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

SUNDAY, MAY 26: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, MAY 30 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, May 27 with GRSA. SUNDAY, JUNE 2: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, May 28 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track. WORM BURNER PUPS FOR SALE: See “For Sale/Wanted”.


G-SIX racing up and running

Monday, May 6, 2019

G-SIX racing, promoted as an exciting and innovative trial of six-dog racing at selected SA greyhound tracks – Angle Park, Gawler and Mount Gambier – commenced at Tara Raceway last Thursday afternoon with a 12-race time-graded meeting.

With the G-SIX trial comes the introduction of weekly Thursday afternoon meetings in Mount Gambier to complement the regular Sunday afternoon meetings (formerly eight-dog racing) which will also be run with six dogs per race.

Monty Wilson with Stray Cat, winner of the first G-SIX race run at Tara Raceway last Thursday.

And with cleaner racing and less interference being one of the major selling points of the G-SIX, it’s probably fair to say that racing at Tara Raceway last Thursday was all it was cracked up to be.

G-SIX racing is set down for a three-month trial although there’s unlikely to be too many surprised participants if at the end of this period racing continues with boxes three and six remaining vacant.

“We are confident that this format of racing is capable of driving numerous benefits back to the trainers, breeders and owners,” said Matt Corby, Greyhound Racing SA’s CEO.

Second-starter Stray Cat, trained at Mumbannar by Monty Wilson, was SA’s first G-SIX winner, leading all the way to defeat Dappled Light by 2½ lengths in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 metres) in 23.60 seconds.

By Magic Sprite out of Smouldering Doll, a five-race winner that included success at The Meadows, Stray Cat is raced by Heathmere owner Garry “Moncho” Marshman who bred the black bitch in partnership with Clint Jonasson.

It was Wilson’s second success with a member of the May 2017 litter, Cleansing Ale winning at Tara Raceway in February.

From a punting perspective the theory is that at time-graded meetings any reserve runner gaining a start should be given serious consideration due to the “worst to best” grading system that is in place for all races.

Sometimes it works. Like last Thursday when Ballet Creek gained a run from box seven in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake (512 m) and led all the way to defeat Print The Money by eight lengths in 29.86 seconds – a time rarely run on a time-graded day, let alone by a giveaway.

Perhaps surprisingly, this was the son of Cosmic Rumble x Capella’s first success since last September. He was also the second winner on the day for Wilson – his last double almost 12 months ago with Miss Zorro and Ballet Creek’s litter brother Drysdale Creek.

Kevin Finn of Warrnambool pictured with Blackjack Cruise.

Warrnambool one-dog trainer Kevin Finn, who enjoys his share of success when crossing the border, was among the winners again last Thursday with a big black dog by the name of Blackjack Cruise.

And as is always the case, members of the family were also on course to cheer on their latest acquisition.

Actually, this is a real family affair, Kevin undertaking the training for The Three Gen Syndicate which comprises wife Lorraine, daughter Marita Byron and grandson Anthony Laing-Smith.

Their previous greyhound had been Destini Montana, retired in February after winning two races over 512 metres and also two 600 metre events at Tara Raceway as well as enjoying success at Ballarat and Geelong.

“Dad likes to keep active and have a greyhound to train so after Destini Montana was retired we looked around for another one to race,” Byron said.

“When Blackjack Cruise, a winner of four races at Horsham, Bendigo and Geelong, came up for sale for $500 on the internet we thought he might be worth a try.”

It certainly turned out to be a quick return for Finn and the syndicate, the son of Barcia Bale x Ella’s Cruising winning first up for them at Ballarat over 390 metres on March 18.

Several minor placings would then follow before Blackjack Cruise, looking well placed from box one in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m), led all the way to defeat Rebel Ruth by 1¼ lengths in a more than handy 30.17 seconds.

Noel Perry, training greyhounds for less than 12 months, landed his first double when half-brothers Our Menace and Mount Duke were successful at the time-graded meeting.

Mount Duke brings up a double for Mount Gambier trainer Noel Perry at last Thursday’s meeting.

By My Bro Fabio x Sooky Suzie, Our Menace brought up his second win in less than a week when leading all the way in the Metal Worx Stake (400 m) to defeat Kracka Barcia by 2¼ lengths in 23.30 seconds.

