WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 23 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, JANUARY 27: Nominations closed. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, January 29 with GRSA. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Friday, February 1 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club will be hoping for a boost in numbers for this year’s Banjo Boy Winter Classic.
To be run over 512 metres, heats of the classic for all dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2014 will be conducted tomorrow week (Friday, August 12) with the $3000 final (which includes a service to Group winner Banjo Boy) on Sunday, August 21.
This will be the third running of the age-restricted classic with the club in the past having struggled to attract sufficient nominations to make up the required minimum of two heats.
However, there does appear to be sufficient youngsters of the right age around this year with hopefully many of them in the mix when nominations close on Monday morning.
Toolong breeder-owner-trainer Phil Lenehan said this week he expected to be nominating several of his October 2014 Fabregas x Supreme Vision litter which includes Lektra Ash, a winner on debut over 512 metres in a handy 30.57 seconds at Tara Raceway last Friday.
But, according to Lenehan, Lektra Ash’s appearance in the classic will hinge on his performance in a Mixed 6/7 heat (515 m) at Sandown Park on Sunday afternoon.
“He’s drawn box two and will have to run in the first two to make it through to the following Thursday night’s $6260-to-the-winner final at Sandown.
“It’s good money for a low-grade race but it will be a fair step up in class for him. If he doesn’t qualify on Sunday then he will line up alongside some of his littermates in next Friday’s Winter Classic heats.”
Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, who continued on her winning way when Col’s Wallett was successful at Horsham on Tuesday night, said she had the classic earmarked with August 2014 Bekim Bale x Miss Stackhouse litter sisters Hay Miss and Ashdene Lass, both recent 512 metre Tara Raceway winners.
And Andy Graham, also of Portland, said he was looking at the classic with members of his October 2014 Cosmic Chief x Cee Anna Rose (a winner of two races at The Meadows) litter which includes recent Tara Raceway winner Breakwater Bay.
David and Allen Williams, of Tarpeena, have also intimated that they will be nominating August 2014 youngsters from the litter by El Grand Senor out of former versatile chaser Chilly Patch.
Penshurst owner-trainer John Burow was well rewarded for his two trips to Mount Gambier last weekend when Good Yarn was successful at Tara Raceway on Friday and her litter sister Vaudeville at the Sunday meeting.
They’re by Cosmic Chief out of former 400 metre Tara Raceway record holder Spin A Yarn, a daughter of Talk’s Cheap and Hi Hopes Barbie which won 13 races and ran 33 minor placings in a 97-start career for Burow.
The sisters seem to make a habit of winning at big odds with Good Yarn a $19 chance on interstate markets, although much shorter locally, and there had been plenty of $19 on offer Australia-wide for Vaudeville.
Back in February, Good Yarn won her maiden at Ballarat at odds of $60 while Vaudeville was a $23 chance when successful in a Tara Raceway maiden in May.
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Long-time Southern Cross greyhound trainer Garry Elliott, who first raced at Tara Raceway in June this year, is probably now wishing he’d made the trip over to the Mount Gambier track somewhat earlier.
This follows the success he is enjoying with half-sisters Kirsty’s Me Mum and Lucky Holly which are out of five-race Sandown Park winner Mepunga Kirsty.
Bred by neighbour Peter Byrne, who runs the Koroit trial track, Kirsty’s Me Mum is by Magic Sprite and Lucky Holly by Fabregas, with Elliott also in possession of a pup from an 11-month-old third litter by Cosmic Rumble.
Kirsty’s Me Mum presented Elliott with his first Tara Raceway winner when turning in an impressive front-running exhibition to win over 600 metres last month before backing up three weeks later with a strong-finishing 512 metre win.
And in a maiden heat (400 m) at last Friday’s meeting, Lucky Holly raced into this Sunday’s final with a dashing win over Jam Lady and Tally Ho Jack.
Having her second run at the track, the August 2014 black bitch led Jam Lady for much of the race, eventually scoring by 3¾ lengths in 23.55 seconds – easily the quickest of the three heats.
Following the box draw for Sunday, Elliott’s winning run could well continue with Lucky Holly looking well suited in box eight.
One of the hardest to beat looks to be box one runner Herbilly which is trained 10 kilometres down the road from Southern Cross at Woolsthorpe by Nifty Lenehan.
Having her first race start on the track, and only her third overall, the daughter of Kinloch Brae and Obama’s Girl ran home strongly to qualify for the final with a head second to the Andy Graham trained Rebel Bay in 23.88 seconds.
BUSY TIME FOR PRICE
Leading trainer Tracie Price, of Compton, will be chasing his second successive grade five 400 metre final win on Sunday when fastest heat winner Grimsby Girl lines up from box three in the Berringa Park Stake.
