake (732 m) comprises only five dogs it should turn out to be a keenly-contested affair.
Destini Montana, a winner in good time over 512 metres and 600 metres at Tara Raceway, made his distance debut at The Meadows over 725 metres on Wednesday, running home well to be narrowly beaten into second spot for Warrnambool trainer Kevin Finn.
Granted, the time was nothing flash but the big white and brindle dog will keep coming and from box one should be hard to hold out.
Cryer’s Bob impressed at his distance debut in December for trainer Tom Cryer when defeating Emily As by 12¼ lengths in 44 seconds and looks the testing material.
Meanwhile, Cryer reports that Cryer’s Bob’s litter brother Cryer’s Plugger, also a 732 metre Tara Raceway winner, has returned to Apsley after a stint with Victorian trainer Steve White.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Trebles for local trainer Tracie Price at the past two Tara Raceway meetings have really kicked off his 2018 season in flying fashion – already nine winners at the first five meetings of the season.
And two of the winners at last Friday’s Australia Day fixture are greyhounds that had found their way to Price’s Compton kennels after copping marring and failing to chase infringements on interstate tracks.
The dogs in question are Hopalong and Dynamite Danger, the former having been given a lifeline from a racing point of view by Victorian owner Scott Brandon after the brindle dog had incurred the wrath of stewards in WA and NSW.
A son of Crash x Gimme Range, Hopalong has been in Price’s care since July last year, having now won four races at Tara Raceway although none more impressively than the Australia Day Open Stake (400 metres).
Away quickly from box one, he led all the way, holding out Oh No Beta in the run to the line to win by a half-length and give last year’s leading trainer Nicole Stanley one of four seconds on the day.
It’s not that there was much wrong with Oh No Beta’s effort – his time of 23 seconds will win most 400 metre sprints around Tara Raceway.
But Hopalong became one of relatively few greyhounds to break the 23-second barrier at the track when clocking 22.96 seconds – the fastest since Colden Star ran 22.92 seconds last July.
Dynamite Danger, sent over to Price by Bushfield owner Adam Richardson after an indiscretion on the part of the son of Dyna Double One x Mepunga Jayelle at Warrnambool, had no trouble making the step up in grade in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 m).
Young, inexperienced greyhounds often struggle at their first run out of a maiden but Dynamite Danger, after overcoming some early interference, was much too good for the grade six field, finishing the race off in a manner which would suggest 512 metres won’t cause him too many problems.
Price, who is looking at the forthcoming Peter Rocket Summer Classic (512 m) with the March 2016 whelping, will find out more on Sunday when the black dog faces his toughest test to date from box seven in the grade five Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m).
The first leg of Price’s treble came up in the Metal Worx Maiden Stake (400 m) when Schnelle led all the way at only his third start to defeat Sweet Emma by four lengths in 23.66 seconds.
The black dog, who should improve plenty on that run, is by Fabregas out of Price’s former smart bitch Who’s Doing What, likely to have a second litter, by Knocka Norris, on the track later this year.
Also at Tara Raceway for Friday’s Australia Day meeting were Karen and Tracie Price’s house guests, Australian Sprintcar star Max Johnston of NSW and Trevor Green of Adelaide, in Mount Gambier for a few days for the Australian Sprintcar title at the Borderline Speedway.
Green, still involved in the sport as a car owner, is now retired from driving but is one the most nationally-decorated Sprintcar drivers to come out of SA.
His cousin, Ashley Furner, a greyhound breeder-owner in Adelaide, bred Mojito Mayhem, winner of the 2016 Mount Gambier Cup.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Emily As, a $200 purchase by Edenhope owner-trainer Cap Abbott last September after she had been out of the winner’s circle for close to 12 months, caused a major boilover at Tara Raceway last Friday when defeating a handy sort of field in the Australia Day Open (600 m).
The now rising-four-year-old daughter of Sure As and Darmilou went into the race having won on three occasions since being taken over by Abbott, the last time back in November at Tara Raceway.
But a last start third at the track on January 12 behind Tuscan Flex in a time-graded middle-distance event saw her go to the boxes as the rank outsider at $41.
Not that Abbott was too concerned at the long odds. “If she finds the front then she’ll win. I don’t care what her price is,” he declared.
How right he was. Emily As was quickly away from box two and never headed, eventually holding Goldie’s Run out to win by 1¾ lengths in 35.73 seconds.
The win was Abbott’s third this year after a double the previous week with Chavasse and Shaniqua.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s 600 metre event, The Border Watch Queens Stake, has attracted a full field of more than handy grade five bitches.
The consistent Chilly Kiss has drawn box five and a repeat of her last start middle-distance effort when clocking 35.66 seconds would put the daughter of Spring Gun x Chilly Babe right in the mix for grandmother-granddaughter team Connie and Clarissa Miller.
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Sunday’s scheduled 10-race time-graded meeting for Tara Raceway was cancelled after the predicted forecast for Mount Gambier was posted at 40 degrees on Saturday afternoon.
Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club secretary/treasurer Barry Shepheard said the meeting had been cancelled in accordance with the Greyhound Racing SA Hot Weather Policy.
