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

THURSDAY, JUNE 4: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, JUNE 11: Nominations close at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9 with GRSA. SATISFACTORY TRIALS: For bookings please contact Barry Shepheard on 0419 824 512.

PLEASE NOTE: UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE THERE WILL BE RESTRICTED ATTENDANCE AT ALL TARA RACEWAY MEETINGS. ONLY LICENSED PARTICIPANTS WITH GREYHOUNDS ENGAGED, CATCHERS AND ESSENTIAL STAFF WILL BE PERMITTED ENTRY. NO TAB AND NO CATERING ON TRACK.


News

Keeping it in the family

Wednesday, Sepember 27, 2017

Local greyhound breeder-owner Don Nunn and Compton trainer Tracie Price for the second successive year have combined to win the Life Members FFA (512 metres) with one of the Fear Zafonic x Shannah’s Star litter.

Last year it was with Fear The Rascal who defeated Fiorelli Rose by a head in what would be the first of consecutive Life Member second placings for her while at Tara Raceway last Sunday afternoon litter brother Shannah’s Might came from behind to record an impressive win.

Life members Bill Ward (left), Ralph Patzel, Connie Miller, Steve Bartholomew, Allen Williams, Michael Robinson and Kevin Clayfield (standing in for his brother Richard) pictured Life Members FFA winner Shannah’s Might and Karen Price.

Away only fairly from box eight, Shannah’s Might was caught wide going out of the first turn before unleashing a powerful run down the back straight and railing through on kennelmate Swift Limes and the Nicole Stanley trained Fiorelli Rose approaching the home turn.

From there on the striking-looking 35½ kilogram black dog simply powered away, eventually defeating Fiorelli Rose by 6½ lengths with three-quarters of a length back to Swift Limes in third spot in 30.32 seconds.

The win was the culmination of a terrific month for Shannah’s Might who raced on five occasions for four wins and a second and has now put himself in the mix for Greyhound of the Year honours.

With six wins, seven seconds and one third at Tara Raceway this year he has charged into contention – 39 points seeing him placed only three points behind the joint leaders Baz’s Moment and Fiorelli Rose.

The trainer’s wife, Karen, was delighted with the win. It’s obvious he’s her favourite.

“We were going to put him into the Greyhound Adoption Program after he’s finished racing,” she said. “But because he’s such a beautiful dog I think there’s a fair chance he will finish up as the family pet out at Compton.”

Life membership of what is these days known as the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club Inc. goes back to 1978 with Col Sims the inaugural life member.

Five years later, with mechanical hare racing by then up and running, eight-time club president Newman McDonnell was awarded the club’s second life membership.

To this day, annual memorial races are run in their honour – the Val and Col Sims Maiden Memorial in January and the Newman McDonnell Memorial in November.


Paraphernalia equal to the challenge

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Horsham greyhound Paraphernalia’s fourth placing in the first round of the Metal Worx Iron Dog (600 m) a couple of weeks ago was something of a surprise considering the well-bred son of Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco is a former two-time track record holder over the journey.

Jeff Guy and Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club representative Allen Williams with Paraphernalia, winner of the Metal Worx Iron Dog final.

But the fawn dog was still able to grab a spot in the three-distance series final after holding out a determined Hit The Runway to win a 400 metre second round heat in a very quick 22.83 seconds.

Trained by Jeff Guy, Paraphernalia joined kennelmate and leading point scorer Frac Geek in last Sunday’s Iron Dog final with the kennel looking to hold a strong hand in the 512 metre decider.

And while Frac Geek was away well from box two, Paraphernalia quickly cut down from the eight, finding the front going into the first turn and from then on never looking in any danger of defeat.

Hit The Runway looked a chance in running of giving Nicole Stanley consecutive Iron Dog victories after Old Jock’s success last year but Paraphernalia still had 1¾ lengths to spare on the line while Bekim Lucy’s made up plenty of ground to finish third in a best of day 30.06 seconds.

Paraphernalia, also a winner at The Meadows, Sandown Park, Angle Park, Ballarat, Horsham, Warrnambool and Bendigo, has now won 20 races from 72 starts while Guy has trained 16 winners at Tara Raceway this year.

His Iron Dog finalists will be back in Mount Gambier on Sunday for the SA Country Cup heat but not before the former South Aussie – and Crows tragic – has taken in the Adelaide-Richmond clash at the MCG on Saturday.