But Price has a couple of busy days leading up to Tara Raceway’s meeting, with dogs engaged at Strathalbyn on Friday and Warrnambool on Saturday.
He’ll hit the highway on Friday with I’m Hearing Ya, Smirnoff Lass, Lektra Boots, Lyon Rose and Real Moment (last month’s grade five final winner) before border-hopping with last weekend’s Tara Raceway winners Fear The Rascal and Skatey Perry.
Grimsby Girl, a finalist in this year’s Mount Gambier Cup (512 m), quickly found the front from box four in last Sunday’s heat and did a good job to hold off a determined Galactic Tsunami to win by a half length in 23.31 seconds, the quickest of the four heats.
Galactic Tsunami, which looks to be well drawn in box two on Sunday for trainer Steve Bartholomew Jnr, was having his first run for a couple of months and should be improved by his heat run.
Cousin Ann, which shook off injury and illness to impressively win the first heat for Allendale East trainer David Peckham, has drawn box five in the final.
Having her fifth run back after the enforced lay-off, the daughter of Cape Hawke and High Class Love led all the way from box four, stopping the clock in 23.33 seconds when winning by 6¼ lengths over Galactic Viper which ran second to Real Moment in last month’s final.
The David Williams trained Peter Benz won his first race this year and his first over the 400 metre journey when leading all the way in the final heat from box one, just hanging on by a neck over Miss Freelove which gave Price his second finalist.
Peter Benz, which has drawn box one again on Sunday, clocked a handy 23.47 seconds and is another likely to be better for the run after being off the scene for six weeks.
RETIREMENT ON HOLD
Cheap As is another one to stave off retirement as a result of the introduction of Pathway racing – non-penalty events for greyhounds that have run outside nominated time standards – at Tara Raceway.
Raced by Peter Angeloni’s Nine Darter Syndicate, Cheap As hadn’t won a race in almost 12 months (at Strathalbyn) when she lined up from box one in last Friday’s Pathway race over 400 metres.
And Sandford trainer Brad Mitchem had more or less resigned himself to the fact that this would be her last run with the daughter of Talk’s Cheap and Boom Boom Shiraz returning to her owners in Victoria.
But the black bitch had other ideas, chasing Lika Rockstar into the home straight before finishing strongly to score by three-quarters of a length in 23.77 seconds.
With Cheap As having raced as light as 20.9 kilograms – 22 kilograms last Friday – it could be said that she was punching well above her weight.
But in this case the old adage once again rang true – they’re always big enough if they’re good enough.
Cheap As now returns to Strathalbyn on Friday before backing up again on Sunday at Tara Raceway from box five in the Allestree Holiday Units Stake (400 m).
Monday, August 1, 2016
A win by $34 chance Carrara Lad in a heat of Sunday’s feature grade five (400 metres) was the culmination of a successful weekend for long-time Charlton trainer Kevin Ashton.
Earlier in the day he had won with Johnny Jaffa while at the Friday meeting another roughie in Ollie Aztec had given Ashton his first winner at Tara Raceway since January when the Ed Kowalewski owned Harry Aztec was successful.
Jumping from box two in the ClassicBet Stake (400 m), which was the third heat of a feature maiden series (400 m), Ollie Aztec took over the running mid-race from Raz’s Girl and subsequently held her out to win by 2¼ lengths in 23.84 seconds.
By Full Circle – which won a race at Tara Raceway a couple of years ago when trained by David Peckham – the black October 2014 youngster, also raced by Kowalewski, is out of Prince’s Faye which makes him a half-brother to Harry Aztec.
Ashton has also enjoyed success on the track with Harry Aztec’s sister Saintly Miss and now plans to mate her with Dyna Double One.
Johnny Jaffa, relegated to the bench at Friday’s meeting, took full advantage of box one in the Klaassens Contractors Open Maiden (400 m) on Sunday when an easy 5¼ length winner in 23.69 seconds.
Owned at Echuca by John Accurso, the September 2014 son of Dyna Steal and Negated (a winner over 600 metres at The Meadows), which was having only his fourth race start, has been with Ashton for two months and is the first time the owner and trainer have combined for success.
The Trevor Catt owned Carrara Lad was looking for his first win since last September when he jumped from box eight in the Allestree Holiday Units heat.
Now well and truly eligible for Masters events, the July 2012 son of Mantra Lad and Dadda Poppa led his rivals a merry dance early before holding out a determined Blazin’ Vicky to score by a length in 23.53 seconds.
PLENTY OF HIGHLIGHTS
It was also a good weekend for Toolong owner-trainer Phil Lenehan’s Fabregas x Supreme Vision litter with first starter Lektra Ash using plenty of the track but looking pretty good in his maiden 512 metre win on Friday.
But that effort paled into insignificance after his brother, a big black 36 kilogram dog going by the name of Lektra Utah, made a mess of the South Eastern Hotel Stake grade six field (512 m) on Sunday.
