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

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, January 28 with GRSA. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (T/G): Best to worst grading. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, February 3 with GRSA. FREE TRIALS (for members/$10 non-members): Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track. NO TRIALS: Please note there will no trials on Tuesday, February 4 due to track maintenance. SATISFACTORY TRIALS: For bookings please contact Barry Shepheard on 0419 824 512.



Smart Knocka back at Tara Raceway

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Former boom youngster Smart Knocka, winner of last year’s Winter Classic at Tara Raceway and the Adelaide Cup Consolation at Angle Park, will return to Tara Raceway for the first time in 13 months to take on a heat of Sunday’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 metres).

Hutch pictured winning last year’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup.

Raced by Tracie Price in partnership with the Haines family of WA and trained by the former at Compton, Smart Knocka last raced in Mount Gambier in November last year when defeating Springvale Alysa over 512 metres in a best of day 29.72 seconds.

Subsequently a winner at the end of January over 450 metres at Ballarat in a best of night 25.20 seconds, the son of Knocka Norris x Who’s Doing What was then sidelined by injury until winning first-up at Horsham in October over 410 metres.

Smart Knocka, who finished unplaced in a heat of the Ballarat Cup (450 m) last Saturday night, has drawn box six in a the second of two heats of the Christmas Cup and will clash with last year’s winner Hutch (box five), another greyhound on the comeback trail.

Members of the South Eastern Hotel Social Club enjoyed their day out at Tara Raceway last Sunday and caught up with Rotate, handled by Dean Fennell, after his win in the South Eastern Hotel Social Club Stake.

Trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, Hutch ran Wanchai Express to a length at Tara Raceway last Sunday, the long-time trainer looking to hold a strong hand in the cup after Rotate, who has drawn box two in the first heat, won impressively on the same day.

Price also has three well-bred littermates – High Fly Dorothy, Rocketline and Tandiki – stepping out for the first time in heats of the Peter Whitehead Memorial Maiden (400 m).

By Peter Rocket, who sired his first Tara Raceway winner last Thursday when Magnet Force was successful, the trio is out of the well-bred Headline (Barcia Bale x Raya Riot), a winner of 16 races on Victorian tracks.

And Portland trainer Nifty Lenehan has a couple of interesting littermates in Hostile Savage and Hostile Raven lining up for the first time in heats of the memorial – the December 2017 pair by Hostile out of Sweet Savage, a daughter of prolific producer Rustic Reeta.

Further time-graded changes to be trialled

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Following Greyhound Racing SA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson’s consultation with owners and trainers at Tara Raceway last Thursday, further time-graded changes will now be trialled at Tara Raceway in January.

GRSA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson pictured speaking with Richard Clayfield at Tara Raceway last Thursday.

Currently, for the Thursday time-graded fixtures greyhounds are grouped subject to race wins – Maiden 0 wins, Novice 1-4 wins and Open 5+ wins – with the non-penalty events graded “worst to best”.

However, the meetings on January 9 and 23, while still retaining the current grouping procedure, will be graded “best to worst” which, according to Mathieson, would cater for a different mix of greyhounds.

“One of the problems we seem to be running into with Thursday time-graded racing in Mount Gambier is that the same greyhounds – win, lose or draw – seem to be going around most weeks while some of the ‘middle of the road’ dogs are missing out on Thursday and Sunday,” he said.

“What we are proposing is the grading of greyhounds that are time-rated 5 or more while those with a rating of 4.75 or less, in other words the better dogs, will not be considered but will be guaranteed a run at the following Sunday meeting.”

Mathieson also said that another advantage of grading “best to worst” was that all races (generally 12) could then include reserves – not the case when grading “worst to best”.

Five time-graded meetings will be run at Tara Raceway next month, the other three, on January 2, 16 and 30, to be graded under the current system.

Local owner’s big day at Tara Raceway

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

It was a big day for long-time Mount Gambier greyhound racing identity Michael Robinson after the April 2018 Dyna Double One x Miss Freelove littermates Vossy and Perseverance were successful at last Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting.

