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

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21: Nominations closed. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, December 24 with GRSA. SUNDAY, JANUARY 6: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, December 31 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track. No trials December 25, January 1.


Remarkable comeback by Cement Socks

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

For 73-year-old trainer Kevin Ashton, wins don’t come much better than that at Tara Raceway last Friday when Cement Socks overcame the odds and brought up her first win in 17 months.

Having her first start for three months in the Stake (400 metres), the daughter of Stagger x Hippy Chic quickly worked into second spot behind Penny La Moment, taking over the running off the back after the leader found trouble and eventually won by three lengths.

Cement Socks defeats Zambora Cash and kennelmate Bank Rogue at Tara Raceway last Friday.

Fair enough, this was only a grade five time-graded race and the winning time of 24.10 seconds was nothing special. But as far as Ashton was concerned it was all about the win.

His involvement with the litter – Stagger, a winner of 64 races and more than $200,000 in stakemoney from 137 starts, and Hippy Chic a Sandown Park winner – goes back to late 2016 when he picked up Tipping Woody who early in 2017 won three successive races at Tara Raceway.

A couple of months later Cement Socks joined Ashton’s Charlton kennels after having won six races at Warragul and Traralgon, the black bitch then promptly winning at Tara Raceway and Shepparton for her wily trainer with 43 years’ experience.

And then on a cold winter’s night on June 26, 2017 Ashton and Jan Neil, his partner of 23 years, undertook the 2½-hour drive to Ballarat with Cement Socks who, after looking a winning chance turning for home in the 450 metre event, took a heavy fall.

Kevin Ashton and Jan Neil with Cement Socks . . . back among the winners after 17 months.

Ashton takes up the story.

“It was a nasty fall that resulted in a broken leg and initially we rated her no chance of ever racing again. A year later though, somewhat amazingly, she was back on the track, resuming at Horsham before a close-up fourth followed at Tara Raceway.

“But Cement Socks’s third run back turned out to be another disaster when she fractured a metacarpal – here we go again, another three months off prior to last Friday’s return to racing.

“It’s certainly been a frustrating 17 months but it was a great thrill to finally see her win again after we’d put so much work into her.”

And the last word on the Rosemont Syndicate-owned Cement Socks goes to Jan Neil, who declared: “She’s just got so much courage.”

Involved with greyhounds prior to meeting up with Ashton and claiming a combined total of 80 years’ experience between the pair when it comes to the longtails, Neil said one of their better greyhounds in the 1990s was Favoured Spirit, winner of the 1996 Roy Maidment Memorial.

“A couple of other pieces of trivia for you,” Ashton said. “We won the final race at the old Robinvale track with a greyhound called Explosive Law in 2001 and Carrara Lad has been retired.”

By Mantra Lad x Dadda Poppa, Carrara Lad, at Charlton since a three-month-old pup, is one of the oldest winners at Tara Raceway, successful there on June 7 this year when just six weeks short of his sixth birthday.

“While he was certainly no champion, he was a wonderfully sound and durable greyhound that gave us a lot of fun,” Ashton said of Carrara Lad, who raced on 158 occasions for 11 wins and 38 minor placings.

Knocka makes a smart return

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Smart Knocka was always going to be the main attraction at last Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting – and once again he confirmed his rating as the best greyhound to come out of the south east in a long time.

Smart Knocka runs a quick 29.72 seconds when defeating Springvale Alysa and Drysdale Creek at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

By Knocka Norris out of Who’s Doing What, he was having only his third start at his home track, his other two runs resulting in heat and final wins of August’s Peter Rocket Winter Classic.

Compton trainer Tracie Price opted for a softer option last Sunday after Smart Knocka’s recent arduous Adelaide campaign which saw him tackle the SA Derby, the UBET Adelaide Cup and the Gawler Gold Cup – and clock up plenty of kilometres into the bargain.

Mind you, Smart Knocka, owned by Price in partnership with Andrew and Peter Haines of WA, handled himself pretty well, running second in the Derby and winning the Adelaide Cup Consolation.

Tracie Price and his aunty Sheila Monaghan pictured with Smart Knocka after last Sunday’s win.

His return to Tara Raceway saw him jump at the prohibitive odds of $1.15 in the Williams Crane Hire Mixed Stake (512 m), with him quickly putting the issue beyond doubt when beginning well from box eight.

John Little’s Springvale Alysa, normally a good beginner, ensured the pace was on early when initially finding the front from box three before Smart Knocka took over the running into the back straight.