Having only his second race start, after winning on debut at Horsham over 480 metres in 27.46 seconds, Lektra Utah ran out an 11¼ length winner in 29.90 seconds.
And in the following race, the ClassicBet Mixed Stake (512 m), how good was Cryer’s Fred when bringing up his 28th Tara Raceway win by 8¼ lengths in a best of day 29.77 seconds for Tom and Margaret Cryer.
Ralph Patzel, following the success of Supreme Deal (Lektra Utah’s half-brother), looks to have another handy middle-distance type in Roarsome.
Roarsome, a daughter of Fear Zafonic and Ren Shen, quickly found the front in the Metal Worx Mixed Stake (600 m) before scoring by 4¼ lengths in a more than handy 35.37 seconds.
Sunday’s win was her sixth (over three distances) at Tara Raceway since joining Patzel’s Mount Gambier kennels in May.
The Tracie Price trained Fear The Rascal maintained his outstanding 400 metre record – now five wins from six starts – when too good in the four-dog The Border Watch Stake in a best of day 23.09 seconds.
The win completed a top couple of days for Price who was successful on Friday with Skatey Perry and Real Moment while Grimsby Girl won earlier over 400 metres on Sunday.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
Ray Fewings, who owned his first greyhound at 13, has crammed a fair bit into his 70-odd years.
He was around long before mechanical lure racing was legalised in SA. That was when greyhounds chased a pilot dog around a tight one-bend little track out at Waterloo Corner in Adelaide’s north on a Sunday afternoon.
Fine, of course, until the pilot dog – a greyhound trained to basically chase nothing – decided to pull up before the end of the race.
Then there was the totally illegal bookmaker operating from the boot of his car and offering even money about all of the eight runners.
Fewings, who has been a journalist, race caller, footy caller, auctioneer, radio talk-back host, on-track presenter, harness racing trainer and driver, and run a TAB agency, these days calls the odd race meeting and trains a few greyhounds at Williamstown, a small town situated 50 kilometres north-east of Adelaide.
And while he’d called occasional race meetings at Tara Raceway he was in Mount Gambier for Friday’s fixture with a four-dog team led by the well-credentialled Don’t Kid Me, a winner of nine races from 28 starts.
An odds-on favourite in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 metres), despite drawing box six and having his first run on the track, the black dog displayed good field sense to put himself in a forward position down the back before rounding up Galactic Dragon turning for home.
On the line Don’t Kid Me – Fewings’s first Tara Raceway winner – had 3¾ lengths to spare over Galactic Dragon, which turned in another good effort for trainer Barry Shepheard.
The winning time of 30.22 seconds was more than handy and was bettered only by a 30.18 seconds gallop in the Produce Store Mixed Stake from Supreme Deal which completed a good few days for local trainer Ralph Patzel after winning the Lewis Memorial (600 m) at last Sunday’s meeting.
By Lochinvar Marlow, Don’t Kid Me is out of the Premier Fantasy bitch Clinga, a winner at Wentworth Park and Angle Park, with Fewings purchasing him as a three-month-old pup.
“The litter was actually reared at Williamstown and while they were all black, one of the pups just stood out to me. As it turned out, he would later race as Don’t Kid Me,” he said.
“While he’s a handy dog in Adelaide, I’d probably rate him a couple of grades under the better city performers although overall the litter hasn’t finished up too badly with Lochling, trained by Don Turner, winning at Angle Park on Thursday night.”
Castletownroche was a $5 chance when he lined up from box one in the Allestree Holiday Units Stake (400 m). This was a far cry from the previous week when he had won at Gawler at the massive odds of $51.
“He’s a slow dog that does everything right,” was how Fewings assessed the 38 kilogram Castletownroche.
Well, the black dog did everything right on Friday, leading all the way to defeat Port Side by a couple of lengths in 23.88 seconds.
Bred and reared at Williamstown, he’s by Where’s Pancho, a former top SA chaser that won 47 races and close to $100,000 in stakemoney, out of seven-race Townsville winner Bell’s Gem.
Despite being a rising three-year-old, Castletownroche has raced on only 11 occasions with his owner-trainer putting that down to the number of times he’s been retired and then brought back to the racing kennels when a vacancy occurred.
So it was a Tara Raceway double for Fewings, who all those years ago trained his first greyhound and called his first race at the little Waterloo Corner one-bend track that was a forerunner to greyhound racing in SA as we know it today
Fewings has trained doubles before although he’s not too sure when and where.
“All I know is there haven’t been enough.”
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Melbourne greyhound trainer Malcolm Davis is hoping White Spyro will be able to win in all states before she ends her racing career.
The white and black daughter of Disintergrate and the unraced Hanify’s Elite is trained at Barham in the western Riverina district of NSW by Craig Davis, with much of the travelling left to his father.