Willie Vossen (left) and Michael Robinson pictured with Vossy after her impressive first-up win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Vossy, trained at Compton by the breeder, Tracie Price, for Robinson and fellow local owner Willie Vossen, was having her first race start when lining up from box one in the Fairthorne Forestry Maiden Stake (400 metres).

And the fawn bitch handled herself pretty well, quickly shaking off Miss Classique before running away to a 3½ lengths win in a slick 23.19 seconds – a time that possibly surprised even her connections.

The win also presented Price and the owners with an extra $1000 to supplement the $610 first prize, the SA-Bred maiden bonus being shared between the breeder and owners.

Robinson’s first involvement with greyhounds goes back to 1976 and a dog called Habba’s Pride while Vossen’s first dog was Kate’s Hope in 1985 although it wasn’t until early 2015 that the pair joined forces and purchased a pup from Price.

“We took a fancy straight away to a black bitch pup by Bekim Bale out of Lucy’s Moment and between 2016 and 2018 she raced on 67 occasions as Bekim Lucy’s, winning 11 races including one over the distance (731 m) at Angle Park,” Robinson said.

Then, back in early 2018, the pair was out at Compton, once again looking at pups and in particular a litter out of a bitch called Miss Freelove.

Perseverance scores a brilliant win in the Produce Store Grade 5 final.

“A mad chaser and beautifully bred (Smooth Fancy x Casey’s Angel), she’d won one race at Cannington and three at Mandurah but from all accounts had been lucky to race at all after sustaining severe injuries as a pup in a yard accident,” Robinson said.

“Willie liked this fawn bitch (later to race as Vossy) and I was agreeable to go in with him although there was a black bitch pup that really took my fancy, mainly because her markings were similar to those of Bekim Lucy’s.

“And while Willie was quite happy to settle for the fawn pup I wanted that black one right or wrong so in the end I purchased her myself for $2000.”

Now racing as Perseverance, and trained for Robinson at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, the black bitch lined up from box eight in the Produce Store Grade Five final (512 m), looking to add to her record of three wins from 12 starts at the track.

Miss Freelove with her litter of four dogs and four bitches to Mepunga Blazer.

But she generally makes it hard for herself. Another slow start saw her last early and with still a fair amount of work to do at the half-way mark. She has a fair sort of motor, though, as borne out by her eventual three lengths win in 29.76 seconds – a time that definitely would have surprised connections.

Meanwhile, Miss Freelove, a litter sister to other winning producers in Miss Betsy and Someday Lady, whelped her second litter on November 13, this time to Mepunga Blazer who is attracting plenty of attention from breeders.

And what’s the betting that it won’t be long before Robinson and Vossen are out at Compton again, checking out the four dogs and four bitches?

Impressive debut by Montaya

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Mortlake trainer Peter Franklin and his trusty sidekick John Gale, of Ballarat, were back on Thursday for Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting with what looks to be a promising type in Montaya.

Good judge . . . Taya Chisholm selected Montaya as a pup.

Bred in the purple, the 31½ kilogram black bitch is by Barcia Bale out of Blonde Caviar’s second and final litter – her first, by Bella Infrared, producing former Tara Raceway 600 metre record holder McIvor Verna.

Selected as a pup by Gale’s granddaughter, Victorian state basketballer Taya Chisholm – hence the “taya” tag in the racing name – Montaya became the first of the litter to race when lining up from box five in the Stake (400 m).

And following a moderate start and early interference, she was left with a bit of work to do as another big bitch in Elle Limes bowled along in front, looking to open her winning account at start number two.

John Gale (left) and Peter Franklin with Montaya after her debut win at Tara Raceway on Thursday.

But turning for home, Montaya took the inside running before going on to a strong 2¾ lengths win – perhaps not all that surprising given that Blonde Caviar had been a winner at The Meadows over 600 metres and at Horsham (570 m) – in an impressive 23.44 seconds.