From then on, interest was only in time and margins, the blue dog ultimately running out a 4¾ length winner over Springvale Alysa with a further 2¼ lengths back to Monty Wilson’s Drysdale Creek.

The minor placegetters’ efforts were full of merit especially considering the winner’s time of 29.72 seconds, the fastest run at Tara Raceway since Smart Knocka’s former kennelmate Rockoon – now back with owner Keith Hellmuth – ran a record-breaking 29.28 seconds on July 1.

And it was a timely win given that the Price camp is now preparing for Who’s Doing What’s third litter – this time by Fernando Bale.

Paraphernalia throws out strong challenge

Monday, November 5, 2018

Oh No Beta picks up valuable GOTY points when running second on Sunday to Ramified.

A second placing behind Ramified in Sunday’s Rock’s Retreat Mixed Stake (400 m) sees seasoned chaser Oh No Beta maintaining a two point lead in this year’s Greyhound of the Year award – a lead that he held between March and July and again from September onwards.

And it was an opportune second-placing given that later in the day Paraphernalia turned in a terrific effort in The Border Watch Mixed Stake (512 m) to narrowly defeat Swift Limes in a quick 29.97 seconds and move into second spot in the GOTY award.

Jeff Guy with Paraphernalia . . . pushing hard for GOTY honours.

Oh No Beta, who last won at Tara Raceway on September 9, has raced at the local track on 27 occasions this year for seven wins, 10 seconds and four thirds for a total of 52 points, Portland trainer Nicole Stanley chasing her third successive Mount Gambier GOTY title after Old Jock and Fiorelli Rose.

All told, the four-year-old Oh No Beta, a son of Lochinvar Marlow and National Futurity winner Sometimes Speedy, has raced on 101 occasions for 26 wins and 30 minor placings.

Paraphernalia, trained at Horsham by Jeff Guy, has now won 11races from 18 starts at Tara Raceway this year and that’s more wins than any other greyhound. Together with three second-placings, the fawn dog has accumulated 50 points.

Another seasoned chaser, Paraphernalia, a 4½-year-old son of Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco, has raced on 132 occasions for 34 wins and 30 minor placings.

Excluding time-graded meetings, there are seven race meetings remaining in this year’s racing season.

A day of doubles at the dogs

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Doubles to Edenhope greyhound trainer Cap Abbott, Kath Brooks of Rupanyup and Mount Moriac regular Kevin Ward highlighted last Friday’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway.

For Abbott it had been another busy week, his trusty red van carting greyhounds to Adelaide to race on Monday and Thursday at Angle Park prior to the trip to Mount Gambier with a couple of well-bred giveaways in Onya Jakit and Dodge Coupe.

Cap Abbott and Dodge Coupe.

They had found their way to Edenhope via well known Victorian greyhound identity Paul Westerveld after the pair – at the time unnamed – had undergone pre-training and considered to be not up to city standard.

Raced by long-time kennel client John Dihm, Onya Jakit, at only his third start, led all the way to defeat Lil Black Jess by 1¼ lengths in 23.95 seconds in the Laser Electrical Stake (400 metres).

By Fernando Bale, the brindle dog is out of Molly Monroe, a daughter of Bartrim Bale x Witch Fantasy and a city winner at Sandown Park, The Meadows and Hobart.

They don’t come much better bred than Dodge Coupe, a son of Kinloch Brae and Secret Spell (Bartrim Bale x Wicked Witch), Secret Spell racing on 43 occasions for 23 wins and stakemoney of more than $276,000.

Khris Blake and Fairground.

A litter brother to Aston Geisha, a winner of her first five starts in Victoria, Dodge Coupe was still chasing his first win after 11 starts when lining up from box four in last Friday’s Metal Worx Stake (400 m).

And after overcoming an ordinary start, the black dog was able to find the front down the back straight, eventually running away to a 5½ length win over Ranger Bay in a more than respectable 23.50 seconds, an effort that possibly surprised even his trainer.

Both of Abbott’s winners trace back on the dam’s side to Star Witch who in 2002 raced 29 times for 17 wins and $89,000 in stakemoney.

Owners Calum and Aaron Blake continue to have a bit of fun with the Brooks-trained Fairground, Love A Chat and Hopsing – all members of a litter by Fabregas out of 16-race winner Lolly Bale which were picked up not long after they commenced racing by the brothers.

Fairground led all the way from box one in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 m), clocking 23.64 seconds when defeating Love A Chat by 6¼ lengths while Hopsing took over the running off the back in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m), before registering a 2¼ length win over Midnight Ruby in 23.88 seconds.

