WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, February 19 with GRSA. SUNDAY, MARCH 3: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, February 26 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Blitz And Bolt and Cryer’s Jack, after hard-fought victories in the ANZAC Gift and ANZAC 600 at Tara Raceway last Sunday, will clash in this Sunday’s main race, the Adelaide Greyhound Racing Club Cup (512 metres).
The AGRC Cup, for open class greyhounds, is being sponsored by the Adelaide Greyhound Racing Club which is also adding extra prizemoney to all other races on the day.
Owned by Connie Miller, Ross Schurgott and David Peckham and trained by the latter at Allendale East, Blitz And Bolt turned in a big effort to give Peckham his third ANZAC Gift win – Thanks Tubby and Weblec Angel previously being successful.
Blitz And Bolt, although away well from box two, couldn’t match the early pace of the Barry Shepheard owned and trained Galactic Viper, back over the 512 metre journey for the first since early March after a couple of recent smart 400 metre wins.
In fact, after crossing the field from the outside box and taking the lead out of the first turn, Galactic Viper looked to be travelling like a winner as he charged down the back straight with Blitz And Bolt and Hay Miss giving chase.
But turning for home, the Peckham-trained son of Cosmic Rumble x Moonshine Sally was steadily making ground and, despite moving out on the bend, was able to gain the upper hand in a slogging finish to score by a head over the early leader in 30.19 seconds.
The win took Blitz And Bolt’s race record this year to six wins and five minor placings for a tally of 32 points, four clear of second-placed Tipping Woody in the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year.
Prior to the running of the ANZAC Gift, Legacy representative Ron Smith recited the Ode of Remembrance and later gratefully accepted a $1000 donation to the Legacy Lower South East Group presented by Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club committee member Allen Williams on behalf of the club.
Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Cryer’s Jack continued his good form of late to hold on and bring up win number 16 when successful in the inaugural ANZAC 600 (600 m).
Raced by Margaret Cryer and trained by her husband Tom, of Apsley, Cryer’s Jack quickly found the front from box one, ultimately holding out the consistent Tracie Price trained Lyon Rose to win by a neck in a quick 35.48 seconds.
By Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget, Cryer’s Jack now seems to have shaken off the injuries and illness that plagued him for much of last year.
And after drawing box one again he looks well placed in Sunday’s AGRC Cup although Blitz And Bolt hasn’t fared as well, coming up with box six in what looks to be a really good one-off race.
Galactic Viper has drawn box eight again with Shepheard no doubt hoping the four-year-old son of
Velocette x Magic Elite can once again cross the field and give them something to catch.
Leading trainer Nicole Stanley looks to hold a strong hand in the race with box seven runner Hay Miss not losing too many friends with her strong-finishing 2½ length third from the same box behind Blitz And Bolt at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
Stanley also has the 112-start 4½-year-old veteran Old Jock engaged in box three. A recent Masters 400 metre winner in quick time, he went out first course at the Benalla coursing meeting last weekend but could well be re-invigorated by a run behind the drag lure.
QUALITY MAKES UP FOR LACK OF QUANTITY
Sunday’s ClassicBet Mixed Stake (600 m) might have only six runners but it looks like being a keenly-contested affair.
Nicole Stanley’s Stylish Pursuit, who has run a quick 35.35 seconds over the distance, stormed home to be beaten just over a length by Cryer’s Jack and Lyon Rose last Sunday and looks the testing material from box one.
Berry Bling, also trained by Stanley, was a recent 600 metre winner at the track. She comes into the race from box five on the back of a Benalla coursing stake win last Sunday.
The Cap Abbott trained Mo Town Roy, to jump from box four, returns to Tara Raceway with winning Angle Park form after recently leading all the way over 600 metres at the city track.
Tracie Price’s Lyon Rose, after a 512 metre win at last week’s Friday meeting, had no trouble backing up two days later when running Cryer’s Jack to a neck over 600 metres. Not badly drawn in box seven, the nine-race winner rarely runs a bad race.
And Southern Cross trainer Peter Byrne will be hoping Arabella Figg, drawn in box eight, can recapture some of the form that saw her score an easy Tara Raceway 600 metre win at the end of March.
Monday, April 24, 2017
By the time race 12 was run and won at Friday’s first-ever time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway it was pretty obvious that by and large this was a day where an opportunity had been provided for greyhounds of varying abilities.
In other words, greyhounds were placed in races according to their true ability from a speed or time point of view and raced in non-penalty events carrying prizemoney in the vicinity of $410, $165, $125, $100 through to $70 for the fifth to eighth runners.
Good Yarn, a daughter of Cosmic Chief and former Tara Raceway 400 metre record holder Spin A Yarn, lined up from box three in the final race, the ClassicBet Stake (400 m), after not having won a race since last October.
Owned and trained at Penshurst by John Burow, the fawn bitch, who hadn’t run a place at her past eight starts, led all the way and despite using plenty of the track in the home straight equalled her personal best time of 23.47 seconds at what was her fiftieth start.
Earlier in the day, Good Yarn’s lightly-raced litter brother What A Buzz, also owned and trained by Burow, got among the placings for the first time in his six-start career when running third in the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m).