The winner is raced by the Mojito Syndicate which is managed by Gale and also includes Franklin and Damien Walter of Bendigo. And wouldn’t they love to be associated with another Mojito Mayhem?

Speaking after the race, Gale, who now has Blonde Caviar as a pet, said it hadn’t been all plain sailing with Montaya who he described as a dog that was not fazed by anything.

“About six months ago we were having a few doubts about her future due to some metacarpal problems but hopefully that is all behind her. We’re hoping that she can now go on to bigger and better things.”

Jesse, Jackson, Khris and Wynston Blake, together with Beck Reilly, pictured with Lilly An’ Page, the second leg of a double for Murtoa trainer Josh McDonald.

Later in the day, Josh McDonald, of Murtoa, won his first race at Tara Raceway when Magnet Force held out a fast-finishing Roswitha Girl in The Border Watch Stake (400 m) to win by a neck in 23.57 seconds.

McDonald purchased Magnet Force, a daughter of Peter Rocket and Maisy Mac (a litter sister to the Group 1-winning Zambora Brockie), as a pup from Dennington breeder Ray Drew.

Part of the winner’s prizemoney will now go to Beyond Blue, an organisation raising awareness of men’s mental health.

Things got even better for McDonald come race eight, the Rock’s Retreat Stake (512 m), when Lilly An’ Page overcame interference down the back straight to go on for a powerful two lengths win over Just Kenny in 30.37 seconds.

This was only the third start for McDonald with the daughter of Deville x Nubian Princess, the black bitch having previously experienced issues at Horsham and Warrnambool but obviously enjoying racing behind Tara Raceway’s finish-on lure.

Fireball lights up Border Challenge

Saturday, December 7, 2019

It took a while – several years in fact – but the Border Challenge finally kicked off at Warrnambool on Thursday night.

This was a joint venture of the Warrnambool and Mount Gambier greyhound racing clubs, the host club’s president Mick White and manager Craig Monigatti making the visitors most welcome. Greyhound Racing SA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson had also thrown his support behind the series, describing it as a great concept.

Ready to head to the boxes in Thursday night’s Border Challenge final at Warrnambool.

The concept had been to run heats – with some restrictions applied – at both tracks with four greyhounds from each club then lining up in a $4000-to-the-winner final over 450 metres.

However, Mount Gambier suffered an early setback when Galactic Titan had been scratched, leaving the club with three finalists – Wanchai Express (Nicole Stanley), Galactic Mojo (Steve Bartholomew) and Flash Jackie (David Peckham).

The host club supplied the favourite, the Phil Lenehan owned and trained Lektra Fireball, and he was always going to be hard to beat from box two after a stirring win over Adam Richardson’s Super Panda in a heat the previous week.

But it was the Ray Drew trained Aston Sultan who led into the home straight of the Border Challenge final before Super Panda took over running and looked set to turn the tables on Lektra Fireball who was finishing strongly after peeling to the outside turning for home.

Super Panda leads Aston Sultan and eventual winner Lektra Fireball (No. 2) in the home straight of Thursday night’s Border Challenge at Warrnambool. Also in the picture is Wanchai Express who finished fourth.

Lektra Fireball is bred to run a strong 450 metres, being by former Group 1 distance dog Destini Fireball out of Lektra Angie (a daughter of Elektra), and he just kept coming, eventually grabbing victory by the narrowest of margins in 25.48 seconds.

Super Panda once again was gallant in defeat while Aston Sultan gave it his best shot when running a 1½ length third. Best of the Mount Gambier runners was Wanchai Express who was far from disgraced when finishing fourth.

From the clubs’ point of view the inaugural Border Challenge had gone well, Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president Noel Perry congratulating Warrnambool on the staging of this year’s inaugural event and saying that he looked forward to next year’s running at Tara Raceway.

Winning run continues for visiting greyhound

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Adelaide chaser West On Bamboo went into last Sunday’s Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (600 m) on the back of two pretty handy 600 metre wins at Angle Park during November.