And Malcolm Davis was able to cross another state off the list after White Spyro won at Mount Gambier’s Tara Raceway last Sunday.
An odds-on favourite in the Produce Store Stake (400 metres), she quickly found the front from box eight before going onto an easy five length victory in 23.68 seconds.
Actually, a fortnight earlier and a thousand kilometres away, Davis had also been able to cross off a territory when White Spyro won over 310 metres in Canberra.
Sunday was his first time at Tara Raceway and the well-travelled, long-time trainer was lavish in his praise of the track, its facilities and its participants.
White Spyro now needs success in WA and Queensland after also having won in Hobart, Temora, Wagga, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Shepparton, Bendigo, The Meadows, Horsham, Healesville and Sale.
Now four years old, she’s been a terrific little money-spinner for the father and son team, having raced on 72 occasions for 22 wins, 28 minor placings and more than $60,000 in stakemoney.
White Spyro, which whelped a litter of four dogs and three bitches to Magic Sprite in January this year, has won three races since returning to the track in May.
“It just goes to show that if the desire is there then they’re able to win races after a litter,” Davis said. “I’m now looking forward to being able to travel the countryside with some of her pups.”
BACK AMONG THE WINNERS
Local owners Geoff Ward, Robert Stafford and Kevin Jones were back among the winners at Tara Raceway last Sunday when Galactic Dragon scored a first-up win in the Metal Worx Stake (400 m).
Having his first run back after a three-month spell, the sizeable 38 kilogram chaser was third early before railing hard and holding out Vee Bee Mee to win by a half length in 23.64 seconds.
For Ward and Stafford, a Tara Raceway regular, the success was their first since Piper’s Pick won at the local track in late 2014 while it had been 12 months since Arbour Sophie won for Jones, a valued track volunteer.
Both Piper’s Pick and Arbour Sophie had been trained at Glencoe by Barry Shepheard who is also a part-owner and the trainer of Galactic Dragon.
By Fabregas out of Magic Elite’s last litter, Galactic Dragon is a half-brother to Galactic Viper which has won five races at Tara Raceway this year for Moorak owner Robert Chuck and Shepheard.
The purchase of Galactic Dragon came about several months ago when Chuck was looking to shift some performed greyhounds in order to make room for younger stock that he had coming on.
The trio, keen to be involved again, teamed up with Shepheard and took over the ownership of the black dog for $1200 – money well spent judging by the owners’ reactions to last Sunday’s win.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
The smart win of Hay Miss in the John Reid Memorial (512 metres) at Tara Raceway last Sunday was Portland greyhound trainer Nicole Stanley’s second success in the time-honoured maiden feature.
Having her third start for Stanley, who took over the black bitch last month from leading Victorian trainer Angela Langton, Hay Miss led all the way from box five to record a four length win over Saint Fox in 30.53 seconds on a rain-affected track.
Saint Fox, trained by Ray Mahony, was having only her second race start and looks to be a coming winner while Paul Teuma’s Ashanti Alinga, which had no luck mid-race, ran home well from a long way back to grab third spot.
Hay Miss, which is by Bekim Bale out of Miss Stackhouse – a winner of 18 races including Sandown Park, The Meadows and Angle Park – was the first leg of a litter double for Stanley with Ashdene Lass later leading all the way in the ClassicBet Stake (512 m).
Stanley, 46, who continues to have her best year ever at Tara Raceway, sits in second spot behind Tracie Price on the leading trainers’ table with 40 winners.
Another litter double followed for her on Tuesday when Col’s Wallett (Nolen x African Wave) scored a seven length win in a maiden heat over 410 metres at Horsham and Rowchester Star won the last.
Hay Miss’s memorial win came two years after Eylandt Princess was successful for Stanley, with members of the Reid family on course to witness Sunday’s 12th running of the event.
Meanwhile, Hay Miss and Ashdene Lass will now be set for the forthcoming Banjo Boy Winter Classic (512 m), heats of which will be run at Tara Raceway on Friday, August 12 as a lead-up to the $3000 final on Sunday, August 21.
Whelped in August 2014, the litter sisters are an ideal age for the classic which is for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2014.
Also likely to tackle the classic is fellow Portland trainer Andy Graham’s Breakwater Bay which led all the way in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 m) last Sunday at his first race start.
An October 2014 whelping, the fawn dog, which clocked 23.50 seconds, is by Cosmic Chief out of Graham’s former smart bitch Cee Anna Rose which won six races from only 18 starts.
After a long absence, Warrnambool owner-trainer Norm McCullagh, of Bold Trease fame, was back at Tara Raceway last weekend.
In fact, the last time McCullagh had been at the local track was back in 2004 when he won the Mount Gambier Cup with Bay Rhode.