So, for Burow, it was his best day at the track in six months after he picked up close to $600 – and his greyhounds a bit of much-needed form.
Proud Eagle went into the JB Irrigation Maiden Stake (400 m) on the back of five pretty ordinary down-the-line finishes for Tarpeena trainer David Williams who had readily admitted that he didn’t really know what to expect from the 36 kilogram son of El Grand Senor x Chilly Patch.
“I changed his training regime and virtually did nothing with him this week,” Williams said. “So it’s going to be interesting to see how he goes.”
Well, he looks like the sort of dog that would appreciate simply having his food bowl slid under the kennel door – and doing nothing else!
The change of tactics obviously worked. Proud Eagle quickly put paid to early leader – litter brother and kennelmate Grand Eagle – before running away to a 5¾ length win in 24.02 seconds.
Williams was off to a flying start and, with another eight runners to come, by the time the day was over he needed a calculator to work out his greyhounds’ earnings.
It had virtually been 12 months to the day that Cheetah Bay won his maiden at Tara Raceway over 400 metres.
And with only five minor placings since the win, Gerald McKenna, a retired dairy farmer from Koroit, was hoping for a change of luck in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (400 m) with the son of Billy The Sid x Troublemaker Bay.
Raced by McKenna’s wife Carolyn, Cheetah Bay, after settling on the pace, railed through on the home turn before holding out Kappow to win by a head in 23.88 seconds.
In the race prior, the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m), Cheetah Bay’s litter brother Bin Bon Bay finally broke into the placings at start number nine when chasing Summer Raine home in second spot.
Once again, it was a case of the McKenna pair able to find some form via the time-graded format and at the same time reward connections for their effort.
Races four and five were re-drawn earlier in the week after a grading glitch with the result being Portland owner-trainer Brian Weis’s Baurna Sal not only switched races but also went from box one to box eight.
Not that it mattered. Another one looking to regain winning form after an impressive maiden win six months ago, Baurna Sal showed she had finally overcome some tendon issues and easily won the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) in a smart 23.48 seconds.
Such was Westlake Nez’s form that the son of Cosmic Chief and White Butterfly had all but been booked to be relocated to Broken Hill where non-TAB meetings are conducted.
But he may have gained a reprieve after his all-the-way win in The Border Watch Stake (400 m) in the handy time of 23.65 seconds.
Trained since January at Edenhope by Cap Abbott, Westlake Nez’s win was his second in 31 starts, his maiden win coming back in October.
Abbott, who is well known for the distances he clocks up when taking his greyhounds to a variety of tracks, said he drew the line at travelling 700 kilometres to Broken Hill.
So popular was the win of Julaine in the Allestree Holiday Units Stake (400 m) that she was greeted with applause from the Tara Raceway finish line faithful upon returning after the race.
It’s not that the faithful would have backed her, although the $9 would have been nice, it’s just that owner Shane Flink and Hamilton trainer Tony Harding are a couple of the sport’s real “battlers” and rarely miss a meeting at Tara Raceway.
Harding, whose last winner had been Delcorn Potts at Tara Raceway in December, took over the training of Julaine last month after Flink had purchased her from Hamilton owner Bluey Forsyth for half of her next win – her last win coming back in May of last year.
And Flink would have been cheering a long way from home after the daughter of Texas Gold x Swift Blaze always looked to be travelling comfortably out in front.
“That was my first outright win,” the ecstatic owner told the faithful still hanging over the finish line fence.
Harding, in his usual dry style, reckoned Forsyth’s half share would have to come out of Flink’s half of the prizemoney.
But Bluey’s a good bloke. Maybe he can cut a deal seeing this was a time-graded meeting.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
It didn’t take Born Billy long to fall out of favour.
He’s the greyhound who not all that long ago was running 29.84 seconds around the Sandown Park 515 metre circuit and 24.11 seconds at Bendigo over 425 metres.
But by the time Southern Cross trainer Peter Byrne took him over for Warrnambool breeder-owner Noel Mugavin the son of Velocette x Molly Grace had lost form and found himself on occasions warming the bench as a reserve.
However, things finally turned around late last month when Born Billy won his first race in nine months, defeating Miss Pineapple in a 400 metre event at Tara Raceway before following up again at the next meeting with an impressive 512 metre win over Spring’s Over in 30.21 seconds.
Joining Byrne at last Sunday’s meeting was his wife Narelle – over for a day out with the “Byrne Bunch” – Connor, Talor and Tessa.
This was the first time she’d attended a greyhound meeting at Tara Raceway and as it turned out she picked a good day.
Born Billy had raced at Sandown Park over 515 metres the previous Sunday and despite being beaten by 11 lengths Byrne hadn’t been all that disappointed with the effort although last Sunday’s ClassicBet Stake was going to be the first time he’d ever been over the 600 metre journey.
A win here, though, would see him join a relatively small group of greyhounds to have won over the three current distances run at Tara Raceway.
Byrne, who had previously trained the former 600 metre record holder Unsub Andy (35.04 seconds) was confident Born Billy would give his rivals something to chase early but wasn’t too sure how he would handle the extra distance even though his litter brother Silverali (also owned by Mugavin) is a winner at The Meadows over 725 metres.