Last Princess defeats Midgey, It’s Magic (7), Big Rough (9) and Cindy La Moment.

Handling the trio on Friday was another Blake brother in Khris who was pretty excited after Fairground’s win but even more so after Hopsing won later in the day. “The Donkey Boys are back in town,” he exclaimed.

Last Princess led all the way in the Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (600 m) to defeat Midgey by two lengths in 36.32 seconds and bring up her fourth middle-distance win at the track for Ward.

Don’s Machine’s keenly-contested win in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) over Don’s Just Under in 23.74 seconds was Ward’s first double since August 10 when Last Princess and Don’s Machine had previously been successful on the same day.

The meeting continued a good year at Tara Raceway for last Friday’s successful training trio with Abbott having now trained 38 winners, Brooks 24 and Ward 21.

Mulan makes amends

Thursday, November 1, 2018

It’s probably fair to say that a 1¾ length second at only her second start to the enigmatic Joshua Rocks in a Tara Raceway 512 metre maiden last month signalled an early win for the Glenroy-based Richard Clayfield trained Mulan – especially as the winning time was 29.96 seconds.

And while the well-bred black bitch was never out of trouble at her next start the following week behind Spinning Jakit she did make amends last Sunday in the Laser Electrical Stake (512 m).

Mulan opens her winning account last Sunday at Tara Raceway when defeating Galactic Cheetah (7) and Midnight Rage.

Away well from box two, Mulan settled in second spot behind Midnight Rage down the back before running out a length winner over a fast-finishing Galactic Cheetah in 30.34 seconds to give Clayfield his 15th Tara Raceway winner this year.

The rising three-year-old Galactic Cheetah was having only his sixth start for Moorak owner-trainer Robert Chuck who was delighted with the run after four previous well-beaten efforts from the son of Milldean Panther and Galactic Rumball.

The white and black dog is a litter brother to Summer Classic winner Galactic Panther and also recent Warrnambool winner Galactic Cat who is trained for Chuck by Steve Elsum of Camperdown.

Mulan, by 2011 English Derby winner Taylors Sky out of The Meadows winner Erza Allen, was purchased by Penola owner Damien Smith from Murray Bridge breeder Greg Board after breaking-in with a promising report.

“The breaking-in times were pretty handy but Greg was happy enough to move her on but not her litter sister which he had an even higher opinion of,” Smith said.

As it turned out, a Board-trained bitch by the name of Spring Taylor led all the way at Angle Park on Wednesday afternoon over 388 metres to win her maiden at her second start in 22.21 seconds.

Richard Clayfield with Mulan.

Mulan and Galactic Cheetah will both line up at Tara Raceway on Sunday, both in unsuitable 400 metre races due to a shortage of nominations for the longer journey, begging  the question as to where have all the lower-grade 512 metre greyhounds got to?

Meanwhile, Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott’s litter brothers Spinning Jakit and Black Spring, members of the Spring Gun x Lektra Scarlett litter, both worked home well at Angle Park on Monday night to finish second over 515 metres while another litter brother in Lektra Caution was successful at The Meadows on Wednesday.

And at Gawler on Tuesday there was no luck for Compton trainer Tracie Price when Smart Knocka found trouble on the first turn in a heat of the Group 3 Gold Cup (531 m) and failed to qualify for Sunday night’s final, as did Blazing Moment who finished third in his heat.

Both Abbott and Price have hit the highway again today for Angle Park’s main meeting of the week – Abbott with Spinning Jakit and Black Spring while Price has Sophie’s Moment, Cee Me Snoop, Cee Me Holly, Roxy’s Daisy and Cee Me Turbo engaged.

Smart Knocka returns to Tara Raceway on Sunday, for the first time since he won the Peter Rocket Winter Classic (512 m) in a race record time of 29.85 seconds at the end of August.

He’ll add plenty of interest to the 10-race program when jumping from box eight in the Williams Crane Hire Mixed Stake (512 m) while Blazing Moment will take on a smart field from box four in The Border Watch Mixed Stake (512 m).

Plenty of Portland pups

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Nifty Lenehan pictured at Tara Raceway in 2016 with Herbilly.

The days have just got busier at Portland’s Winmore Greyhound Kennels for Nicole Stanley and Nifty Lenehan following the whelping a fortnight ago of a litter of five bitches by Walk Hard x Spring Patsy (Mogambo x Spring Dora).

The litter is the fourth to be whelped there since May 20 when Miss Shirleen (Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze) produced four dogs and five bitches to Walk Hard.