 

DISTANCE RACING RETURNS

Distance racing over 732 metres will return to Tara Raceway on Sunday when the Greyhound-Data Mixed Stake is run.

The Barry Shepheard pair of Lektra Destiny and Trademark Jet look well placed while the interesting runner is Iron Dog finalist Cryer’s Plugger who, after winning four 600 metre races, will be having his first start over the journey for Tom Cryer.

The last 732 metre race run at Tara Raceway was early in the month when McIvor Verna won the Destini Fireball Back to Distance Racing final for Moyston trainer Peter Franklin.

McIvor Verna will now take on two of Australia’s best stayers in Fanta Bale and Burn One Down when she contests the $25,000-to-the winner Group 3 Top Cat Video Cup (725 m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.


A classic win for Clayfield

Monday, September 25, 2017

Glenroy greyhound trainer Richard Clayfield, who won the first race ever run at Tara Raceway with Bright Option on January 25, 1997, landed his biggest win at the track on Sunday afternoon when Solitary Lad was successful in the Destini Fireball Winter Classic final (512 metres).

Rated only an outside chance at $20, Solitary Lad worked quickly across from box seven to find the front going out of the first turn and from then on was never headed, eventually defeating Xtreme Carnage and Lektra Stomp in 30.55 seconds.

Ann Sinnott, 10-week-old George Sinnott, Maddie Hancock, Kev Clayfield, Allen Williams, Richard Clayfield and Dale Lewis with Destini Fireball Winter Classic winner Solitary Lad.

Owned by Ann Sinnott of Yambuk, Solitary Lad is by Lonesome Cry out of Up And Away and was one of five members of the litter in the $3000 final.

This was the fourth running of the classic, this year being for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2015. It was also the first time Clayfield had had a runner in the series.

Speaking after the race, Clayfield was full of praise for the brindle dog which was whelped in November 2015 and also most appreciative of Tom and Ann Sinnott’s support.

“Back in early July Tom had said to me one morning at the trials that he would give me a good dog to train. Solitary Lad, unraced at the time, turned out to be the dog and he promptly won the John Reid Memorial for us.

“I’ve had a lot of dogs over the years but I would have to say that Solitary Lad is one of the most fearless I’ve ever had. Nothing seems to faze him,” Clayfield said.

Xtreme Carnage, who opened his winning account at his fifth race start last week in a heat of the classic, ran a terrific race for Wagga owner Matt Morris and Portland trainer Brian Weis.

A December 2015 whelping by Barcia Bale out of Xtreme Gretel – a US-bred daughter of Stan’s Boy Flyer x Xtreme Hustler who did most of her racing in the US before being brought to Australia – Xtreme Carnage finished strongly to run Solitary Lad to a length and give Weis his second classic runner-up.

But for all that, it wasn’t a bad day for Morris and Weis with Spring Ripper quickly finding the rails from box six in The Border Watch Mixed Stake (600 m) before finishing powerfully for a 2½ length win over the front-running Fascinated in 35.65 seconds.

Then, in the following race, the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (512 m), Spring’s Over gave Galactic Spirit a fair start down the back before grabbing her close to home and subsequently holding out the fast finishing kennelmate Big Rough to win by a half head.

Lektra Stomp, who went to the boxes an odds-on favourite after drawing the two, was only fairly away and, while never really troubling Solitary Lad or Extreme Carnage, worked home well for a 2¾ length third.

The next age-restricted race to be run at Tara Raceway will be the Peter Rocket Summer Classic (512 m), in February next year for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2016.


First-up success for well-bred youngster

Sunday, September 24, 2017

A chance start for reserve runner Rusty Sprocket in the ClassicBet Maiden Stake (400 metres) at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting on Friday resulted in the 17-month-old bitch winning at her first race start.

Whelped in April 2016, Rusty Sprocket, along with litter sister Crikey Creeky – who also made her debut in the same race – are currently the youngest racing at Tara Raceway, 16 months being the minimum age that a greyhound can compete in an official race.

Owner-trainer Scott Blacksell with the 17-month-old Rusty Sprocket who won on debut at Tara Raceway last Friday.

But, despite her immaturity, the winner handled herself pretty well, overcoming an ordinary start from box eight and then quickly rounding up the field before running away to a comfortable 4¼ length win in 24.05 seconds.

Owned and trained by Scott Blacksell of Cape Bridgewater, the win was the first for the popular Tara Raceway regular since March when, in the space of five days, he had been successful at Tara Raceway with Travel Ticket and Money Back Zac.

