THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, October 28 with GRSA. FREE TRIALS (for members/$10 non-members): Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track. BORDER CHALLENGE: Mount Gambier v. Warrnambool. $4000 to the winner final at Warrnambool (450 m) on Thursday, December 5. Mount Gambier conditions: Trainer must be financial member of club. Greyhound must have been in the trainer’s kennel for the past three months and have raced at least twice in the past 12 months at Tara Raceway. Trainer must have raced on at least 15 occasions in the past 12 months at Tara Raceway. Maximum of two heats (512 m) with the first two from each heat to represent Mount Gambier. First four to represent the club if only one heat.
PLEASE NOTE: NO TRIALS ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29 DUE TO TRACK MAINTENANCE.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Cap Abbott, the 70-something greyhound trainer, was at Tara Raceway on Saturday morning in time for the start of the 9 o’clock trials after making the 120 kilometre trip from Edenhope.
He’s the bloke who draws the line at catching his own dogs when they’re trialling over 512 metres but makes a quick 150-metre dash from the 400 metre boxes around to the catching area when his charges are tackling the short course distance.
“He’s puffing more than I am,” said Abbott of the dog he was leading off the track after he had previously put three others through their paces and knocked up something like 450 metres in doing so.
Twenty-four hours earlier he had also been at Tara Raceway with a team of four for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s 12-race programme.
The day didn’t start off all that well for Abbott and in fact had become even worse by race nine, the Allestree Holiday Units Stake (400 m), after Judge Jed, when partaking in a preview for the race, jumped up and scratched him quite extensively on the arm.
But by race 12 the unperturbed trainer was ready for a last roll of the dice with Just Like Fire, a daughter of Barcia Bale x Dyna Gee, in the winningformula.net.au Stake (400 m).
Raced by the Craig Trickett-managed Chasing Gold Greyhound Syndicate, the black bitch had been in Abbott’s kennels since January, winning first-up for him at Strathalbyn over 319 metres before posting a best of day 23.03 seconds win (400 metres) at Tara Raceway in late February.
In Friday’s grade five sprint, Just Like Fire led all the way from box three to defeat Lektra Excess by 3¾ lengths in another best of the day time of 23.06 seconds.
The win was Abbott’s fifth at Tara Raceway this year and now sees him sitting in sixth spot on the Leading Trainers’ list.
And tomorrow he hits the highway again, this time travelling to Adelaide with a team of four, including Just Like Fire, for the Angle Park meeting.
MAKING EVERY POST A WINNER
It wasn’t that Cee Sunrise’s form was all that bad – on the contrary, five wins and three minor placings from only 21 starts doesn’t make for a bad strike rate.
But after unplaced runs at her past three starts Portland owner-trainer Andy Graham had found himself in the wilderness for a couple of months with the daughter of Cosmic Chief and Cee Anna Rose.
So when she gained a start from box three in Friday’s Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (400 m) she needed to make every post a winner – no easy task considering her grade five status and some of the opposition’s higher rankings.
Reputations counted for nothing though as the $50 chance Cee Sunrise quickly wrested the lead from Whatta Moment and then held off an unlucky Galactic Viper to win by a neck in 23.52 seconds.
The win was Graham’s second this year at Tara Raceway after Cee Sunrise’s half-sister Cee Rose Black (by Collision) had won in January.
Cee Anna Rose, who is by Bombastic Shiraz out of Graham’s prolific-producing bitch Senni Wendy, raced on only 18 occasions for six wins (including two at The Meadows) and nine minor placings.
Last month she whelped a third litter – four dogs and two bitches – to high profile sire Magic Sprite.
TRAINERS ON A ROLL
Scott Blacksell, of Cape Bridgewater, is better known at Tara Raceway for helping out successful Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, currently in second spot on the Leading Trainers’ list, with her large team on race and trial days.
But from an owner-trainer point of view Blacksell is on something of a roll himself after Travel Ticket, who he took over from Stanley last month, was successful on cup day prior to Money Back Zac opening his winning account at Friday’s meeting.
Money Back Zac was away well from box one in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 m) and looked anything but a dog that had yet to run a place in eight starts as he careered away to a 6¼ length win in a more than handy 23.48 seconds.