Then followed a litter of two dogs and two bitches by Barcia Bale out of the 2016 SA Country Cup winner Berry Bling (Lochinvar Marlow x Lady Bling) on May 28.

And on July 30 Herbilly (Kinloch Brae x Obama’s Girl) whelped two dogs and two bitches to Fernando Bale.

600 metre clash highlight of time-graded meeting

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Monarto South trainer Tony Hinrichsen will be hoping to continue his successful run this year at Tara Raceway time-graded meetings – specifically for lower grade greyhounds – when he returns for Friday’s 12-race program.

Hinrichsen, who landed his first time-graded win this year on April 22, has since trained 15 more winners at the track, highlighted by two trebles and three doubles.

Tony Hinrichsen pictured with Midgey who looks a top chance in Friday’s Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (600 m).

And Midgey, a white and fawn bitch by US sire Kiowa Mon Manny out of Flying Mozoltov, looks to be one of his better chances on Friday when she lines up from box six in probably the best race of the day, the Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (600 m).

In Hinrichsen’s kennels since early September, Midgey was successful over the distance at Tara Raceway on October 24, finishing with a well-timed run to narrowly defeat It’s Magic in a time of 35.74 seconds.

A subsequent run on Monday night at Angle Park where she finished off the 600 metre race in nice fashion for a fourth placing behind McIvor Neville – winner of last year’s Sims Memorial at Tara Raceway – should have topped her off nicely for Friday.

The litter has displayed some staying prowess, with Midgey’s litter sister Sublime News, a winner of seven races from 32 starts and more than $37,000 in stakemoney, racing tomorrow night over 715 metres at Sandown Park.

Hinrichsen, president of the Southern Greyhound Raceway at the time of the Strathalbyn track’s recent closure, said he expected to be involved in some form of club role with the Murray Bridge track which will commence racing on December 19.

Joshua Rock’s smart maiden 512 metre win at Tara Raceway in 29.96 seconds on October 14 was enough to convince Portland trainer Nifty Lenehan that his hulking 37 kilogram son of Cosmic Rumble and Obama’s Girl warranted another crack at Sandown Park.

But after two unplaced runs at the Victorian city track, big Josh now finds himself back with the 600 metre time-graders, jumping from box two in what would appear to be a fair drop in class.

With only two runs over the Tara Raceway middle-distance, Joshua Rocks is yet to break 36 seconds although he could make things interesting if he happened to gain some clear running early.

The Paul Herry trained Garku Bale, who last won almost 12 months ago at Tara Raceway when defeating Trademark Jet over 732 metres, gave plenty of cheek last Sunday when running a 1½ length second to Tuscan Flex over 600 metres and clocking a personal time of 35.94 seconds.

Garku Bale . . . giving it his best shot for owner-trainer Paul Herry.

By David Bale out of Ucme Typhoon, Garku Bale has drawn box four on Friday, his trainer hoping he can improve on his record of two wins and six minor placings for stakemoney of $2912 – still a fair way short of his litter sister Fanta Bale’s earnings of $1,365,175.

But for all that, it was a delighted Herry who left the track last Sunday. After all, his giveaway greyhound, due to injury concerns, had raced only five occasions in the first eight months of this year and had appeared to pull up well after his second-placing.

Besides, the black dog had given it his best shot. And that’s all Herry has ever asked of Garku Bale.

And adding further interest to the race, It’s Magic and Dusty Pearl should be further improved by their recent 600 metre placings at Tara Raceway.

Further time-graded meetings will be run on Friday, November 16 and Friday, November 30 along with Friday, December 14 and Sunday, December 30. The Christmas meeting will be run on Friday, December 21 and feature the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 m).

Wednesday racing to commence in January

Monday, October 29, 2018

Fortnightly Wednesday race meetings will kick off at Tara Raceway on January 9.

The mid-week meetings at Mount Gambier’s track will alternate with Murray Bridge which is programmed to commence racing on Wednesday, December 19 – both tracks also racing on a weekly basis on Sundays.

Fortnightly Friday meetings will continue at Tara Raceway during November on the 2nd, 16th and 30th and on December 14 and December 21, this being the club’s Christmas meeting which will be highlighted by the running of the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup final (512 metres).

The 2013 presentation for the Newman McDonnell Memorial won by David Peckham and Connie Miller’s Bourne Again.