But for the older half-brother Mount Duke (by Cosmic Rumble), it had been 10 months since he last won, the fawn dog appreciating the smaller field in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (512 m) when running down Trammel in the home straight for a 3½ length win in 30.48 seconds.

A ‘Black’ day for the Captain

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Edenhope greyhound trainer Cap Abbott’s best chance at last Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting was always going to be the slow-starting, fast-finishing Black Spring in the JB Irrigation Mixed Stake.

But by the end of the day even Abbott, who generally exudes positivity, must have been wondering how on earth Black Spring actually found himself in the 600 metre starting boxes let alone win the race.

“The day started off with car trouble which necessitated continually topping the bloody thing up with water,” he said. “Then, on the way down to the Mount, after filling up with petrol I realised I’d left my wallet home. Very embarrassing.”

Cap Abbott with Black Spring after his 600 metre win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Come race four and Black Spring was a $1.70 favourite to win the event which included Pirate’s Curse, lining up on the back of a 600 metre track record run the previous Sunday.

Then, the start of the race was held up for a minute or so while one of the runners was vetted after an incident in the preview area. No prizes for guessing who that runner was. Black Spring was duly passed fit to run.

And the stage was set for an interesting race when Cryer’s Bob – without a win this year – quickly took up the running with Black Spring doing the chasing in second spot.

In the end, though, it was Black Spring’s customary barnstorming finish that saw him storm home over the top of Cryer’s Bob for a half-length win in 35.33 seconds.

Black Spring was vetted again after the race and no injury was detected. Finally, Abbott’s day had turned around.

Well not quite. On the way home, Abbott once again experienced car trouble, finding himself stranded until fellow trainer Kevin Ashton came along.

Also successful on the day with China Catch ‘Em, Ashton assisted a grateful Abbott in getting his dogs back to Edenhope before the good Samaritan and his partner Jan Neal continued on to what would have been a somewhat later than anticipated return to Charlton.

Speaking earlier this week, Abbott said Black Spring – after five runs in April which resulted in three wins – would have a few days off.

“It was a busy month so a bit of a break won’t hurt him but once I sort my transport problems out I’m keen to have another crack with him at Sandown Park over 595 metres.”

Black Spring’s only run at the Victorian city track was back in December when he ran a big race to finish second.

Dimora Flash shares the Greyhound of the Year lead with Black Spring after defeating Spirited Bingle at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Meanwhile, the wins of Black Spring and Dimora Flash at Tara Raceway last Sunday see the pair now sharing the Greyhound of the Year lead on 28 points, one clear of Cryer’s Plugger who returned to racing with a third placing.

Joining this trio in the top 10 are Lone Star, Rose Ali, Kolora Posie, Molly’s Wally, Koda Blue, Ramified and Whatta Knocka.

As things stand, these are some of the greyhounds in contention for the forthcoming Tara Trackstar, a one-off Special Event to be run over 512 metres in early July for the best performed greyhounds at Tara Raceway between January and June.

However, Lone Star has been retired, Rose Ali, now based in Rockhampton, ran second in a heat of the Anniversary Cup (510 m) on Wednesday night, while Koda Blue, Ramified and Whatta Knocka are better known as short-coursers.

But with close to 300 greyhounds having already collected Greyhound of the Year points there shouldn’t be too many problems finding enough contenders for the Trackstar.

Another one-off Special Event Tara Trackstar will be run over 512 metres in early January for the best performed greyhounds at Tara Raceway between July and December.

From the archives

Tara Raceway, October 18, 2003 – Race 1 (277 m) Golden Bomber (A. Darmanin) 16.69; Race 2 (277 m) Sarah’s Darkness (T. Price) 16.59; Race 3 (512 m) Tiarni’s Golden (C. Sims) 31.06; Race 4 (512 m) Annabella (C. Sims) 30.73; Race 5 (512 m) Toni Belle Bayle (B. Shepheard) 30.89; Race 6 (512 m) Majora’s Mask (K. Ashton) 30.20; Race 7 (512 m) Magic Pride (R. Bartlett) 30.57; Race 8 (277 m) Burning Fast (T. Price)16.44; Race 9 (277 m) Brindle Jesse (A. Darmanin) 16.69.

Trainer hoping for the Sun to shine

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Raglan greyhound trainer Michael Bowerman will be looking to go one better when the SA-bred Kentucky Sun returns tomorrow for Mount Gambier’s inaugural G-SIX meeting at Tara Raceway.