By Cosmic Chief, the black dog is out of Our Vera, a winner of six races and trained for most of her 23 starts by Blacksell.
Speaking after the win, Money Back Zac’s trainer said the dog had been plagued with bad box draws since making his debut last October.
“He’d been finding trouble every time he ran from poor draws but on Friday he showed his true ability when finally drawing a decent box,” he said.
Portland trainer Brian Weis also landed a winner on cup day with Lektra Munster and followed up again on Friday with Spring’s Over in the ClassicBet Stake (512 m).
By Spring Gun x Gone Baby Gone, Spring’s Over led all the way from box one, holding out Chuck McIvor to win by 1¼ lengths in 30.32 seconds.
Owned at Lake Albert, a suburb of Wagga Wagga, by Matt Morris, Spring’s Over and his litter sister Miss Zorro joined Weis’s kennels late last year and had both won at Warrnambool prior to Friday’s success.
The owner and trainer had previously successfully combined in 2013-2014 to race Spring’s Over’s half-brothers In This Way and Out This Way (by Premier Fantasy) who collectively won 13 races.
Earlier, on Friday, in the Metal Worx Maiden Stake (512 m) Morris and Weis had Chilly Kiss engaged from box seven in what would be her first Tara Raceway start.
By Spring Gun out of Gone Baby Gone’s half-sister Chilly Babe – a multiple Victorian city winner at both Sandown Park and The Meadows – Chilly Kiss had been placed on three occasions from six starts at Sandown Park and looked the one to beat.
But the $2.70 favourite never got into the race after missing the start hopelessly, although there’s most certainly a Tara Raceway win in the 25 kilogram bitch if she can jump in the same manner as she did at Sandown Park last month when running second.
Weis has now trained four winners, along with 10 minor placings, this year at Tara Raceway and is equal ninth on the Leading Trainers’ list.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Worrolong greyhound Sookie’s Lad landed his first feature race win in a 57-start career when successful in last Sunday’s Formula 400 Sprint (400 metres) at Tara Raceway’s Mount Gambier Cup meeting.
Sookie’s Lad, who turned four years old earlier this month, settled in a forward spot from box two and after railing through on the home turn finished too well to defeat Ming Men Shen by a neck with a further half-length back to Slipper’s Chance.
By Premier Fantasy out of Sookie, a winner of 14 races and a litter sister to the Group-winning Kilty Lad, Sookie’s Lad is owned locally by Craig Hicks and trained by his father-in-law Steve Bartholomew.
The win made this year’s cup day even more special for Bartholomew, president of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, who handled Tara Topar, the inaugural cup winner in 1981, and has not missed a cup meeting in the ensuing 36 years.
And while Sookie’s Lad has now won 10 races and recorded 26 minor placings his trainer recalls that the black dog’s racing career back in July 2015 looked to be all but over after only 23 starts.
“He suffered a nasty foot injury at the end of a 400 metre race and was off the scene for six months,” he said.
“It actually required two bouts of surgery and to be honest at the time we doubted whether he would ever race again as the foot developed a deformed appearance.
“We were keen to persevere, though, as Sookie’s Lad had always shown potential and was a keen chaser. Not the fastest greyhound we had at the time but a pleasure to have in the kennels.”
And as a testament to the dog’s fortitude – and connections’ patience – he won upon returning to racing at the beginning of 2016 with a further four wins to follow prior to last Sunday’s cup-day success.
The Formula 400 was first run in 2015 when Tom Cryer’s Cryer’s Fred was successful, while last year’s event was won by the Dean Fennell trained Cerrone.
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
Last year’s cup day 600 metre feature, the Fireball, was won by the Phil Lenehan owned and trained Lektra Kelly.
This year the middle-distance feature was run as the Blue Lake 600 and it was Lenehan’s brother, Neville, or Nifty as he is better known, who was successful with King Obama.
By Kinloch Brae x Obama’s Girl, King Obama had defeated the highly-rated Texas Titan over 600 metres at Tara Raceway last month and as such had jumped a long odds-on favourite in his heat.
But the 35 kilogram black dog never fired a shot after finding plenty of trouble from box three and ultimately went down by 15 lengths to Lektra Kelly’s half-sister Lektra Destiny.