Sunday’s winner was Ella Rhode which scored an easy all the way win in the Premier Boloney Stake (400 m) in 23.58 seconds.
By Jarvis Bale out of 20-race winner Ella Allen, the fawn bitch was purchased as a three-month-old pup and has now won four races from 18 starts.
Bold Trease, or the Warrnambool warrior as he was often referred to, won 51 races and recorded 34 minor placings from 104 starts in a career that was highlighted by four consecutive Sandown Cups between 1986-1989.
Monday, July 25, 2016
Mojito Mayhem and Cryer’s Fred, two of the better greyhounds to race at Tara Raceway over the past 18 months, really turned it on for the large crowd who braved ordinary weather conditions at Sunday afternoon’s Anniversary Cup meeting.
Lining up from boxes one and eight respectively in what was a top cup final, the Peter Franklin trained Mojito Mayhem found the front going out of the first turn with Cryer’s Fred having worked into a close-up second and applying the pressure as the field raced into the back straight.
The Tom Cryer trained Cryer’s Fred gave it his all, certainly keeping the leader honest throughout, but Mojito Mayhem was never headed from that point on, eventually recording a history-making win by 1¼ lengths in a best of day 30.38 seconds for the 512 metre journey.
History-making insomuch that he became the first greyhound in 19 years to win back-to-back Anniversary Cups at the Lake Terrace East venue.
For Cryer, it was yet another second placing in the Anniversary Cup after Cryer’s Fred’s dam, Cryer’s Midget, had run second to White Arrow in 2012 and Cryer’s Tiger, after winning the event in 2010, was runner-up in 2011 behind Glenville Maggie.
The 62-year-old Moyston-based Franklin rates Mojito Mayhem, a winner of 18 races from 61 starts, as one of the better greyhounds he has trained in an involvement that spans more than 40 years.
However, like most greyhound trainers, he still has fond memories of his first winner way back in 1969.
“For sure, I still remember my first winner. It was with a give away called Judda’s Girl. She went on to win five races and from then on I was hooked.
“And then in the mid 70s I trained a dog called Fingers Frolic which turned out to be a top drag lure coursing performer as well as winning 10 races in succession at Horsham.”
Following a break from the sport due to family commitments, Franklin would later team up with Bendigo builder Barry Priest and race Blonde Caviar with plenty of success before she later whelped to US sire Bella Infrared.
Then followed Ireland’s Oyster, a former 400 metre Tara Raceway record holder and a dog that Franklin believed could have been his best if not for a series of injuries.
Priest later purchased two three-month-old pups by Fear Zafonic out of Graceful Amy which would ultimately go around as Mojito Mayhem and 12-race winner Future Past.
Sunday’s success was Mojito Mayhem’s second major win at Tara Raceway this year with the beautifully-conformed black dog successful in March in the ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup, a race that his trainer now has firmly in his sights for next year.
“We’ll certainly be striving to win back-to-back Mount Gambier Cups as well – and that’s certainly not just a throwaway line,” Franklin said.
“I really enjoy coming over here to race as does John Gale (of Stawell) who generally makes the trip with me. John’s been involved in the sport for as long as I have and as such is a great help when we bring dogs to Mount Gambier.
“As the presentation was cut short due to the inclement weather, I would like to say how proud I was to have again won the Anniversary Cup – it was a great honour.”
That also, was no Franklin throwaway line.
Elbow Room, which finished a further 3¾ lengths back in third position for Warracknabeal trainer Ian Bibby, also ran a top race.
Last early and forced wide on the first turn, Elbow Room displayed plenty of determination when making up many lengths on what was a leader’s track.
THE REAL DEAL
The third running of the Eric Lewis Memorial (600 m) resulted in Supreme Deal being the first locally owned and trained winner of the middle-distance event.
And the win was certainly special for first-time owner Bob White who races the fawn son of Where’s Pedro and Supreme Vision in partnership with Amanda Darmanin, Darryl Patzel and Ralph Patzel, who also trains the winner.
One of the outsiders in what was a pretty handy field, Supreme Deal was fairly away from box three but once finding the fence and railing through on Dee Tee to take the lead going into the back straight he was always going to be hard to run down.
Race favourite Old Jock gave chase but was unable to haul in the leader, eventually going down by a neck with Dee Tee hanging on for third in a near race-record time of 35.61 seconds.
A Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club life member, Ralph Patzel described Sunday’s win as one of his most satisfying since winning the 1997 Mount Gambier Cup with Ashanti Gem.
The race is run in honour of Eric Lewis, an inaugural committee member of the South East Greyhound Racing Club back in the early 70s, with Patzel having been involved with him through both pigeon and greyhound racing.