Previous winners of the Christmas Cup, first run in 2011, have been Napoleon Wiz (David Peckham), Lika Gem (Allen Williams), Bourne Again (David Peckham), Who’s Doing What (Tracie Price), Fear The Rascal (Tracie Price), Glenville Jester (Richard Clayfield) and last year Hit The Runway (Nicole Stanley).

November’s racing highlight is the 33rd running of the Newman McDonnell Memorial, for grade five greyhounds over 512 metres, with heats on November 11 and the final a week later.

First run in 1986 at Glenburnie, the inaugural memorial was won by Kenzel Lad with subsequent winners at that track being Bozie Flyer, Irkanda Leo, Invercoe Riot, National Ribbon, Foxtrot Oscar, Bush Pepper, Larradinya, Wild Welcome, Colin Ian, while the final winner, in 1996, was Ashanti Gem.

Recent winners of the memorial at the Lake Terrace East venue include John Cameron’s Camo’s Lucky in 2012, Bourne Again the following two years for David Peckham, while the past three winners have been Boris Bekim (Barney Fish), Glenville Jester (Richard Clayfield) and Lektra Stomp, who in 2017 won in a race record time of 29.69 seconds for Phil Lenehan.

Meanwhile, locally-based Smart Knocka, winner of the Adelaide Cup Consolation (515 m) at Angle Park earlier this month, has drawn box eight in the second heat of tomorrow’s Group 3 Gawler Gold Cup (531 m).

Trained at Compton by Tracie Price, Smart Knocka will clash with Oshkosh Erny, who led for a long way in the consolation before finishing third, and Reiko Rocketta, winner of the SA Country Cup on the same night.

Price has also drawn box eight in the fourth and final heat with his 16-race winner Blazing Moment who will clash with Fabwik, unplaced favourite in the Adelaide Cup final.

In what is SA greyhound racing’s biggest country cup, the first two placegetters from each Gawler Gold Cup heat will make up Sunday night’s final, the winner receiving $25,000.

Woodland returns as club president

Monday, October 29, 2018

John Woodland, president of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club Inc. in 2000-2001, has been appointed president of the club for 2018-2019.

This follows a meeting at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon at which he expressed thanks to the outgoing president, Steve Bartholomew, who had been in the role since 2009.

“The club owes a debt of gratitude to Steve for the amount of effort he has put into this club over a long period of time. He certainly leaves the club in a much stronger position than when he first took over as president,” he said.

Woodland (pictured), granted life membership of the club in 1995, has been involved with the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club Inc. since 1982 at Glenburnie, first as a steward and now a kennel attendant.

Peckham greyhounds dominate at Sunday’s meeting

Monday, October 29, 2018

Allendale East trainer David Peckham landed his second treble this year when Usain Insane, Kalani Sheldon and Downtown Pixie were successful at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

Usain Insane defeats Brinza (1) and Cryer’s Bob (8) in the Produce Store Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

Currently sitting third in the Ian Badger Leading Trainer award, his previous treble had been on Sunday, July 1 with Bourne Blackjack, Boy George and Usain Insane.

Usain Insane, a son of Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze, took the 512 metre time honours for the day when virtually leading all the way in the Produce Store Stake, defeating Brinza by 2½ lengths in 29.94 seconds.

And Kalani Sheldon, placed at his past three starts, finally broke through for his first win since March when taking out the Williams Crane Hire Stake grade five final (400 m).

Away well from box seven, the son of Cosmic Rumble and three-state winner Vegas Secrets chased former kennelmate Luca Flyer for much of the journey before taking over the running in the home straight, scoring by two lengths in 23.33 seconds.

Kalani Sheldon is raced by the Nineofus Syndicate which includes Peckham along with Ross Schurgott, Steve McGuire, Steve Mason, Mark Quin, Artie Sleeth, Gary Siney, Grant Sterzl and Samantha Sterzl.

Kalani Sheldon wins the Williams Crane Hire grade 5 final at Tara Raceway on Sunday over Luca Flyer and Spirited Bingle (2).

The syndicate has enjoyed previous success with Arolok Jax (now in GAP), the speedy Raz’s Girl, who will soon be retired for breeding, and recent winner Coco Suzy – all trained at Allendale East.

Former Townsville greyhound Downtown Pixie, in Peckham’s kennels since July, brought up her fifth Tara Raceway 400 metre win when leading all the way and scoring a spirited one length win over Blonde Barbados in a best of day 23.00 seconds.

Meanwhile, Robert Halliday’s Molly’s Wally was another one to break a long run of outs after last winning at Tara Raceway in February, when taking advantage of box one to defeat Rusty Sprocket by 2¼ lengths in 30.21 in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m).