That effort saw King Obama relegated to a reserve, although as luck would have it there was a scratching and he lined up from box two in Sunday’s $2000 final.
And it was pretty clear a long way from home that Nifty Lenehan was going to win his first feature race as a trainer – he actually struggled with the presentation dais procedure – when King Obama careered away to a six length win in a personal best time of 35.60 seconds.
Not that there hadn’t been success in the past with Lenehan, now 51, enjoying heady times back in the late 1990s when he raced Star Of Mine.
By Head Honcho x Hoppy’s Star, Star Of Mine went around on 64 occasions for 23 wins and 18 minor placings and more than $74,000 in prizemoney.
Lenehan derived extra pleasure from Sunday’s success as he also bred the winner. He now has high hopes for Obama’s Girl’s next litter – by Cosmic Rumble and 16 months old.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Ross Schurgott and members of the Viking Syndicate had no luck in last Sunday’s ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup final with Thanks Captain but they quickly regrouped for the following race – a $2000 cup consolation (512 metres).
Late last year, together with Allendale East trainer David Peckham and Connie Miller, Schurgott had bought into the former NSW-based Blitz And Bolt who now looks to have been a pretty reasonable buy at only $1500.
The David Pringle-bred son of Cosmic Rumble x Moonshine Sally found himself in a more than handy consolation after a half-length second to Harry Aztec in a cup heat the previous week.
And despite two excellent seconds prior to that behind Hutch in the Summer Classic and Gargle It, Blitz And Bolt jumped from box seven on Sunday at around the $16 quote.
Peckham also had Anti Dentite engaged in the consolation after he had run a handy fourth behind Mojito Mayhem the week before at what had been his first Tara Raceway 512 metre hit-out.
A son of Turanza Bale x Sister Ping, the black dog landed in Mount Gambier late last year after stints in Queensland and Adelaide where he had raced on 84 occasions for 24 wins and prizemoney totalling more than $60,000.
Away well from box four, Anti Dentite was in front going out of the first turn and took advantage of some interference to open up a handy break over his kennelmate down the back straight.
But approaching the home turn, Blitz And Bolt was looming ominously. And this is where the Viking Syndicate factor came into play.
Appropriately decked out in their Viking Syndicate shirts, the members boisterously punched home the Bolt in such a manner that on the line he had 4¾ lengths to spare over Anti Dentite in a personal best time of 30.02 seconds.
Currently involved in an interesting three-way go for training honours with Nicole Stanley and Tracie Price, Peckham concluded the three-meeting Mount Gambier Cup carnival with five winners – a running treble on the opening day followed by a cup heat win with Thanks Captain and the consolation quinella last Sunday.
One of the treble winners was Still We Believe, a lightly-raced son of Heston Bale x Tandar Lass, who had won at Geelong and Bendigo before successful on debut at Tara Raceway over 400 metres in a tidy 23.25 seconds for Schurgott and the Viking Syndicate.
The purchase of the black dog from Victoria came via the internet advertising site Greyhound-Data and was the result of the syndicate re-investing some of the proceeds from the sale of a couple of pups by Barcia Bale out of their former 600 metre record holder Striking Viking at last year’s Angle Park auction.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
With six runners in Sunday’s Produce Store Feature Maiden final (512 m) it was always going to be a fair bet that Compton breeder-trainer Tracie Price would at least win the event if not make a clean sweep of the affair.
Price had provided the quinella in the three heats with the standout being Magic Sprite x Hey Sexy Lady youngster Summer Storm, a 7½ length winner in a best of day 29.98 seconds.
But the switch in the final from the inside to the outside brought about the August 2015 whelping’s undoing. Starting a warm favourite from box eight, Summer Storm found trouble wherever he went and did a good job to finish fourth.
Meanwhile, kennelmate Rumbling Moment, a son of Cosmic Rumble and former smart bitch Stylish Moment, appreciated the switch from the outside to the inside when railing through on the first turn and then defying the opposition to run him down in a time of 30.66 seconds.
Rumbling Moment, who had been grabbed on the line at his first race start in a heat the previous week, now looks a likely type for the August-run Winter Classic, a race his dam won in 2014.