In fact, at the South East Greyhound Racing Club’s gala opening day (non-betting) at Glenburnie on Sunday, June 24, 1979, the Patzel-trained Fairbank Tiger ran second to Lewis’s Kori Amore in the Arnotts Spillers Distance Stake (667 m).
And it was only through an annoying habit that Supreme Deal had developed that saw the dog find his way to Mount Gambier.
“He’d been doing most of his racing in Victoria where they were racing into a catching pen,” Patzel said. “With the lure being shot away from the field once the dogs hit the finish line Supreme Deal had got into the habit of jumping the running rail once the race was over.
“Apparently stewards got a bit sick of this and as a result we were offered the dog as a give away with the theory being that he would be better suited behind the finish-on-lure at Tara Raceway.
“Bob and Darryl had been looking for a greyhound to race and Supreme Deal, which had already won eight races, really made the day something special for us all.”
On course to make the presentation were Eric Lewis’s daughter Karen and her husband Kevin Norman, suitably impressed with his first visit to Tara Raceway, and who recalled that “some years ago” he went to school with Patzel.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
When 600 metre racing was introduced at Tara Raceway a couple of years ago, Coonawarra owner Dale Lewis approached the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club regarding the running of an annual memorial race in honour of his father Eric.
Lewis snr., a great supporter of distance racing, had retired from training in 1986 after enjoying much success with his “Kori” greyhounds.
But his involvement in the sport went back to long before the first race meeting was conducted at Glenburnie 37 years ago.
It was in fact back in September 1972 when a public meeting was held at the Mount Gambier City Hall that Lewis formed part of the initial SE Greyhound Racing Club committee prior to serving as president of the club between 1973 and 1975.
Fast forward to 2014 and the inaugural Eric Lewis Memorial was run and won by the Robert Britton trained Zipping Basil which defeated Group winner Mimicking in 35.60 seconds.
And last year Kevin Ashton’s Harry Aztec scored a three length win over Miss Jacovella (later to hold the 600 metre record) in 35.85 seconds.
As luck (or bad luck) would have it, Glenville Jester, which Dale Lewis races with Richard and Kevin Clayfield, failed last Friday to qualify for the Anniversary Cup final.
Trainer Richard Clayfield had, prior to last week’s meeting, been tossing up whether to tackle the cup or the memorial. Ultimately, though, he’s still able to contest the 600 metre feature after it was programmed as a one-off race for Sunday when there were insufficient nominations for two heats.
The Lewis-Clayfield association goes back to May 1986, after Eric Lewis had hung up the collar and lead, with the pair combining to race Kori Special and Kori Terrace, which was later mated with SA sire Trevenson.
They have now raced “Glenwarra” and “Glenville” greyhounds continuously for 30 years.
And Lewis looks some chance of sharing in the spoils of his own race on Sunday as Glenville Jester, a proven middle-distance performer at Tara Raceway, has won four races over 600 metres with a personal best of 35.32 seconds.
SHOWING HIS MIGHT
Compton trainer Tracie Price will need a scratching for his Christmas Cup winner Fear The Rascal to gain a start in Sunday’s Anniversary Cup final.
The son of Fear Zafonic and Shannah’s Star narrowly missed out on a finals berth after running third in a heat behind Galactic Viper at last Friday’s meeting.
But Mingbool owner Don Nunn and Price would have been more than happy with Fear The Rascal’s brother Shannah’s Might and the effort he put in to win the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m).
After an ordinary start from box five, the 36 kilogram black dog found the front going into the back straight before powering away to an easy win in 30.06 seconds – a time that would have seen him breeze into the Anniversary Cup final.
A winner of 10 races from only 24 starts, due to an injury-interrupted career, Shannah’s Might will add further interest to Sunday’s meeting when he takes on a smart field from box one in the South Eastern Hotel Open Stake (512 m).
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Moyston greyhound Mojito Mayhem has come a fair way since winning a maiden 400 metre event in 23.14 seconds at Tara Raceway back in October 2014.
Now, almost two years later the son of Fear Zafonic and Graceful Amy lines up in Sunday’s Anniversary Cup final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway with the impressive record of 17 wins and 17 minor placings from 60 starts for prizemoney of almost $29,000.
And after defeating Shannah’s Might and Abbey’s Hand in the 2015 cup in race record time of 29.99 seconds, Mojito Mayhem will be out to become the first greyhound to win two Anniversary Cups at the Lake Terrace East venue.
Owned by Barry Priest and trained by Peter Franklin, the black dog will also be attempting to become the first greyhound since Terry Scanlon’s Ripin Ruby in 2005 to win the Mount Gambier Cup and the Anniversary Cup in the same year.
Mojito Mayhem looks to be on track to run another big race in a Mount Gambier feature event after running the quickest of the three heats last Friday – 29.88 seconds.