David Peckham (left), Tim Aloisi and Brad McSherry pictured with trainer Damien Bates and West On Bamboo.

And once finding the front down the back straight the black bitch was always going to win although second and third placegetters Banjo Fozz and Close Your Eyes look to be coming winners after going down by only 1¾ lengths and 1½ lengths respectively in 35.37 seconds.

The win was the first at Tara Raceway for Damien Bates, a hobby trainer from Adelaide suburb Trott Park and a part-owner of West On Bamboo with Michael McSorley and leading Adelaide owners Matt Lehman and Tim Aloisi who was on track to witness the win.

By Collide out of Revealed, West On Bamboo was purchased by the quartet back in May from well-known WA couple Linda Britton and Chris Halse with Aloisi saying that the purchase had been made with breeding in mind.

“West On Bamboo is a litter sister to Chips And Trains who has won 15 races and $141,000 in stakemoney plus she’s now won 14 races herself over distances ranging from 490 metres to 600 metres so she doesn’t stack up too badly as a potential brood bitch.”

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, another former WA greyhound in Raw Luxury opened her Tara Raceway winning account when leading all the way in the Swallow Drive Meats Stake (400 m).

Raw Luxury defeats United Lass and Bourne Birdie over 400 metres at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Owned by Steve Shinners and trained at Compton by Tracie Price, the daughter of Fernando Bale x Sober was racing for the first time in eight months after having to contend with injury and seasonal issues.

Raw Luxury – also a potential brood bitch – has now won eight races with Price previously winning with her half-brother Mellow And Yellow over 600 metres at Tara Raceway.

Busy start to new year

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

A busy conclusion to the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s 2019 season is to be followed by an equally busy start to 2020 with the first of the weekly Thursday time-graded fixtures commencing on January 2 prior to the running of the New Year’s Open at the Sunday meeting three days later.

To be run over 600 metres, the New Year’s Open will be complemented by the final of a Grade Five series (400 m), heats of which are to be run at the Tara Raceway Boxing Day twilight meeting on Thursday, December 26.

Banjo Fozz . . . in the running for a Tara Trackstar start.

The Tara Trackstar No. 2 is set to be run on Sunday, January 12. This is a one-off race over 512 metres for the best performed greyhounds at Tara Raceway between July and December 2019 with leading contenders announced after the final meeting of the year on Sunday, December 29.

Also on this day will be heats over 512 metres of the time-honoured Sims Maiden Memorial, the final to be run on Sunday, January 19. Sunday racing for the month concludes with the Australia Day Open (512 m) on January 26.

And there has been an addition to the December racing calendar, heats of the Peter Whitehead Memorial for maiden greyhounds to be run over 400 metres on Sunday, December 15 with the final at the Christmas meeting a week later.

“Spider” Whitehead, who died in December 2017 at the age of 68, was a long-time greyhound racing participant, previously having enjoyed a successful local football career at South Gambier, Nangwarry and Glencoe.

One of the first dogs he trained was Blue Gothic who won four of his 24 starts with Whitehead always maintaining that he would have been his best dog but for the rookie trainer having no idea as to what he was doing!

Franklin returns with interesting first starter

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

For the first time in 12 months, Mortlake trainer Peter Franklin returns to Tara Raceway for Thursday’s time-graded meeting with an interesting first starter in the form of Montaya.

By Barcia Bale out of Blonde Caviar, the December 2017 black bitch is a half-sister to McIvor Verna who broke Paraphernalia’s 600 metre Tara Raceway record of 34.97 seconds when clocking 34.84 seconds on June 18, 2017 for Franklin.

Ireland’s Oyster

That record actually stood until April 21, 2019 when Pirate’s Curse ran 34.79 seconds.

But Franklin has also been associated with a couple of other Tara Raceway records holders, Ireland’s Oyster a one-time 400 metre record holder at 22.83 seconds and, of course, Mojito Mayhem who held the 512 metre record.