But those who took the short odds never had any cause for concern, Born Billy ultimately running out a 7¾ length winner in 35.64 seconds.
The win was Byrne’s sixth at Tara Raceway this year which so far has been highlighted by Arabella Figg’s Mount Gambier Cup heat win and subsequent second to Fabregal in the final.
Heavily involved in greyhound racing through his Koroit trial track and breaking-in establishment, Byrne confirmed on Sunday that he would once again sponsor a feature event at Tara Raceway in June with the winner receiving a four-week breaking-in package.
And he’ll be back for Sunday’s ANZAC meeting with Arabella Figg and Born Billy set to clash in an interesting ANZAC 600 Mixed Stake (600 m).
This will be the fourth year the ANZAC meeting – gate takings are donated to Legacy – has been run at Tara Raceway but the first time that a middle-distance feature has been conducted.
Cryer’s Jack, narrowly beaten earlier this month over 600 metres by McIvor Verna, is racing with renewed vigour for Apsley trainer Tom Cryer and with a personal best of 35.40 seconds looks well placed in box one.
The Tracie Price trained Lyon Rose and Nicole Stanley’s Stylish Pursuit also have fast personal best times to their credit while John Cameron’s Fascinated showed plenty of early pace over 650 metres at Warrnambool on Wednesday night.
TRAINER CHASES THIRD ANZAC FEATURE
Allendale East trainer David Peckham will be chasing his third ANZAC 512 metre feature when Blitz And Bolt and Thanks Captain line up in Sunday’s ANZAC Gift.
Blitz And Bolt, currently sharing the Greyhound of the Year lead with Tipping Woody on 28 points, looks well drawn in box two while the enigmatic Thanks Captain – equal second in the GOTY with Stylish Pursuit on 24 points – ran Mojito Mayhem to two lengths when finishing third at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
Peckham won the inaugural ANZAC feature in 2014 with Thanks Tubby while the following year saw Nathan Wilson’s Sunday Shoes successful.
And then last year Ponting’s Nail was first past the post but was later disqualified with the Peckham-trained second placed Weblec Angel subsequently awarded the race.
Peckham also looks to hold a strong hand in the ANZAC Sprint (400 m) with Cosmic Lacey and Raz’s Girl, both drawn awkwardly but racing in good form.
Richard Clayfield’s former 400 metre record holder Slippers Might won the inaugural Sprint prior to Allen Williams’ Bluey Benz and Tracie Price’s Marlow Moment last year.
A new race at this year’s ANZAC meeting is the Ivor Dowdell Memorial, a 400 metre sprint for grade five greyhounds.
Dowdell, still training greyhounds in his nineties, died earlier this year. Born on April 25, 1922, he served in Borneo during World War II.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The win of Fire Eyes in the JB Irrigation Maiden Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway last Sunday continued Coleraine owner-trainer Bob Wombwell’s long and successful involvement in greyhound racing at Mount Gambier.
In fact, his first local winner came back in November 1980 when Dynamic Tarmel was successful in a 289 metre maiden at the original Tara Raceway out at Glenburnie.
Having only his third race start after two previous unplaced efforts, Fire Eyes quickly put himself into Sunday’s race from box seven, running into second spot behind Bushman’s Mate down the back before finishing powerfully in the home straight to defeat the early leader by three-quarters of a length in 30.93 seconds.
Whelped in November 2014, Fire Eyes is by Spring Gun out of Coleraine Flame who won at Horsham for Wombwell prior to him breeding the litter.
And this is a line that goes back to 1991 for Wombwell who in July of that year won a 480 metre maiden at Horsham with a bitch called Silver Daisy in 28.91 seconds.
Silver Daisy, when later mated with Fozrok, produced Silly Heart whose subsequent litter from a mating by Nifti Fire included Swift As Fire.
Swift As Fire, a 33 kilogram bitch, proved to be a handy performer for Wombwell, winning eight races at Horsham, Warrnambool and Mount Gambier before he mated her with Paddy’s Flame – Coleraine Flame being one of the offspring.
Last Sunday’s win was Wombwell’s second this year at Tara Raceway, Red River Rufus previously successful in a Masters event in February.
And he’ll now be hoping the winning run continues into this weekend with Fire Eyes once again drawing box seven when he steps up in grade to contest the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m) at Friday’s meeting. Earlier in the day, litter brother and kennelmate Outlaw Dave will attempt to open his winning account when jumping from box six in the Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 m).
LEADING TRAINER OFF TO BENALLA
Nicole Stanley, currently Tara Raceway’s leading trainer, will make the six-hour trip from Portland to Benalla for this Sunday’s coursing meeting at the racecourse.
At what will be an all-maiden meeting, 12 eight-dog stakes will be run with greyhounds who have not won a coursing stake classed as maidens.
Greyhounds run off in pairs behind a drag lure with each winner advancing to the next round. This means that the finalists in each stake will run three times on the day for prizemoney of $500 and $140.
Speaking earlier this week, Stanley said she was unsure as to what dogs she would nominate although she believed 2016 Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year Old Jock and 2016 SA Country Cup winner Berry Bling would benefit from a freshen-up behind the drag lure.