Drawn in box six, he found the front going into the back straight and after opening up a three length break on the Tom Cryer trained 30-race winner Cryer’s Fred – equal fourth when favourite in last year’s Anniversary Cup – withstood a home straight challenge to win by three-quarters of a length.
Elbow Room, first up in almost two months and having his first run on the track for Warracknabeal trainer Ian Bibby, ran third and also made it through to the final.
The big black son of College Causeway and Lavana has won 11 races and $30,000 in prizemoney and worked home quite well in his heat after looking lost early.
Bibby, who is the Horsham Greyhound Racing Club president, has enjoyed a long and colourful sporting career in the district, playing in the Warracknabeal football team that defeated Stawell in the 1966 premiership.
He also enjoyed a successful involvement in harness racing before switching to the dishlickers with many of them carrying the Crymelon prefix. In 2013 Bibby ran a two length fourth in the Mount Gambier Cup behind Colville with Crymelon Talon.
The Anniversary Cup heats got off to a sensational start when the well-fancied pair Fiorelli Rose and Sunday Shoes failed to make it through to the final after mishaps in running.
Taking advantage of the situation was the Franklin-trained Future Past (Mojito Mayhem’s litter brother), which looked set to win his first race since late January after opening up a big break down the back straight.
But Cryer’s Fred’s brother and kennel mate, Cryer’s Jack, put in the big strides in the home straight before gaining the nod by a nostril in a deceptive finish in a time of 30.05 seconds while Lyon Rose also made it through to the final for trainer Tracie Price.
In 2009, Magic Elite, of which Robert Chuck was a part-owner, ran second in the Anniversary Cup won by Paul Carmichael’s Calm Presence.
Chuck, of Moorak, will now be hoping one of her sons, Galactic Viper, trained for him by Barry Shepheard at Glencoe, can go one better in Sunday’s $3500 final.
The consistent Galactic Viper, which led all the way in the final heat from box four when defeating the Carmichael-trained Howies Flyer by a couple of lengths in 30.15 seconds, has now won two races and run three second-placings from his past five starts.
For Carmichael, it was his first time at Tara Raceway for several years.
“Nothing’s changed,” he said. “Mount Gambier’s still a great place to race. I just haven’t had the right dogs to bring over here.”
Involved in greyhound racing for more than 40 years, the Elliminyt-based trainer has a tremendous record in the Mount Gambier Anniversary Cup, having also won the event in 2006 with Black Presence and all told making the final on six occasions.
Having his first start on the track last Friday, Howies Flyer handled himself pretty well when chasing Galactic Viper with Carmichael happy enough with the effort and hoping the brindle dog will find a bit more after a run on the track.
And following the box draw on Tuesday afternoon, Mojito Mayhem looks to be another step closer to making history after landing the one – the same box he won a Mount Gambier Cup heat from earlier this year in a near-record 29.67 seconds.
Arch-rival Cryer’s Fred also has fared well in the draw and will jump from the eight, a box he has won four races from, while likely improvers Elbow Room and Howies Flyer have drawn boxes three and four respectively.
Sunday’s meeting will celebrate 37 years of greyhound racing in Mount Gambier (at Glenburnie and now Lake Terrace East) with the John Reid Memorial, the Eric Lewis Memorial and the Anniversary Cup highlighting the 12-race card.
Saturday, July 16, 2016
For long-time Warrnambool trainer Kevin Finn the win of Barcelona Beauty in the first heat of the John Reid Memorial Maiden (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Friday was a real family affair.
Having only her third race start, Barcelona Beauty led all the way from box one to hold out short-priced favourite Hay Miss by three-quarters of a length in 30.64 seconds – which turned out to be the faster of the two heats.
It was yet another local win for Finn and the Three Gen Syndicate – managed by his wife Lorraine and also comprising their daughter Marita Byron and grandson Anthony Lang-Smith – who enjoy a pretty handy strike rate at Tara Raceway with give away greyhounds.
The win was certainly a boost for Lang-Smith, 22, who had intended making the trip over on Friday before a foot infection hospitalised him on Thursday night.
And Byron, who works at a Warrnambool hospital, had to request a day of her holidays in order to drive Mum, Dad and Barcelona Beauty over to Mount Gambier.
By Fabregas, Barcelona Beauty boasts a strong US influence on her dam’s side with Cathy Douglas being by American sire Craigie Whistler out of Bo Douglas, a daughter of another American sire in EJ’s Douglas.
Incidentally, Craigie Whistler was whelped on April Fools’ Day in 1998 although he was anything but a practical joke after winning the $85,000 Derby Lane Sprint Classic.
But pedigrees were the furthest thing from Finn’s mind some three months ago when the kennels were empty and he was chasing up another greyhound to walk.
Turns out well known Victorian trainer John Galea had been looking to give away an April 2014 black bitch as she wasn’t up to city class and this is where Finn and the Three Gen Syndicate stepped in.