Gee She Roks upset the Price clean sweep when, despite using plenty of the track, she finished strongly to grab second spot for Ross Schurgott and David Peckham who must be wondering whether the daughter of Cape Hawke x Freestyle Lass will ever win a race after having now run eight minor placings from 14 starts.
Baz’s Moment, who won a heat on debut for Barry Bruce and Price, ran another good race to finish third with the son of Swift Fancy x Which Class giving Kongorong-based Bruce a successful re-introduction to greyhound racing.
Price also enjoyed plenty of cup carnival success, training six winners over the three meetings.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Greyhound Racing SA chairman Michael Fabbro, along with fellow directors David Spear, Paul Preiss, Chris Doyle and Grantley Stevens, were in town at the weekend to catch up with the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club committee, take in the ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup and then the Port v. Richmond game at Malseed Park which would have buggered up an otherwise top couple of days.
Also making the trip were CEO Matt Corby, Sarah Webster (Chief Operating Officer), Scott Wuchatsch (Strategic Projects Manager), Dianne Dumanovic (Marketing Manager), Lisa Michalanney (Acting Head of Integrity) and Shaun Mathieson (Racing Manager).
These are good people who would have been suitably impressed with the running of Sunday’s cup meeting, witnessed by one of the biggest crowds seen at Tara Raceway in a long time.
From a board point of view, the Mount Gambier club hasn’t done much wrong in the past five years or so – going from 10-race weekly TAB meetings to a situation next month when they’ll be running 12-race programmes (nominations permitting) every Sunday with a couple of Fridays thrown in for good measure.
Speaking on Saturday night, Fabbro described the club as GRSA’s “jewel in the crown” and suggested that after the board had met on Sunday morning there could be some “breaking news” forthcoming later in the day.
But it’s probably fair to say that he caught most by surprise when announcing after the ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup presentation to Robyn Mackellar and Fabregal plans for next year’s event.
Even the usually unflappable MC for the day, Kevin “KD” Douglas – well-versed in all things racing – appeared taken aback when Fabbro calmly hit the masses with the news that the 2018 Mount Gambier Cup would be a Listed event and carry $15,000 to the winner – more than double the amount paid for the past three years.
This is seriously good money and as such will attract seriously good greyhounds. Not that this year’s winner is not a seriously good greyhound.
So as from next year the Mount Gambier Cup will join time-honoured races such as the SA Sprint Championship, the Maidment Memorial, the Sandown Easter Gift and the Flying Amy Classic, to name just a few, as a Listed event.
And Michael Fabbro’s announcement on Sunday afternoon has ensured that next year’s Mount Gambier Cup will be the start of a new and exciting era for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s major event which has already enjoyed a colourful and successful 37-year history.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Lewiston-trained Fabregal ran right up to her reputation with a brilliant win in Sunday’s $10,000 ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.
One of the best-credentialled greyhounds to ever contest the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s major event of the year, the black daughter of Fabregas x Allinga Aye Jay took her race record to 34 wins from 58 starts and more than $160,000 in prizemoney.
Fabregal was expected to improve after her first look at the track last week when winning a heat in 29.87 seconds – and improve the $2.60 favourite did – in front rounding the first before running away to score a 2¼ length win over the $34 rank outsider Arabella Figg with a further 2½ lengths back to Mojito Mayhem.
And the winner’s time of 29.78 seconds was a race record, eclipsing the 29.81 seconds run by the Kevin Mugavin trained Rich Shiraz back in 2012.
Owned at Tumby Bay by Terry McCallum, Fabregal is trained by Robyn Mackellar who broke a 20-year Lake Terrace East venue male training dominance when becoming the first female to win the Mount Gambier Cup.
Female trainers had fared slightly better at the original greyhound track out at Glenburnie with Joan Cruise successful in the inaugural event in 1981 with Tara Topar and Connie Miller winning the 1987 and 1988 cups with Durafi and Mitchell Boy.
Mackellar’s Mount Gambier Cup quest started back in 2014 when second-placed Dee Dee Corsair ran Veetee Express to two lengths in a then near-record 29.82 seconds.
Then the following year Barnes Bay and Lobo Loco ran third and fourth respectively behind Lots Of Yap and Bourne Again.