Stanley has previously enjoyed plenty of success at coursing meetings, winning the Victorian Leading Coursing Trainer award in 2009 and 2010.
TIME-GRADED MEETING HOLDS UP WELL
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s first time-graded meeting, to be run at Tara Raceway on Friday, attracted healthy nominations and 12 races were able to be framed.
For maiden, grade six and grade five greyhounds, all races will be non-penalty and pay Pathway prizemoney which means, for example, the breakdown of a grade five 512 metre event is $415, $170, $130, $105, while the remaining four runners all receive $75.
Not bad prizemoney considering the non-penalty status and the fact that trainers also receive a $60 rebate.
Winners might be a bit tough to come up with although the Peter Franklin trained Chuck McIvor should find the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m) a little easier than some of his recent assignments.
At his most recent start, on April 9 at Tara Raceway, the fawn dog had no luck early in the race won by Chilly Kiss but ran home well to grab third spot. Friday’s grade six affair looks a good race for him.
And the Tracie Price trained Lyon Rose, after a strong-finishing fourth behind Blitz And Bolt earlier this month, should appreciate the drop back to grade five company when jumping from box two in the Berringa Park Stake (512 m).
Monday, April 17, 2017
Moyston greyhound Mojito Mayhem once again displayed his liking for Tara Raceway when defeating a top-class field in the Easter Gift (512 metres) on Sunday afternoon.
Coming into the race on the back of a fourth placing behind Invictus Rapid over 450 metres in a best of night 25.24 seconds at Warrnambool last Tuesday, the Peter Franklin trained chaser was a $2.40 favourite from box seven but looked to be in all sorts of trouble coming into the first turn.
However, by the time the field approached the back straight, Mojito Mayhem had worked to the front and from then on was always going to be hard to run down.
Chasing him home was the Tom Cryer trained Cryer’s Jack who at the previous Tara Raceway meeting had had a great duel with Mojito Mayhem’s kennelmate McIvor Verna in a 600 metre event when also finishing second.
In the end, though, it was Mojito Mayhem who had a length to spare in a time of 30.31 seconds, while Thanks Captain, prominent throughout for trainer David Peckham, was a further 1¾ lengths back in third spot.
By Fear Zafonic x Graceful Amy, the winner is the Tara Raceway cups king with two Anniversary Cups and a Mount Gambier Cup among his 19 wins at the track where he has won much of his $36,000 prizemoney.
Standing in for Franklin – who was working on Sunday – was regular travelling companion John Gale who made the day for Portland nine-year-old Alexandra Filliponi when drawing out her ticket in the Easter raffle.
Young Alexandra, the granddaughter of Brian and Sally Weis of Portland, has been a regular at the track for a number of years.
In fact, it was her persistence that saw the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club source and later install a playground at the complex – now known as “Alexandra’s Playground”.
The forerunner to the Easter Gift was the South Eastern Hotel Feature Grade Five final (512 m) and this was always going to be an interesting race after last week’s two heat winners – Lektra Ash and Ponting’s Nail – appeared to have drawn on the wrong side of the track in boxes two and three respectively.
Once again the pair did use plenty of the track and it was left to the Tracie Price trained Goldie’s Run to work into a forward spot from box eight, then take over the running from Tony Harding’s Saint Elite before finishing well for a 2¾ length win over Maximum Bella while Saint Elite held on for third in 30.60 seconds.
A litter brother to Blitz And Bolt, currently sharing the lead in the local Greyhound of the Year, Goldie’s Run was purchased by young owner Will Kelly – a grandson of local greyhound breeder Bernie Bouchier – late last year.
And, according to Price, he had been more than happy with the son of Cosmic Rumble x Moonshine Sally’s third behind Ponting’s Nail in a heat last week but not so happy with box eight in the $2100 final.
“I thought his heat run was really good but because he’s basically a railer I reckoned he would probably struggle from out wide.
“However, when he ranged up alongside the leader down the back straight I was always pretty confident that he would then be able to go on with the job and that’s how it turned out.”
TRAINER LANDS DOUBLE WITH LITTER BROTHERS
Winners at Tara Raceway on Sunday didn’t come any more impressive than Zuma Creek, trained at Mortlake by Peter Crawley for Purnim dairy farmer Danny Kelly who also bred the son of Fabregas and Skye Creek.
Having his first start at the local track after a win and four minor placings at Warrnambool, the black dog was away only fairly from box two before working to the the lead down the back straight.
And from then on Zuma Creek simply powered away, eventually running out an eight length winner of the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m) over kennelmate Seabrook Noisey and Summer Sprite in a best of day 30.18 seconds.
For Crawley it was the continuation of a successful 15 year association with Kelly.
“I actually trained Skye Creek for Danny,” he said. “She’s by High Earner out of Bogie Skye and was more than handy so when he offered me Zuma Creek and his brother Zorro Creek after breaking-in I was pretty keen to have a go.”