By Fabregas out of Guru Doll, Rusty Sprocket and Crikey Creeky – who made up ground to finish fourth on Friday – were purchased by Blacksell at four months of age in a three-pup deal from Portland breeder Robert Halliday.

Blacksell, who recently donated a clothes dryer to the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, later gave the third, yet unnamed pup, to local greyhound handler and catcher Mo Canala for her 16th birthday earlier this year.

It was a well-bred present, Fabregas a leading sire and Guru Doll winning at Angle Park and Sandown Park as well as being a litter sister to Angle Park Oaks winner Kokoda Spirit and Star Doll, a former 400 metre track record holder at Tara Raceway.

Blacksell, 53, rates his best greyhound as the Halliday-bred Our Vera, a Sandown Park winner who raced during 2009-10. But his involvement in the sport goes back much further than that with well-known Portland greyhound man Ray Keating introducing him to the dishlickers some 30 years ago.


Family chases second successive Winter Classic

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A favourable box two draw in Sunday’s Destini Fireball Winter Classic final (512 metres) should work in Lektra Stomp’s favour as he attempts to give the Lenehan family of Toolong their second successive classic win at Tara Raceway.

Successful last year with Lektra Munster, who had been trained at the time by Phil Lenehan, Lektra Stomp will be looking to make amends for an unlucky third behind Xtreme Carnage and Sizzle Em Up in last Sunday’s first heat.

Former champion stayer Elektra, the grand-dam of Winter Classic hope Lektra Stomp.

Speaking earlier this week on behalf of the family, Lenehan said Lektra Stomp’s 29.67 seconds win over 512 metres in late August had made him the fastest dog they’ve ever raced at Tara Raceway.

“He is a fast dog because he’s also one of only a few we’ve had that have broken 30 seconds for the 525 metre journey at The Meadows,” Lenehan said.

Lektra Stomp is actually the third-fastest greyhound to go around Tara Raceway this year – only former record holder Brazen Bomber (29.55 seconds) and current record holder Mojito Mayhem (29.52 seconds) running quicker.

And Lenehan believes the July 2015 son of Walk Hard is well-placed to run a forward race in what is the best Winter Classic final field assembled in its four-year history.

“With Xtreme Carnage, not the quickest of beginners, drawn in box one I reckon Lektra Stomp is a good chance of finding the rails going into the first turn and that should give him every chance,” he said.

This year’s Winter Classic winner will also receive a service to the former super stayer Destini Fireball, a winner of five Group 1 races and more than $640,000 in prizemoney.

Interestingly, Lektra Stomp’s dam Lektra Angie (Trewly Special x Elektra) – a sub-30 second 512 metre maiden winner at Tara Raceway in late 2012 – whelped a litter of two dogs and five bitches in May this year to Destini Fireball.

This had come about as a result of Norm and Janis Rinaldi previously donating a service to their 25-race winner for the Fireball 600 which had been run on Mount Gambier Cup day in 2016 and won by the Lenehan owned and trained Lektra Kelly.

“These are really nice pups so I’m hopeful there’s another Elektra among them,” he said.

Elektra was the staying bitch who won a Group 1 Galaxy, a Group 2 Sale Cup as well as 27 other races for prizemoney in excess of $255,000 and from where the “Lektra” prefix emanated from.


Local breeder attends Focus Group session

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Allendale East breeder David Peckham was in Adelaide last night to attend a Breeder Focus Group session conducted by Greyhound Racing SA.

The session had been convened to explore the industry’s thinking in relation to breeding and discuss the manner in which GRSA could introduce additional support to breeders.

Representing GRSA at the meeting, attended by breeders from as far away as Whyalla and Mount Gambier, were CEO Matt Corby and Strategic Projects Manager Scott Wuchatsch.

Corby told the breeders that the number of SA litters bred – 61 last year – would need to rise to at least 100 in order to sustain the level of racing and as a result it was proposed that more money would be channelled into breeding.

“Our aim is to increase the rewards to overshadow the negatives we are now forced to deal with,” he said.

Peckham said those in attendance believed the grading criteria for SA-bred greyhounds, the SA-bred bonuses, breeder’s rebates and a national recognition of competitiveness of the SA-bred greyhound all helped to promote the local product.