As far as this year was concerned it was a case of Mackellar going out on a winning note with Fabregal confirmed as changing kennels as early as next week.
“Yes, due to some health issues I’m cutting my team back and she’ll be relocating to Lyn Smith who is based at Nambrok in Victoria,” she said.
Arabella Figg, who chased Fabregal throughout, ran a terrific race for Southern Cross trainer Peter Byrne.
By Kinloch Brae, she is out of 12-race winner Finlandia’s fourth litter and owned at Buckley by Ian Cockerell who also owns and trains a couple of handy littermates in Igor Karkaroff (15 wins, $100,000) and Polijuice Potion (18 wins, $140,000).
And how about Mojito Mayhem – he gave it his best shot for owner Barry Priest and trainer Peter Franklin when travelling in third spot throughout.
Returning from usually career-ending injuries, the black dog won a heat of the Christmas Cup and then a cup heat last week before attempting to become the first greyhound to win two Mount Gambier Cups.
He lost no friends with his effort on Sunday and with two Anniversary Cups and a Mount Gambier Cup to his credit there haven’t been too many better greyhounds than Mojito Mayhem go around Tara Raceway.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Fabregal, nominal favourite for the Mount Gambier Cup, will be transferred to Victoria after Sunday’s $10,000 final at Tara Raceway.
Lewiston trainer Robyn Mackellar said this week that the black bitch, a 29.87 seconds heat winner last Sunday, would be transferred to Lyn Smith of Nambrok.
“I’m cutting back in numbers and suggested to the owner that Fabregal would now be better placed in Victoria,” she said.
A winner of more than $150,000, the daughter of Fabregas x Allinga Aye Jay is owned at Tumby Bay by Terry McCallum who purchased her as a five-month-old pup prior to rearing her.
The litter was bred by Morphett Vale couple Tracey and Trevor Davey who have been well rewarded for taking the punt with a well-bred bitch that won only one race.
There are litters by Glen Gallon and Nitro Burst to follow while the Daveys also have a Dyna Double One straw.
Fabregal was broken-in at 14 months of age but according to Mackellar the report was nothing special.
“It wasn’t until she returned from breaking-in that she actually started to put it altogether. But by the time she was ready for her first start I knew we had something special.”
And so began the continuation of a successful owner and trainer association after they had previously combined to win 20 races and more than $30,000 in stakemoney with former NSW greyhound Just Shine.
So Robyn Mackellar, whose grandmother Betty Brown started blazing a trail for female greyhound trainers all those years ago, will be looking to blaze her own trail in this year’s cup.
Twenty years of Mount Gambier Cups at the Lake Terrace East venue have yet to deliver a female-trained winner.
Mackellar, along with Nicole Stanley, Bea Bryant and Yvonne King, will all be out to create their own piece of history at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Bourne Kennels trainer David Peckham has plenty of Mount Gambier Cup winning form around him but has yet to win the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s premier event in his own right.
Connie Miller, partner in the breeding, rearing and racing operation out at Allendale East, is still the only trainer to have won more than one cup – Mitchell Boy in 1987 and Durafi the following year.
And Peckham’s father, Allen, also a former leading trainer, won the 1994 cup with Argyle Sally.
Not that David Peckham hasn’t been about the place over the past five years – Man Of Mystery ran second to Rich Shiraz in 2012 while Josephine Wiz was also a finalist.
Then in 2013, $2.50 favourite Baurna Paddy ran third to Colville and the Ed Kowalewski-owned Pure Ruler fifth prior to Striking Viking reaching the final in Veetee Express’s 2014 cup.
But the closest Peckham has come to cup success was in 2015 when Bourne Again went down by a lip to Lots Of Yap.
Sunday will see him represented once again, this time with Thanks Captain who kicked the heats off in stunning fashion with an eight length all the way win from box eight in 29.92 seconds.
A $1000 purchase as a five-month-old pup by Ross Schurgott’s Viking Syndicate, the win was the enigmatic chaser’s third this year.
The son of Fabregas and Zadar Belle has drawn the one – a box he’s had little success from – but will lack nothing in support as well-travelled syndicate members, who are currently holidaying in Port Augusta, will be making the trip down for the cup.