Skye Creek – who has a 16-month-old litter by Magic Sprite to follow – was a winner at Geelong, Warrnambool and Horsham while Bogie Skye was from the same litter as Bogie Dawn, the dam of the Brian Weis trained Big Rough, a winner of two Tara Raceway races and through to a Mixed 6/7 (525 m) $6260-to-the-winner final at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Jumping from box four in the Berringa Park Stake (512 m), Zorro Creek, a winner of two races at Warrnambool, took over the running going into the back straight and never looked like being beaten after that, giving Kelly and Crawley a running double when defeating Bekim Lucy’s by 2¼ lengths in 30.46 seconds.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
Last Sunday’s meeting at Tara Raceway started off pretty well for trainer Kevin Ashton who regularly makes the four hour trip from Charlton to Mount Gambier.
He had Cullquin Nikki engaged in the Metal Worx Stake (400 metres), back after a two-month break from the track although seemingly not all that well suited over the short course – a tote price of $26 suggesting that anyway.
But the brindle bitch was quickly in front from box eight and never looked like being beaten, eventually running out an 8¼ length winner in 23.83 seconds which was one of the quicker runs of the day on the rain-affected track.
Owned at Rushworth by Peter Cullie and Sharon Quinlan, Cullquin Nikki was having only her second start for Ashton, after being well beaten over 600 metres at Tara Raceway in February.
However, some solid galloping at the Bendigo slipping track leading into Sunday’s race obviously paid off with the November 2014 whelping now back over 400 metres again this Sunday before Ashton looks to step her up in distance.
By Nolen out of seven-race winner Shiraz Monelli, Cullquin Nikki’s grand-dam is former outstanding WA chaser Joanne Monelli, who had no trouble handling the 715 metre journey at Cannington, and who won 30 races and $187,000 in prizemoney.
Back to last Sunday’s meeting, and some 40 minutes after Cullquin Nikki’s win, Ashton had been late arriving at the kennel house to retrieve Hurricane Bertha for the Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (600 m).
The greyhound judiciary quickly pounced, charging the flustered trainer under Rule 46(2) which reads in part: “If the handler . . . fails to appear at the kennels within 5 minutes of the appointed time to retrieve the greyhound, the stewards may order the withdrawal of the greyhound and the handler shall be guilty of an offence.”
Well, stewards allowed Hurricane Bertha to run but Ashton copped what seemed to many to be a pretty steep $200 fine.
It’s not the first time this has happened. With varying time frames between races, trainers are often noted hurrying to the kennel house.
And once again it had trainers, who periodically make the trip to race at Strathalbyn, suggesting that Tara Raceway could do well to follow the lead of that club which informs trainers when they are required at the kennel house by the sounding of a siren.
Kevin Ashton can come up with 200 reasons as to why that would be a good move.
TARA RACEWAY REGULARS THROUGH TO FINAL
Tara Raceway regulars will make up half the field of next Wednesday’s $5000-to-the-winner GRV Vic Bred Series 0-6 wins (650 m) final at Warrnambool after the running of two heats on Tuesday.
In the first heat, the Peter Franklin trained McIvor Neville, winner of the Sims Memorial at Tara Raceway earlier this year, after being a distant third down the back straight finished strongly to defeat Lektra Destiny in 37.90 seconds.
Lektra Destiny, owned and trained at Glencoe by Barry Shepheard, turned in a huge run. The 25 kilogram bitch was checked going out of the first turn and found herself last down the back straight before working home solidly to go down by just over a length.
John Cameron’s Fascinated, a best of day 512 metre winner at Tara Raceway last Friday, displayed plenty of early dash in the second heat before finishing third in a personal time of 38.15 seconds.
And the Franklin-trained McIvor Verna, who broke her maiden status when a mixed 600 metre winner at Tara Raceway on Sunday, also grabbed a final spot with a time of 38.22 seconds when making up a stack of ground to finish fourth after looking little chance at one stage of making the cut.
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Lektra Ash and Ponting’s Nail, who made light work of the heavy conditions in last Sunday’s South Eastern Hotel Feature Grade Five Feature heats (512 metres), appear to have drawn unfavourably in Sunday’s $2100 final at Tara Raceway.
Lektra Ash, trained at Tarpeena by David Williams who continues to hold down a spot in the top 10 trainers’ list, was an emphatic heat one winner from box five after finding the front down the back before careering away to an 8¾ length win over reserve runner Travel Ticket in 30.94 seconds.
And Ponting’s Nail, trained at Woolsthorpe by Nifty Lenehan for his sister-in-law Susan Lenehan, was equally as impressive, also from box five, when taking over the running from Sweeney Miss off the back and then finishing strongly to defeat the early leader by 2½ lengths in 30.90 seconds.
For Lektra Ash, it was his third win at Tara Raceway after Allen Williams had purchased him from owner-trainer Phil Lenehan prior to the running of last year’s Winter Classic final in which the black dog finished third to his litter brother Lektra Munster.
Ponting’s Nail’s win broke a long run of outs with the fawn dog last successful at Sandown Park over 595 metres back in June last year.
The heat winners actually emanated from Toolong where they were bred by Phil Lenehan – Lektra Ash, an October 2014 son of Fabregas x Supreme Vision and Ponting’s Nail a September 2013 son of Nitro Burst x Lektra Angel – with Kikiku being the grand-dam of both greyhounds.