In fact, in what was a truly remarkable day, the multi cups-winning Mojito Mayhem ran a record 29.52 seconds – which stood until March 11, 2018 – on the same day as McIvor Verna lowered the middle-distance record.

Meanwhile, in a change of plans, Greyhound Racing SA Racing Manager, Shaun Mathieson, will be at Thursday’s Tara Raceway meeting.

Mathieson’s trip has been arranged by the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club in order that participants can discuss any issues they may have with the time-grading system or any other matters pertaining to greyhound racing.

And Thursday night will see the running of the inaugural Border Challenge between the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club and the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.

Four qualified greyhounds from each club will clash at Warrnambool over 450 metres with the winner receiving $4000. From a Mount Gambier point of view, the Nicole Stanley trained Wanchai Express fared well with the draw when coming up with box one.

Lenehan chasing further cup success

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

An outstanding win by Polar Missile in last Sunday’s O’Brien Electrical Stake (512 metres) now has Portland greyhound trainer Neville “Nifty” Lenehan looking at his second Tara Raceway cup success this year.

In July, he had been successful in the Anniversary Cup (512 m) with Lektra Brandy who staged an incredible effort to come from near last early and defeat Dyna Naitch by 1¼ lengths in a quick 29.63 seconds.

Nifty Lenehan looked pretty happy after Polar Missile’s win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Contesting a heat of a grade five series from box one at last week’s main meeting, the 36 kilogram Polar Missile chased Jackie Dee until the home turn where he took over the running and finished powerfully to score by 5½ lengths in a personal best 29.85 seconds.

Raced by Karen Pitt of Pearcedale, Polar Missile is a member of the Nitro Burst x Harper Seven litter, Lenehan winning the Sims Memorial Maiden at Tara Raceway early this year with litter sister Twisted Missile.

After this Sunday’s grade five final, in which Polar Missile has once again drawn box one, Lenehan is likely to tackle the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 m), heats of which will be run on Sunday, December 15.

The Christmas Cup was first run in 2011 when won by the David Peckham trained Napoleon Wiz in 30.20 seconds.

Winners to follow have been Lika Gem (Allen Williams) 30.27, Bourne Again (David Peckham) 30.41, Who’s Doing What (Tracie Price) 29.77, Fear The Rascal (Tracie Price) 30.09, Glenville Jester (Richard Clayfield) 30.05, Hit The Runway (Nicole Stanley) 30.42 and Hutch (Robert Halliday) 29.86.

Dozer opens winning account for visiting trainer

Monday, December 2, 2019

The 37 kilogram Zipping Dozer’s all-the-way win in Sunday’s Rock’s Retreat Maiden/One Win Stake (512 metres) gave trainer Charlie Adcock his first success at Tara Raceway and also his first win with the son of My Bro Fabio x Zipping Summah.

Kilburn trainer Charlie Adcock (left) landed his first Tara Raceway winner when Zipping Dozer was successful on Sunday. Also pictured is Kevin Bewley, of Lewiston, who won with Roxy’s Daisy later in the day.

The black dog, after running a close-up third at the track when first up earlier in the month, knew exactly where he was going this time around when finishing 5½ lengths clear of Maunganui Bella in the handy time of 30.34 seconds.

Zipping Dozer, purchased for $500 in September by Adcock and his housemate Barry Donnellan, had won only the one race at Traralgon 14 months ago prior to Sunday’s win, the trainer admitting the dog, after some ordinary Adelaide form, had been close to going into the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP).

Adcock, who is based in the Adelaide suburb of Kilburn, first became involved in greyhound racing in the 1980s, one of his first winners being a dog called O’Reilly’s Mate who was also owned by Donnellan.

By Pago Pago out of Miss Gayita, O’Reilly’s Mate was purchased by the pair for $100 at an Angle Park auction before going on to win six races at Angle Park and Gawler.

Adcock and Donnellan have also tasted success in recent months at Angle Park and Gawler with Blazing Major and Rory Kade. They both commenced their racing careers in NSW before finding their way to SA where they have collectively won seven races.