Peckham, also, has some reservations regarding Thanks Captain and his draw.
“I certainly can’t fault the way he pulled up after Sunday’s heat win but I would have liked to have seen him draw out wider although he did win once from box one in best of day time, albeit 18 months ago.”
And as the Viking Syndicate also owns Striking Viking – currently in Adelaide for mating with Dyna Double One – they’ll be hoping for better luck than in 2014.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Long-time trainer Yvonne King made straight for the victory dais after HARRY AZTEC’S Mount Gambier Cup heat win last Sunday at Tara Raceway.
A week too soon but she could be excused. After all, this had been her first trip to race at the Mount Gambier track after spending 27 years training greyhounds among the grapevines at Langhorne Creek.
Now she’s wondering why it took her so long to make the trip.
Owner Ed Kowalewski, of Hahndorf, also made the trip and he enjoyed every second of the 30.09 of them that Harry Aztec took to win his way into another country cup final.
Actually, it’s probably fair to say that Kowalewski worked harder up the home straight than the dog did when defeating Blitz And Bolt by half a length.
Purchased as a five-month-old pup, the now four-year-old son of Aston Galilee x Prince’s Faye has won 15 races. He reached the final of last November’s Strathalbyn Cup and in another life had won the Eric Lewis Memorial (600 metres) at Tara Raceway so he did know his way around the track.
Originally, King had planned to also bring down Allinga Val, a winner of 11 races from 30 starts and $22,000 in stakemoney, but a shoulder injury has her sidelined at the moment.
By Fabregas x Allinga Aye Jay, Allinga Val, a sister to cup favourite Fabregal, is raced by her breeders, Tracey and Trevor Davey of Morphett Vale.
King, who enjoyed plenty of success with Auspicious Girl (23 wins) in the mid-1990s and Fear No One (17 wins) in the mid-2000s, is now hoping her long association with Kowalewski can lead to a cup win on Sunday.
MOJITO MAYHEM is owned at Bendigo by Barry Priest and trained at Moyston by Peter Franklin but ever since the striking-looking son of Fear Zafonic x Graceful Amy won his maiden on debut over 400 metres at Tara Raceway on October 24, 2014 in a best of day 23.14 seconds he’s been considered a Mount Gambier dog.
Having his first race start this year, the 2016 Mount Gambier Cup winner held off a determined Rock Away to win in 29.88 seconds.
He’s been a terrific story, having also won consecutive Anniversary Cups and then coming back from a career-threatening injury to win his way through to the 2016 Christmas Cup final.
But the big story could come on Sunday afternoon when he jumps from box two in the final and attempts to make it back-to-back Mount Gambier Cup victories.
It will be a history-making effort if Mojito Mayhem can match his effort of last year with 36 cups having previously been run but no greyhound yet to win more than one.
All things being equal, ARABELLA FIGG probably shouldn’t have even been running in a heat of the cup but she did and after settling mid-field finished too strongly for Future Past in 30.23 seconds to give easy-going Southern Cross trainer Peter Byrne his first finalist.
According to Byrne, he really wanted to run Arabella Figg in the Blue Lake 600 (600 m) but couldn’t make it to the Friday meeting so opted for the cup instead.
In Byrne’s kennels since last September, the Ian Cockerell-owned daughter of Kinloch Brae and the city-winning Finlandia has now won more than $20,000 after kicking off her career with a Sandown Park Victorian Breeders success.
From a final point of view, Byrne will now be hoping to go one better after his former smart sprinter Sherlock Bob ran second to Taipan Bale in the 2008 Healesville Cup.
Youngest cup finalist and least experienced is Portland trainer Robert Halliday’s young gun HUTCH who held off Tara Raceway 600 metre record holder Paraphernalia to win heat five in a personal best time of 29.91 seconds.
Whelped in April 2015, the well-bred son of Premier Fantasy x Cairnlea Ellie has now won four straight, coming into the cup after an impressive win in the Summer Classic.
With three Summer Classics having now been run, it’s interesting to note that all the winners have reached the Mount Gambier Cup final the following month – Cryer’s Ricky in 2015 and Menzel Boys last year.