Both Lektra Ash and Ponting’s Nail use plenty of the track and that probably worked in their favour last Sunday given the conditions. But the pair has drawn boxes two and three respectively in the final and will need luck early as they look to find the outside running.
Lektra Ash, however, has won from box one although Ponting’s Nail, a winner of close to $30,000, is yet to win from any closer than box four.
Adding further interest to the final will be the inclusion of third and fourth placegetters from the heats – Saint Elite, Maximum Bella, Goldie’s Run and Cilla Brown – with Saint Elite set to get a clear run early from box one and Goldie’s Run likely to be prominent from box eight.
EASTER GIFT ATTRACTS TOP LINE-UP
Multiple Tara Raceway cups winner Mojito Mayhem heads a top line-up taking on Sunday’s Easter Gift (512 m).
A winner of two Anniversary Cups and a Mount Gambier Cup, Mojito Mayhem, who has drawn box seven, last raced at Tara Raceway when running a great third behind Fabregal in this year’s Mount Gambier Cup.
The Peter Franklin trained son of Fear Zafonic x Graceful Amy last week competed at Ballarat (450 m) where he was a good three length third prior to running a 5½ length fourth over 450 metres won in a quick 25.23 seconds at Warrnambool on Tuesday.
SA Country Cup winner Berry Bling, after a couple of more than handy 600 metre efforts for Nicole Stanley, drops back in distance and from box two looks well suited as does the David Peckham trained Thanks Captain out in box eight.
The race includes two Christmas Cup winners – Fear The Rascal (2015) and Glenville Jester who was successful last year.
Fear The Rascal, trained by Tracie Price, continues to race well having defeated Fiorelli Rose over 512 metres last month. Richard Clayfield, however, will be hoping Glenville Jester returns from a break with renewed vigour after being well beaten at his past three starts.
Cryer’s Jack, back among the winners late last month after six months in the wilderness, continues to race well and trainer Tom Cryer will be hoping for a repeat of last year when litter brother Cryer’s Fred was successful in the Easter Gift.
Adding further interest to the race is the Peckham trained box three runner Blitz And Bolt, chasing his third successive win and looking to further increase his Greyhound of the Year lead while Cap Abbott’s red runner Blazin’ Vicky, boasting a personal best time of 29.98 seconds, is well boxed.
FOUR IN A ROW . . . THAT’S THE SPIRIT!
It might only be a grade five 400 metre affair, but the Robert Chuck owned and trained Galactic Spirit will add plenty of interest to Sunday’s race three, the Greyhound-Data.com Stake.
She’s the young bitch by Swift Fancy x Which Class that has won her only three starts – all over 400 metres – and will attempt to continue on her winning way when jumping from box seven.
They don’t win four in a row too often. In fact, Mojito Mayhem was the last greyhound to achieve that feat at Tara Raceway and that was more than 12 months ago.
Galactic Spirit boxed brilliantly in her three all the way wins but will face a class rise on Sunday when taking on a field of seasoned chasers including last weekend winners Dimora Bekim and Cullquin Nikki and noted speedster Raz’s Girl.
Monday, April 10, 2017
It took a while, but consistent greyhounds Bekim Lucy’s, Indi’s Fancy and Jaeda Sienn finally broke through for their first wins when successful at Tara Raceway on Friday.
Bekim Lucy’s, after two thirds and three fourths at her past five starts, looked well placed from box three in the JB Irrigation Maiden Stake (512 metres).
Down the back straight, though, the November 2014 daughter of Bekim Bale and Lucy’s Moment still had plenty of work to do when a distant fourth behind Morris Peer, race favourite Bushman’s Mate and My Dad’s Dream.
But off the back Bekim Lucy’s, having her thirteenth race start, moved out to make her run before finishing strongly in the home straight to defeat Bushman’s Mate and Morris Peer by 2¼ lengths in 30.67 seconds.
The win was the first leg of a double for the litter with Dimora Bekim, trained at Compton by Tracie Price for Kevin and Bernie Bouchier, leading all the way in the Berringa Park Stake (400 m) and clocking 23.28 seconds, well under the Pathway time standard of 23.69 seconds.
Bekim Lucy’s was purchased by Mount Gambier owner-trainer Willie Vossen as a pup from Price, together with litter sister Cee Jay’s Heart, who he races in partnership with Jodie Freeman.
Cee Jay’s Heart won her maiden at Tara Raceway in February, also at her thirteenth start, and rounded off a pretty good day for connections when a strong-finishing second to Rumbling Moment in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m).
With eight minor placings from 11 starts, and box one thrown in for good measure, surely the Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 m) was Indi’s Fancy’s chance to open her winning account for Cashmore trainer Ben Boers.
She had run a distant second behind a pretty smart one in Galactic Spirit – now three from three after another win on Friday – at her previous start but there certainly didn’t appear to be any greyhounds of that calibre in this maiden event.
That’s the way it turned out with Indi’s Fancy virtually leading all the way to defeat first starter Summer Raine by 2½ lengths in 23.85 seconds and give Boers his first winner as a trainer since Lots Of Yap won at Tara Raceway in late November 2015.
By Swift Fancy out of Indi’s My Girl – a winner of three races at Cannington and Mandurah – Indi’s Fancy was a giveaway via the internet site Greyhound-Data.