However, they also believed there were too many pay-as-you-go SA-bred feature races, that there was a chronic lack of whelping and rearing facilities in SA, and a Greyhound Adoption Program waiting list for re-homing that was far too long.

Those at the meeting were also critical of what could be perceived as “red tape” and a lack of respect at administration level.

Peckham said the findings of the meeting would now be forwarded to the GRSA board.

In summarising, Corby said breeders were the cornerstone of the industry and that fact needed to be reflected in industry strategy as greyhound racing pushed forward towards a new and prosperous future.


Jen Shen’s a real iron dog

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jen Shen is through to the Metal Worx Iron Dog final – to be run over 512 metres at Tara Raceway on Sunday – and if ever a greyhound deserves a tag of iron dog then surely it is the Tony Harding owned and trained black bitch.

Not four years old until January, Jen Shen had been lining up from box one for what would be start number 120 in last Sunday’s second round of the four-heat Iron Dog series over 400 metres.

Tony Harding with his Metal Worx Iron Dog finalist Jen Shen.

A shock second placing in her opening round 600 metre heat the previous week at odds of $41 had her well placed on the point-scale although the $15 outsider in heat three of the short-course sprint still needed a top three finish to ensure a spot in the final.

But reputations counted for nothing. The expected “match race” between the well-fancied pair of Brazen Blue and last year’s Iron Dog winner Old Jock failed to materialise when Jen Shen led all the way to defeat Stampy Longnose – much to the delight of the “$5 rank and file punting brigade”.

It’s fair to say that Jen Shen, in what has been a busy two years of racing, doesn’t win out of turn. Her first win came at start number 32 when, as a $30 chance, she defeated Lektra Destiny. Then, 38 starts later, she won her second race – defeating Berry Bling at odds of $40 – before her third win last Sunday after another 50 starts.

By Fear Zafonic, she’s out of Ren Shen who won all but one of her eight races at Tasmania’s three tracks in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport for Hobart owner-breeder Robert English, a chiropractor specialising in Chinese herbal medicine – hence the naming of his greyhounds.

Only last month at Tara Raceway, litter brother Ming Men Shen – who has raced on “only” 64 occasions – was successful for Tahara trainer Bernie Rogers who actually also started out with Jen Shen.

Tony Harding and Shane Flink with Ming Men Shen after he had won at Tara Raceway last month.

However, a trailer incident at a trial track one morning was the last straw for Rogers who signed the then unraced bitch over to Harding.

“I’d been helping Bernie at the trials on this particular day but after Jen Shen trashed his trailer he went off his head and said I could have the bloody thing,” Harding recalled.

The 72-year-old Hamilton-based Harding has been training greyhounds for more than 10 years although his involvement in the sport goes back much longer than that to a time when he was involved with Tracie Price, these days a leading local trainer.

In fact, a December 1998 Tara Raceway race programme, plucked at random from the archives, revealed that a greyhound called Return A Smile, owned by Harding and trained by the then Branxholme-based Price, had won a maiden stake (512 m) and picked up $70 in prizemoney.

In what will be her toughest test in 121 starts, Jen Shen – certainly an iron dog before the race is even run – has drawn box three in Sunday’s Metal Worx Iron Dog final.


Nomination closing day to change

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Commencing with the Sunday, October 1 race meeting at Tara Raceway, the nomination closing day for all Sunday meetings will be at 9 a.m. on the Tuesday prior with Greyhound Racing SA.

Currently, when Friday-Sunday meetings are run, nominations for the Friday close on Monday and on Tuesday for the Sunday fixture.

However, nominations for Sunday-only meetings had been closing on the Monday morning prior although not being drawn until Tuesday.

This had long been a bone of contention with trainers who believed a Tuesday closing for Tara Raceway Sunday-only meetings would open up their nomination options at other tracks, particularly Strathalbyn and Warrnambool, and also work in Mount Gambier’s favour.

Local trainer John Little recently polled 39 trainers at a Tara Raceway race meeting with the result being that 38 were overwhelmingly in favour of the change of day.

Nominations for the October 1 meeting, which will feature heats of the Mount Gambier division of the SA Country Cup, will now close on Tuesday, September 26 at 9 a.m. with GRSA.

Meanwhile, the Country Cup heats kicked off last Friday with Memory Assassin and Stick Figure to represent Strathalbyn in the $7375 final at Angle Park on Friday, October 13.