Hutch is the youngest cup finalist since Don’t Panic, also an April whelping, started favourite in the 2012 final won by Rich Shiraz.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Heathmere greyhound Colden Girl’s outstanding effort to run a quick 29.77 seconds and win a heat of last Sunday’s ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres) at Tara Raceway came as no real surprise to her part-owner Roger “the Pom” Bryant.
The nicely-conformed black and white bitch, which went into the cup series with two wins from only 17 starts, came out running from box five and looked anything but a relative newcomer to the game when holding out seasoned performers Master Tron and McRay – 124 starts between them – to win in the second fastest time of the day.
According to Bryant, Colden Girl’s lead-up trial to the cup at Tara Raceway had him confident that she would acquit herself well in what was always going to be her biggest test to date.
“No, we weren’t really surprised that she performed so well,” he said. “We always reckoned that she was quick and when she trialled a similar post-to-post time to one of Nicole’s (Stanley) cup contenders we felt that we would be in the mix come race day.”
Colden Girl, bred by Bryant’s wife Bea, who is also the trainer, is raced in partnership with their neighbours Dennis and Colleen Rose.
And with both Dennis and Roger being called “Pom” it was probably only logical that the syndicate racing name would be “The Two Poms”.
The Bryants had been successfully involved in the sport back in the Glenburnie days but returned only relatively recently after Dennis Rose, also involved in thoroughbred racing, continually pestered them to breed a litter.
“We eventually relented and contacted Robert Britton at Lara who sent us Soul Calibur, a nicely-bred bitch who had won six races at the Meadows,” Roger Bryant said.
A daughter of Surf Lorian x Lucy’s Light, Soul Calibur was mated with Farmor Las Vegas, another Britton-trained dog who won 26 races and close to $200,000 in stakemoney.
The Roses have done pretty well with their involvement. Besides Colden Girl, other members of the litter include Victorian city winners Carry On Pendles and Carry On Quinney and Tara Raceway winner Carry On Elvis.
Speaking on Tuesday, prior to the box draw, Roger Bryant said he would be more than happy if Colden Girl – the Bryants first Mount Gambier Cup finalist – drew out wide in Sunday’s $10,000 final. And draw out wide she did.
BERRY BLING’S COME A LONG WAY IN 12 MONTHS
It was at the Mount Gambier Cup’s corresponding meeting last year that Berry Bling first drew attention to herself.
That was when she ran 29.94 seconds to defeat Kryptonian in the final of the Produce Store Feature Maiden (512 m).
And there’s been a bit of form to come out of the race with Berry Bling later in the year brilliantly winning the SA Country Cup (536 m) at Strathalbyn while heat winner Kryptonian has won a further 12 races.
Nicole Stanley of Portland, describes Berry Bling as a jump and run bitch. And she did just that in her Mount Gambier Cup heat last Sunday, when defeating a gallant Lyon Rose by 1¾ lengths in the quickest of the day – 29.74 seconds.
These days, Stanley, currently Tara Raceway’s leading trainer, owns and trains the best of day winner but initially was training her for well-known Victorian conditioner Jack Westerlo.
“Our association goes back to the days when drag lure coursing meetings were conducted in many country towns,” said Stanley, who was Victorian Coursing Trainer of the Year in 2009 and 2010.
“At the beginning of last year Jack asked me if I’d be interested in training a couple of bitches by Lochinvar Marlow out of Lady Bling who raced as Berry Bling and Let It Bling.
“Let It Bling actually beat Berry Bling when they met in their first race at Tara Raceway in February last year but even then I had a liking for Berry Bling.”
In fact, so keen was Stanley on her prospects that when Westerlo later offered the pair for sale she took up the offer.
“I took a punt that she would come good,” she said.
Last Sunday’s run was only Berry Bling’s third since the Country Cup success in November with an unsuccessful brief stay in Melbourne and a shoulder injury curtailing her activities.
Stanley, a long-time trainer, rates her as one of her better dogs and already has breeding in mind with the 28 kilogram black bitch – possibly first-up with high-profile sire Barcia Bale.
She will jump from the three in Sunday’s final, with Stanley’s punt well and truly coming good if she can land Mount Gambier’s major greyhound race of the year.