“Actually, she wasn’t the one I actually rang up about when making original contact,” Boers said. “That one had gone but they did have an unnamed bitch (later to be named Indi’s Fancy) they reckoned was too good for GAP (Greyhound Adoption Program) that I could have if I was interested.”
Jaeda Sienn led all the way from box seven to defeat first-starter Colden Blu Boy by 4½ lengths in 23.58 seconds in the Greyhound-Data.com Maiden Stake (400 m).
By Cosmic Chief out of White Butterfly, Jaeda Sienn is trained at Mumbannar by Monty Wilson who also trained White Butterfly, still a maiden upon retirement after racing on 19 occasions at Horsham and Warrnambool for 11 minor placings.
However, her litter was more than handy and included New Tibur ($79,000 in prizemoney) and Soho Rhythm ($55,000).
And it appeared as though Jaeda Sienn – with four minor placings to her name – was heading down the same path as her dam when she lined up for start number 15 on Friday.
But, according to Wilson, several 512 metre runs had really toughened her up and after finding the front she was always going to be hard to run down.
Jaeda Sienn was actually reared by him and wife Jen on a one-for-one basis with Friday a pretty good day for the Wilsons who also led in three seconds – Bushman’s Mate, Bushman’s Shadow and Kylan Brae.
As a result, Monty Wilson, after Friday’s meeting, had worked his way into the top 10 on the Leading Trainers list. Not bad for a bloke who deals mainly with giveaways.
MAIDEN UPSTAGES SEASONED CHASERS
One of the highlights of Tara Raceway’s wet and windy Sunday meeting was the outstanding effort of maiden performer McIvor Verna in defeating a field of seasoned middle-distance performers in the Trackside Meats Stake (600 m).
Trained at Moyston by Peter Franklin, the beautifully conformed 30 kilogram bitch came into the race with only four starts to her name but on the back of a handy second over 545 metres at Ballarat last week in a 0-4 wins event.
By US sire Bella Infrared out of Blonde Caviar, herself a winner over 600 metres at The Meadows, the rising two-year-old McIvor Verna found herself well back early from box four in Sunday’s mixed stake for grades 3, 4 and 5 greyhounds.
But down the back she had worked into a forward spot behind tearaway leader Brazen Bomber, a winner of three middle-distance races at Tara Raceway, and in what was a terrific home straight battle McIvor Verna was able to hold out Cryer’s Jack and Berry Bling to score by a head.
Further testament to her effort is the fact that 77-start veteran Cryer’s Jack is a winner of four 600 metre races and Berry Bling a last start 600 metre winner.
Speaking after Sunday’s win, Franklin said he was working McIvor Verna up in distance with a view to her eventually running out a strong 700 metres and further.
With that in mind she’s now listed to run from box two in a heat of a GRV Vic Bred 0-6 wins over 650 metres at Warrnambool tomorrow.
Lining up from box one in the same race is Fascinated, owned and trained at Penshurst by John Cameron who was successful with the daughter of Hutmaker and former top local bitch Spellbound in the winningformula.net.au Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway on Friday.
Away well from box five, the diminutive 24 kilogram black bitch took up the running going into the back straight before going on to an easy win – her first since last November – in a best of day 30.33 seconds.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
A recent clean-out of the old green shed at Tara Raceway turned up plenty of rubbish but also some interesting memorabilia – much of it still to be sifted through.
Lying on the top of one of the many boxes in the shed was a dust-covered journal that listed Tara Raceway award winners from the beginning of greyhound racing at Glenburnie in 1979-80 through to the 1986-87 season.
It seems back then that there was an award for pretty well everything – Proud Services Trainer of the Year with Ian Badger Tara Raceway’s first-ever leading trainer followed by Kevin Guthridge (twice), Coralie Allchurch, Connie Miller, John Reid, Peter Black and then Miller again in 1986-87.
Then there was the Proud Services Greyhound of the Year with Plain Bonny the first recipient prior to Tara Topar, Campeador, Endeavour Lee, Versuveus, Kenzel Lad, Kenzel Lad/Reeling Away and then Kenzel Lad again which would have been a fair sort of effort.
There was also a Greyhound of the Year runner-up while Ward Leicester sponsored the Leading Woman Trainer and runner-up and Jim Butchard the Leading Man Trainer and runner-up. Daryl Black was the Owner-Trainer of the Year in 1986-87 and in 1985-86 Allen Williams picked up the Leading Owner award.
Back when there were stud dogs standing locally it was Forest King, Tara Pine and Youthful Prince who figured prominently in the Leading Local Stud Dog while there was also an award for runner-up.
Leading Local Brood Bitch honours went to Miss Lemoss (twice), Happy Hostess, Pine Break and Bianca Sue with runners-up being Peatwood Lass, Cash Supreme, Girl Of Fame and La Fourchette.
It’s worth bearing in mind that back then there were no spreadsheets to record race results in order to keep a running tally of the numerous awards. No, this particular journal listed race results – placegetters, times, margins and trainers – from 1984 through to 1987, all in the hand-written form.
Most certainly there were plenty of blasts from the past when it came to trainers’ names listed in the journal although a few present-day participants to jump out included Miller and Williams, Richard Clayfield, Bob Wombwell and Steve Bartholomew.