By Lochinvar Marlow x Ticket To Mars, the black dog turned in a solid effort at his first start on the track on April 17 when working home well to finish a 1¾ length second to Koda Blue in 23.36 seconds in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (400 metres).

Kentucky Sun (No. 3) chases home Koda Blue at Tara Raceway on April 17.

Following that run, Kentucky Sun, a winner of eight races at Ballarat, Bendigo and Horsham, finished third at Horsham over 410 metres and now should be very hard to beat tomorrow from box one in the G-SIX JB Irrigation Stake (400 m).

Interesting runner in the race is former NSW chaser Renmore who has drawn box seven and will be having her first race start for Kongorong trainer John Little.

A winner of two races last year at Lithgow over 414 metres, the brindle bitch has not raced since November 23 at Richmond where she received a 28-day suspension for marring.

A daughter of Fernando Bale and Dervil (a litter sister to Tara Raceway winner Colden Star), Renmore was cleared for racing last Sunday when clocking 23.49 seconds for the 400 metre journey at Tara Raceway in a stewards’ satisfactory trial.

Pinecutter Pete – a winner of five races at Tara Raceway for Cape Bridgewater trainer Scott Blacksell – should find the G-SIX Trackside Meats Stake (512 m), along with box one, more to his liking after recently running into Black Spring, Kolora Posie and Ben Nevis.

And Bushman’s Bro, after three consecutive third placings, looks well placed to break through for Mumbannar trainer Monty Wilson in the G-SIX Greg Martlew Autos Stake (400 m).

Heather and Noel Perry with Our Menace after his Tara Raceway win last Sunday.

Meanwhile, local trainer Noel Perry’s Our Menace, a $26 blow-out maiden winner on Sunday, will go around tomorrow at considerably shorter odds after drawing box one in the G-SIX Metal Worx Stake (400 m).

By My Bro Fabio, the black dog is out of Sooky Suzie, a winner of eight races and from a litter that also includes Spud Regis, Pippa Shiraz and Big Black Mac.

Perry, along with wife Heather, purchased Our Menace as a four-month-old pup from Victorian breeder Mark Grima and reared him themselves by utilising the slipping track facility at Tara Raceway.

Later, kennel restrictions necessitated that Perry farm out the dog after breaking-in – all told three trainers ultimately having a go with him before, for unrelated reasons, moving him on.

Two weeks ago Our Menace was back in Mount Gambier where it all began close to two years ago and, as it turned out, likely to have made one of the Perry kennels his own after last Sunday  – the trainer’s first winner since George Regis on January 6.

Dyna Quota, Pirate’s Curse to tackle cup heats

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, fresh from a treble at Tara Raceway last Sunday, will be hoping Dyna Quota can keep her unbeaten distance record intact at Angle Park when she lines up in the first heat of the Bay Road Queen Stayers Cup (731 m) tomorrow night.

Raced by Glen Burns and Scott Brandon, Dyna Quota won the SA Distance Championship in early April prior to winning again at Angle Park the following week to make it three 731 metre wins from as many runs.

Bay Road Queen . . . the best stayer in the country.

The daughter of Dyna Double One and Jayney Bale has drawn box seven with her main danger looking to be box one runner Cairnlea Jet.

Allendale East stayer Pirate’s Curse returns to Angle Park after running Cairnlea Jet to 1½ lengths at the April 18 meeting for owners Tim Aloisi, Matt Lehman, Damien Bates and Michael McSorley and trainer David Peckham.

The son of Bekim Bale and Walkaway Jackie disappointed over 600 metres at Tara Raceway last Sunday but a week prior had broken the middle-distance record with a run of 34.79 seconds.

Pirate’s Curse, who has run a quick 43.08 seconds over the 731 metre journey, has drawn box four in the second heat with Billy’s Bake looking to be one of the hardest to beat.

The Bay Road Queen Stayers Cup final, which will be run next week, is staged in recognition of one of the State’s best stayers, the Merv Pedler trained bitch winning the 1982 National Distance final and also the Association Cup at Harold Park.

Bay Road Queen broke the Angle Park track record on two occasions inside a month and at one stage of her career was regarded as the best stayer in the country.

Six-dog racing on trial at Tara Raceway

Monday, April 29, 2019

Weekly Thursday greyhound racing, to be run in conjunction with the regular Sunday meetings, will commence at Tara Raceway this week and replace the previous fortnightly Wednesday fixtures.