“It’s a rare occurrence for a greyhound meeting not to go ahead in Mount Gambier, the last fixture called off at Tara Raceway being five years ago on Friday, January 4, 2013, also due to hot weather,” he said.
Tara Raceway will now race next Sunday (February 4), followed by a time-graded meeting on Friday, February 9.
Sunday, January 28, 2018
A stunning all-the-way win by Zuma Creek in last Friday’s Australia Day Open (512 metres) at Tara Raceway has Mortlake greyhound trainer Peter Crawley now setting his sights on the forthcoming Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup.
Lining up from box one on the back of a second placing in a quick personal time of 25.20 seconds over 450 metres at Warrnambool a week prior, the black dog defeated last year’s Greyhound of the Year Fiorelli Rose by 7½ lengths in a quick 29.66 seconds.
The time was a personal best for the track specialist – nine wins from 18 starts at the track and distance – and the fastest time at Tara Raceway since October 8 last year when Cryer’s Plugger clocked 29.64 seconds prior to changing kennels.
By Fabregas out of six-race winner Skye Creek – also trained by Crawley – Zuma Creek was bred and is owned at Purnim by Danny Kelly and continues a long and successful association between owner and trainer.
“Zuma Creek had never won from box one before,” Crawley said. “But I thought he looked really good today. He’s certainly never been racing better and we now look forward to the cup heats on Sunday, March 11.”
And he’ll be hoping for better luck in this year’s cup after his resilient chaser Fluke Of Fantasy defeated Danyo’s Frank in 29.96 seconds in a heat of the 2016 Mount Gambier Cup before finishing unplaced in the final at start number 95 behind Mojito Mayhem.
Earlier on Friday, Kelly and Crawley combined to win the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (512 m) with Zuma Creek’s half-brother Bomber Creek (by Magic Sprite).
Jumping a short-priced favourite on the strength of a promising effort at Warrnambool at his previous start, he was only fairly away from box five but quickly worked into second spot behind tearaway leader Dimora Flash.
By mid-race, though, Bomber Creek had railed through to take the lead, ultimately running away to a 7½ lengths winning margin in a very quick time of 29.97 seconds – in fact, the quickest maiden time recorded at Tara Raceway since Spider Whitehead’s Sophie’s Moment ran 29.90 seconds in June last year.
For the December 2015 black dog, the win came at his seventh race start with Crawley more than happy to see him now starting to live up to his early promise.
“Danny sent him to me after breaking-in with a report that he had the makings of a handy dog. Going on today’s win he could well be on the money,” Crawley said.
Sunday, January 28, 2018
Portland trainer Brian Weis opted for the bright lights and big bucks at The Meadows on Friday night with Xtreme Notice.
So he called on Noel Perry of Mount Gambier and Scott Blacksell of Cape Bridgewater to help him out with littermates Xtreme Purpose and Xtreme Caution at Tara Raceway’s afternoon meeting.
To be honest, Perry and Blacksell were in their element, especially after box eight runner Xtreme Purpose, having her first start on the track, overcame trouble on the first turn to eventually wear down Derivation to win the Gambier Vets Stake (512 m) by a half length in 30.54 seconds.
However, the defacto handlers claimed they faced an uphill battle in the Produce Store Stake (400 m) with Xtreme Caution considering it was the black dog’s first run over the short course – the trainer, allegedly, making a mistake on his nomination form when ticking the 400 m box instead of 512 m.
Weis will probably claim it was a stroke of genius. Xtreme Caution, despite drawn poorly in box five, quickly settled in second spot behind Tiger Bite Turbo, finishing too strongly in the home straight to win by three-quarters of a length in 23.34 seconds.
For Weis, the double continued the terrific run he is having with five members of the Barcia Bale x Xtreme Gretel litter, all owned by Wagga breeder Matt Morris – Xtreme Carnage, Xtreme Caution, Xtreme Notice, Xtreme Purpose and Xtreme Rush collectively having now won 25 races.
And while he took in the bright lights at The Meadows on Friday night he came home without the big bucks, Xtreme Notice jumping well from box seven in the $12,000-to-the-winner grade five final (525 m) before just failing to cross the field and eventually finishing fifth.
But earlier, at Tara Raceway on a warm and sunny afternoon, there was plenty of good cheer as Perry and Blacksell flew the flag for Weis and celebrated in his absence with a double on Australia Day.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Warrnambool trainer Norm McCullagh, who will forever be associated with the legendary stayer Bold Trease, walked into the Tara Raceway clubrooms 18 months ago after having won a 400 metre sprint with Ella Rhode.
By no means a regular at the Mount Gambier track, McCullagh had won the Mount Gambier Cup 12 years earlier with a dog called Bay Rhode in a then near race record time of 30.26 seconds and was looking for the cup honour roll and any memorabilia on display at the club.
At the time there was nothing for him to view. However, an honour roll listing Mount Gambier Cup winners and their trainers beginning in 1981 when Tara Topar won the inaugural cup to 2017 and the flying Fabregal for Robyn Mackellar now stands at Tara Raceway awaiting placement in an area that has been allocated for a memorabilia section.