And another interesting name to crop up was Jack Casey of Penshurst who was successful in November 1984 with a dog called Calgary in a 479 metre event.
Casey, who no longer trains but is a Tara Raceway regular and has an interest in a couple of greyhounds with Glencoe trainer Barry Shepheard, remembers the dog well.
“He was by Leader’s Jester out of Dinkum Shell and owned at Portland by Graham Cole whom I trained quite a few winners for,” he said.
“I reckon the trainers getting winners at Tara Raceway these days should be thankful that I’m no longer hands-on,” he joked.
Meanwhile, Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, after a couple of big meetings, has once again shot away in the male-dominated 2017 Leading Trainer award and with 172 points (32, 15, 14) leads Tracie Price on 141 (23, 18, 13) and David Peckham 140 (21, 20, 16).
Blitz And Bolt, a handy $1200 pick-up for Miller, Peckham and Ross Schurgott, leads the Greyhound of the Year on 24 points (4, 3, 2), one clear of kennelmate Thanks Captain (4, 3, 1) with Tipping Woody sitting in third spot on 22 (3, 3, 4).
However, Blitz And Bolt’s lead could be short-lived with connections now looking at placing the dog in Adelaide.
Briefly, back to that 1984-87 dusty journal that also had a race programme from December 14, 1985 slotted among its many pages.
No 12 races at Tara Raceway back then, only eight, with the prizemoney breakdown being $60, $20, $10. Trainers, these days, pick up $60 just for driving through the gates on a race day.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Local greyhound syndicate, the Southern Bar Boys – comprising Don Gordon, Diesel and Ward Leicester, Rohan Von Stanke and Dion Pannenburg – can’t take the grin off their faces after Print The Money ran second in a Launching Pad heat at Sandown Park last Thursday night and then drew box one in a $14,500 semi-final tomorrow night.
Now, Print The Money will need to run first or second tomorrow night to make it through to next week’s $210,000 Group 2 final which boasts a prizemoney breakdown of $150,000, $40,000 and $20,000.
This is a story that goes back to late 2008 when the syndicate purchased a fawn pup by Bombastic Shiraz x Bar Crusher from Riverland panel beater Bruce Lellmann.
The pup would later be named Red Lesta, subsequently racing on 120 occasions for 22 wins, 34 minor placings and more than $55,000 in prizemoney.
And it seems the Southern Bar Boys were right on the money with this litter – Handsome Shiraz and Honky Tonk Girl both winning 16 races and Stack ‘Em Flat 36.
Speaking on behalf of the syndicate, Gordon said this week that Red Lesta had been unable to attract bitches after retiring and standing at stud.
“I know the stud dog business is a tough gig but we’d been hopeful of attracting a few bitches in order that he could get a few pups on the ground,” he said.
“In the end we decided to purchase a brood bitch of our own and breed a litter by Red Lesta. As luck would have it, Noel Miller, a good friend of ours, stepped in before we did anything silly.”
Miller, well known in local greyhound racing circles for many years, had a bitch called Rellim Lilly who he said the syndicate could use. By Bekim Bale x Rellim Rosie, she had shown ability but was never going to race due to injury.
So, taking heed of some literature written by leading breeder Paul Wheeler, together with the experience of Miller, the Southern Bar Boys set about breeding a litter. Mind you, Gordon is the first to admit that he did have some misgivings.
“To be honest,” he said, “we were just mugs having a go.”
In June 2015 Rellim Lilly whelped a litter of three dogs and three bitches, the syndicate keeping two black dogs to be reared by Ward Leicester at Burrungule while Miller also took a black dog.
Gordon said their two dogs – later to race as Print The Money and Don Lesta – had performed well when sent to Victoria for breaking-in and pre-training with the result that well-known Victorian trainers John Magri and his wife Michelle Mallia-Magri, of Avalon, took over their preparation.
Gordon recalled that Print The Money had always had what appeared to be a thumb print between his eyes and as he had always been called Print that’s how his racing name came about.
Print The Money has now won two races and run five minor placings from eight starts while Don Lesta has had 10 starts for three wins and five minor placings. Miller’s dog, now racing as Rellim Diesel, is based in Adelaide and won at Angle Park last month.
The Launching Pad – which carries $410,000 in prizemoney over a three-week period – is for greyhounds with one to six wins and no more than 30 starts. The series also requires an entry fee of $2000 which Don Lesta actually paid for with a couple of his wins.
“This was the series that Michelle was particularly keen for Print The Money to have a crack at,” Gordon said. “It’s certainly exciting times for us as we prepare to blast off.”
Meanwhile, lining up in box seven in the same heat tomorrow night is another exciting youngster in Jimmy Newob who has won his past six starts – five of them at Sandown Park.
The son of Cosmic Rumble and Wentworth Park winner Nosey Rozy is trained at Red Cliffs in Victoria by long-time participant Barry Fullerton for the Newob Syndicate.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Fullerton was at Glenburnie where he won the 1983 Mount Gambier Cup with Magic Fame, a daughter of the imported Magic Typhoon and prolific producer Riverland Belle.