To be known as G-SIX racing, both weekly meetings at Tara Raceway will comprise six-dog fields (compared to the traditional eight). This will also be the case at Angle Park and Gawler for what will be a three-month trial period.

Six-dog racing kicks off at Tara Raceway on Thursday but won’t look quite like this scene from the 1920s.

The G-SIX form of racing is similar to that at English and Irish tracks – Scottish track Shawfield actually runs with five dogs – but has the advantage of dogs being slightly more spread out at box-rise.

Besides cleaner racing with less interference, the G-SIX format is expected to drive up participant returns by the equivalent of more than $1m annually.

Boxes 3 and 6 will be vacant for the six-dog racing with all runners carrying the rug colour that correlates to their box draw – red, black/white stripes, blue, yellow, black and pink. Any reserve runners gaining a start will carry the standard rug colours for 9 and 10.

While eight-dogs has been the norm for many years in Australia, in the early days of mechanical hare racing there were a few variations tried, ranging from six to 10-dog races.

The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s Thursday fixtures at Tara Raceway will be time-graded meetings for lower-grade dogs while Sundays will remain as Category 3 with unplaced runners receiving $50.

Upset in Dowdell Memorial

Monday, April 29, 2019

Allendale East greyhound Dyna Naitch, a $17 outsider, scored a surprise win in Sunday’s Ivor Dowdell Memorial final (400 m) over short-priced favourite Springvale Alysa ($2.10).

Scott Blacksell of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club and trainer David Peckham with Dyna Naitch, winner of Sunday’s Ivor Dowdell Memorial at Tara Raceway.

Trained by David Peckham, the son of Surf Lorian and Crystin Bale was mid-field early but finished powerfully in the home straight to run down Springvale Alysa and the early leader Bushman’s Bro, a $26 chance.

A city winner at The Meadows and Sandown Park, the red brindle dog, in Peckham’s kennels since January, has now won two races at Tara Raceway for Adelaide owner Dwayne Jiggins who was previously involved in harness racing.

This was the third running of the Dowdell Memorial, Lektra Excess successful in 2017 and Galactic Viper last year.

As far as Ivor Dowdell was concerned, no one really knew whether he was actually the world’s oldest licensed greyhound trainer.

But when he trained his last winner, He Gone, on September 11, 2015 at Tara Raceway at the age of 93 there weren’t too many disputing Mount Gambier’s claim.

He died in February 2017, not only remembered as the world’s oldest greyhound trainer but also as one of the sport’s real gentlemen.

Pick 6 player hits the jackpot

Monday, April 29, 2019

The Tara Raceway Bartholomew Pick 6 competition ended an 18-month losing run at Sunday’s meeting when regular player Kevin Patzel, after some recent near-misses, finally landed the $500 jackpot.

Sponsored by Steve and Lee Bartholomew, who add $10 to the pool every week, the Pick 6 is a long-running free competition that requires on-course patrons to select the winners of races three through to eight.

Kevin Patzel with Lektra Brandy, the final leg winner of his successful Bartholomew Pick 6 at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

And after getting a couple of roughies out of the way in Our Menace ($26) and Lucy’s Quest ($12) – the winners of races one and two – the Pick 6, on paper at least, did look “pickable”.

But after School Report ($3.20) and Black Spring ($1.70) had won the first two legs, Patzel was on his own – Wanchai Express ($2.70), China Catch ‘Em ($2.30) and Ben Nevis ($3.40) then ensuring the 32-year-old from Mount Gambier was still in the running come the last leg.

The Border Watch Mixed Stake (512 metres) was a tough race to wrap up the Pick 6 with Lone Star, Big Casey and Bomber Creek – who fought out last week’s main race with a dead-heat by a neck margins – looking likely to figure once again.

Patzel, though, opted for the Nifty Lenehan trained Lektra Brandy, also in the market at $4 after a recent 512 metre win at Tara Raceway over Ben Nevis in 29.94 seconds.

And in a race of changing fortunes, Lektra Brandy was able to deliver for the remaining contestant, eventually running out a three length winner over Usain Insane and Cryer’s Plugger in a best of day 29.95 seconds.

Speaking after the final leg, Patzel, who is a regular at the Tara Raceway Sunday meetings, said it had been a big thrill to win the Pick 6 after he had recently come close on several occasions.