Memorabilia displays are an interesting side to many greyhound clubs around Australia and with plenty of history surrounding coursing and track racing in the South East the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club has now added this to its ever-growing list of projects requiring attention at Tara Raceway.
Bill Ward, MGGRC life member and president from 1991 to 1997, has had some input into the memorabilia project while committee member Tim Holmes, whose father Allan is also a life member, is keen to have some local greyhound history on display by the time the Mount Gambier Cup is run in March.
“I’m currently sourcing the most economical way of setting up the display,” he said. “But I’d really like to see something in place to coincide with the running of our first Listed Mount Gambier Cup.”
Holmes said there had already been plenty of items collected for display including Volume 1 of the Australian Greyhound Stud Book (published in 1940), numerous photographs and trophies, old race books dating back to the 1930s, coursing slips and collars and even a tie-on racing rug from an era when the number 6 rug was brown and not green.
He said many items had already been donated but the club would still be keen to hear from anyone with memorabilia suitable to be displayed at the track.
Meanwhile, local historian Kevin Davis wandered into Tara Raceway the other day with an interesting article from The Border Watch dated Tuesday, December 3, 1946 – made even more interesting in view of the fact that licensed greyhound racing as we know it today didn’t commence in the South East until 1979 at Glenburnie.
The article was titled “Successful trial meeting on Blue Lake Speedway” and read in part:
“The trial meeting on Saturday afternoon on the Blue Lake Speedway at the Show Ground (Margaret Street) attracted a good number of spectators and augurs well for the future of greyhound racing.
“It was announced that, as it was only a trial fixture, runners would not be penalised. The speedway has been registered with the National Coursing Association of SA.
“The originator of the sport was Mr Stewart Sims and he has put a lot of work into the preparation of the speedway. The track has been put in splendid order and the erection of a set of boxes for starting the runners has entailed a lot of work. The distance of the track, which was around the show ring, was 375 yards.
“There were five events and each attracted sufficient entries to make for interesting racing. Trophies were allotted as prizes and when the last event, the Consolation Trial, had been decided they were presented to the winners by Mr F. Millard who said the management appreciated the attendance of the public.
“He said there were quite enough dogs to make for interesting competition. In speaking appreciatively of the work put in by Mr Sims, he hoped and believed the venture would be successful.
“Trophies presented were a silver cup, entrée dish, toast rack, wallet, two smokers’ stands and a Gillette safety razor with the recipients being Mr H. K. Frost, Mrs A. Fowler, Mrs Ashton, Mr J. Ashton, Mr G. R. McLeod and Mr K. Dohnt. Mr Dohnt, in receiving his prizes, said he hoped Mr Sims would have success with his speedway. It was the best speedway he had seen.”
The article concluded by saying that a further meeting [presumably run behind pilot dogs] is being arranged to be held in about a fortnight’s time.
The smokers’ stands and that Gillette safety razor would certainly go well in the Tara Raceway memorabilia display.
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
It’s now been more than three years since former 512 metre Tara Raceway track record holder Thanks Tubby clocked 35.56 seconds on June 20, 2014 to win the first 600 metre race run at the local track.
Middle-distance events since then have proven to be a popular addition to the racing calendar, more often than not serving up keenly-contested races and attracting some smart greyhounds to the track, not the least being former 600 metre record holder Paraphernalia, along with McIvor Verna who currently holds the record.
Last Sunday’s Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (600 m) was always going to be another keenly-contested affair, Xtreme Carnage, having his first start over the journey, giving the opposition plenty to chase as he opened up a handy break down the back straight.
Turning for the home, Goldie’s Run and Odd Boots were pulling ground off the leader while Destini Montana, after being shuffled back mid-race, was also looking ominous.
And in the home straight it was Xtreme Carnage still hanging on for dear life while Goldie’s Run and Odd Boots were finishing powerfully as was Destini Montana once he found the rails.
On the line it was anyone’s guess as the quartet crossed virtually as one. No one really had any idea as to the winner. Race caller Tim Edwards was half-right when he went with Xtreme Carnage. He probably did better than most.
The only thing certain prior to the winner being semaphored was that this had been one of the best middle-distance races at Tara Raceway since that mid-winter meeting back in 2014.
In the end the judge couldn’t split the Portland pair – Brian Weis’s Xtreme Carnage and Odd Boots, who took his 600 metre record at Tara Raceway to seven wins from 12 starts for Robert Halliday –while Goldie’s Run and Destini Montana were only a head or so back in third and fourth spots for Tracie Price and Kevin Finn.
By Barcia Bale x Xtreme Gretel, Xtreme Carnage wrapped up a good weekend for Weis and Wagga breeder-owner Matt Morris after the dead-heater’s litter sister Xtreme Notice won a $5000-to-the-winner grade five heat over 525 metres at The Meadows the previous night as a lead-up to the final tomorrow which carries a $12,000 winner’s cheque.
Morris also owns Xtreme Shine who, for the second week in a row, impressed with a sub-30 second 512 metre win for Portland trainer Robert Duncan in last Sunday’s Produce Store Stake.