“I’d been looking at the Reid Memorial for a while,” the trainer of 40 years said. “So it was really pleasing to win a heat and make it through to the final. All we need now is to draw box one again.”
Hay Miss, a second placegetter at Sandown Park and Horsham went into Friday’s heat with pretty handy credentials and should be further improved now that she’s had a look at the track.
Portland trainer Nicole Stanley will be hoping for a similar scenario to that of two years ago when Eylandt Princess ran second in a memorial heat to Cosmic Quest before coming out and defeating Rib Eye in the final nine days later.
Also through to Sunday week’s final from the first heat are Robert Chuck’s Galactic Lee and Kylan Brae, trained by Monty Wilson.
Meanwhile, in the second heat, it was a case of the eagle has landed for Tarpeena owner-trainer Allen Williams after Gemma Eagle defeated kennelmate Grand Eagle, the pair also advancing through to the $1500 final.
First starter Grand Eagle, an August 2014 daughter of El Grand Senor and Chilly Patch, showed plenty of early pace from box eight before opening up a handy break down the back straight.
But Gemma Eagle steadily made ground off the back and after railing through on the home turn the daughter of Glen Gallon and Chilly Patch’s half-sister Keep Looking dashed away to score by three lengths in 31.09 seconds.
For Williams, back on track after a health scare early last week, the win was the litter’s third after Penny Eagle and Dark Eagle had dead-heated at Tara Raceway in March.
And Grand Eagle, a litter sister to Paul Herry’s Warrnambool winner To The Choppar, pleased her trainer with the manner in which she handled herself at her first race start.
“Having bred and reared both litters it’s always a thrill when one of them wins and judging by Grand Eagle’s effort today it shouldn’t be long before she also opens her winning account.”
Williams is another trainer chasing further Reid Memorial success after having won the 2010 event with Frosted Opal which defeated Kid Colossus in 31.29 seconds.
Also into the final are Saint Fox, trained at Southern Cross by Ray Mahony, and Ashanti Alinga for Winslow owner-trainer Paul Teuma.
By Spring Gun out of 15-race winner Real Frosty, Saint Fox had no luck early and looked lost at her first race start before working home well in the concluding stages of the race.
And Ashanti Alinga (there’s a well-known prefix from days gone by at Tara Raceway), a rising 3½-year-old daughter of Yahoo Omar and Blu Evening with only 10 starts to her name, also ran home well at her first look at the track.
The memorial is run in honour of John Reid, a Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club life member and club stalwart who died in 2004.
The Reid family has continued to support the memorial which was first run in 2005 when won by the Robert Halliday trained Itza Bee in 30.22 seconds.
Winners to follow have been: 2006 Bourne Destiny (David Peckham) 31.31; 2007 Call Me Princess (Josie Kelly) 31.05; 2008 Ella Rule (Robert Halliday) 30.99; 2009 Pure Cream (Jim Williams) 30.59; 2010 Frost Opal (Allen Williams) 31.29; 2011 Lektra Rocket (David Chandler) 30.66; 2012 Sumo Power (Darren Henderson) 30.91; 2013 Fred Best (David Jones) 30.68; 2014 Eylandt Princess (Nicole Stanley) 30.81; 2015 My Pal Houston (Tracie Price) 30.62.
VETERAN CHASER TURNS BACK THE CLOCK
Rising five-year-old Dee Tee turned back the clock at Tara Raceway on Friday afternoon when an upset winner in the Rock’s Retreat Stake over 600 metres.
Having only her fourth run back after a six-month break, the fawn and white bitch, after pushing Glenville Jester to 3¾ lengths at the previous meeting over 512 metres, found plenty when going straight to the front from box three and defying a strong grade five field to run her down.
A $12 chance, Dee Tee ultimately had 1¾ lengths to spare in 35.45 seconds over short-priced favourite Old Jock as she brought up her 16th win for Bushfield owner-trainer Gary Lane.
Friday’s win was her first since October with Lane retiring the well-bred daughter of El Grand Senor and Mantra Miss in December prior to mating her in January.
“Unfortunately she missed – which in itself wasn’t the end of the world because her litter sister Miss Jacovella (a former 600 metre Tara Raceway record holder) had previously whelped to Pure Octane – but with nothing else to race I decided to put Dee Tee back in work.”
Lane said while he was undecided as to whether Dee Tee would line up in Sunday week’s Eric Lewis Memorial (600 m) he had earmarked next month’s Berringa Park Iron Dog three-distance series for her final stint on the race track.
A winner over Tara Raceway’s three distances (400 m, 512 m, 600 m), Dee Tee is well suited to the concept, having won two rounds of last year’s series which ended in sensational circumstances when Boolite Bruiser and Upset Boy dead-heated in the final.