“I’ve been about the mark recently, including last week when I went very close,” he said. “The final leg today did look pretty tough and was a race of many chances. Fortunately the luck went my way.”

Portland trainer Nicole Stanley supplied half of the Pick 6 winners – School Report, Wanchai Express and Ben Nevis – and later joked that it seemed only fair to her that she should receive half of the $500.

Sunday’s treble was her first since July 15, 2018 when Hit The Runway, Bereluke and Jan’s Star were successful at Tara Raceway.

Fortunes turn for poultry pair

Thursday, April 25, 2019

No, the headline shouldn’t read paltry pair because as the story goes it was John Burow who had decided to give the dishlickers away and use his two greyhound runs in his Penshurst backyard for chooks and ducks.

John Burow was all smiles after United Lass was a first-up winner at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

That never happened, of course, Burow not really your poultry farmer type. He did compromise, though, purchasing a couple of four-month-old pups for the yards and calling them Chooks and Ducks.

The first purchase, bred at Dennington by Ray Drew, was a May 2017 black bitch by Banjo Boy out of Maisy Mac, a winner of nine Victorian provincial races and boasting Zambora Brockie – 31 wins and $540,000 in stakemoney – as a litter brother.

But Burow soon realised that he would need another pup of similar age to rear with his $2000 purchase, opting for an SA-bred daughter of Fabregas and Kaos Chloe which West Richmond breeder Adam Burda was advertising for $800.

The Maisy Mac pup (Chooks) made her debut as United Lass at Tara Raceway last Sunday in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 metres), matching motors early with Shock Horror before running out a 1½ length winner in 23.75 seconds.

Forwarded to John Burow by Portland trainer Nicole Stanley after United Lass (Chooks) won at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

And it was a pretty fair effort considering she was having her first run in a field, Burow quick to hand out plenty of credit to Portland trainer Nifty Lenehan.

“To be honest, Chooks wasn’t chasing all that keenly earlier in her preparation and that’s when Nifty stepped in and said he would get her going. Three months later she was back in Penshurst, ready to go.”

Ducks, who now races as Miss Adelaide and opened her winning account back in February at Tara Raceway over 400 metres, also raced last Sunday and showed marked improvement over 512 metres with a run of 30.43 seconds when finishing second to Dare To Do.

Rebel with a cause

Thursday, April 25, 2019

BRENDAN BUNWORTH, a greyhound trainer and former Hamilton Spectator sports journalist, stepped in to cover last week’s win of Rebel Ruth, owned and trained by David Lewis, The Border Watch greyhound correspondent.

It was a popular win by Rebel Ruth in the Fairthorne Forestry Maiden Stake (512 metres) to start proceedings at Mount Gambier’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway.

After several recent solid placings, the daughter of Destini Fireball and Lektra Angie had been knocking on the door for her first victory with punters believing this would be the day for the fawn bitch – a $1.60 favourite.

Rebel Ruth pictured winning at Tara Raceway last week.

Lining up for her 11th start, she was away fairly from box four before powering away at the 200 metre mark, eventually running out a 10¼ length winner in 30.86 seconds and giving the litter its second win in as many days after Lektra Fireball had won at Horsham.

For Lewis, who purchased Rebel Ruth as a pup, the long wait and the long morning walks in the pines had finally paid off.

“She was four-months-old when I picked her up from Toolong breeder Phil Lenehan and from there she spent several months out at Compton with Tracie and Karen Price before I brought her home at 10 months of age.

“She’s been walking in the pines every morning since – with the exception of when she was away being broken-in by Peter Byrne and Dustin Drew at Koroit – and enjoys galloping on a regular basis at the Tara Raceway slipping track which has been a real boon to the local ‘back-yard trainers’.”

With Lewis pretty well committed on race days at Tara Raceway, it’s been left to Richard Clayfield and Michael Robinson – that trio’s association going back to the Glenburnie days of greyhound racing – to box and catch Rebel Ruth.

Robinson describes her as the people’s dog, generating a popular on-course following and with plenty of “co-trainers” ready to offer the one-dog trainer a few tips on how Rebel Ruth could further be improved.

And then there’s Serviceton owner Val Brodhurst – enjoying success again last Sunday when Dare To Do won her fourth race this year at Tara Raceway.

“I fell in love with Rebel Ruth the first time I saw her arrive at Tara Raceway, perched up on the back seat of her trainer’s little car. She’s a real sweetie and I’d love to take her home.”