Memory Assassin, who ran third to Berry Bling in last year’s SA Country Cup when representing Gawler, defeated Stick Figure by a length, clocking 31.61 seconds for the 536 metre journey.

Port Augusta will run its heat over 503 metres on Saturday afternoon with greyhounds based in Napperby, Palmer, Whyalla and Broken Hill battling it out for the two spots up for grabs.


Littermates up and away in Winter Classic heats

Monday, September 18, 2017

Yambuk breeder-owner Ann Sinnott looks to hold a strong hand in the forthcoming Destini Fireball Winter Classic (512 metres) – littermates Sizzle Em Up, Dum Didee Dum, Solitary Lad, Lone Star and Away We Go all making their way through to this Sunday’s final after the running of three heats at Tara Raceway last Sunday afternoon.

Five members of the Lonesome Cry x Up And Away litter are through to Sunday’s Destini Fireball Winter Classic final at Tara Raceway. Richard Clayfield, Dale Lewis and Ann Sinnott are pictured with Lone Star, Dum Didee Dum, Solitary Lad, Away We Go and Sizzle Em Up.

By US sire Lonesome Cry out of Up And Away, Sizzle Em Up, Dum Didee Dum and Away We Go are trained for Sinnott by her husband Tom while she has Solitary Lad and Lone Star – who ran the quinella in this year’s John Reid Memorial – placed with Richard Clayfield of Glenroy.

Sizzle Em Up, lining up from box one in heat one of the classic after a recent maiden win over 450 metres at Warrnambool, took the lead going out of the first turn with maiden performer Xtreme Carnage doing the chasing.

Owned at Wagga by Matt Morris and trained at Portland by Brian Weis, the son of Barcia Bale x Xtreme Gretel was an unlucky second at Warrnambool on Thursday night and in Sunday’s race it appeared as if his luck was still out when he knuckled over shortly after the start.

But the 34 kilogram fawn dog quickly picked himself up and finished the race off strongly to grab Sizzle Em Up in the shadows of the post for a neck win in 30.52 seconds – Weis now looking to go one better than in 2015 when he finished second in the Winter Classic with Houdini Spell behind Cee Me Burst.

Winter Classic heat winner Xtreme Carnage pictured with Brian and Sally Weis and their grandchildren Alex and Zoe.

Lektra Stomp, the short-priced favourite for the opening heat after a brilliant 29.67 seconds win late last month, found trouble on the first turn before hanging on for third spot and grabbing a place in the final as one of the two fastest third placegetters.

And storming home to finish fourth was Over And Away who went extremely close to giving the Sinnott litter six runners in the final.

Dum Didee Dum found the front going out of the first turn in the second heat while Solitary Lad gave chase before railing through on the home turn and grabbing a half head slogging win in 30.47 seconds.

For Clayfield, it was a case of continuing success with Up And Away stock after winning 10 races, including a dead-heat with Boolite Bruiser in the 2015 Iron Dog at Tara Raceway, with the powerful chaser Upset Boy (by Velocette).

So, after the running of the first two classic heats, Tom Sinnott had two finalists, both of which had run desperately close seconds.

That was soon to change though with Away We Go – a quick 29.92 seconds winner last month – lining up from box three in the third heat and, after only being fairly away, splitting the leaders Lone Star and Bungaloo Ruby down the back before running out a 3¼ length winner over Galactic Panther with a further half length back to Lone Star in a best of day 30.15 seconds.

Robert Chuck and his promising youngster Galactic Panther who is through to the Winter Classic final.

Up And Away, a daughter of Where’s Pedro x On Shore, won 19 races and $184,000 in prizemoney prior to being mated on five occasions, other successful litters being by Dyna Lachlan, Barcia Bale and Premier Fantasy.

With the exception of Lektra Stomp, a July 2015 son of Walk Hard x Lektra Angie, the Winter Classic finalists are at the younger end of the age scale – the Up And Away finalists whelped in November 2015, Extreme Carnage in December 2015 and Galactic Panther a January 2016 son of Milldean Panther x Galactic Rumball.

Galactic Panther, who will be eligible for next February’s Summer Classic (for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2016) turned in a terrific effort in Sunday’s heat.

Bred, owned and trained at Moorak by Robert Chuck, the black dog went into the classic with only three starts to his name – two wins and a second, all over 400 metres.

Chuck had trialled Galactic Panther only once over 512 metres leading into Sunday’s race but he finished the race off strongly to clock 30.38 seconds, the second best time of the three heats, while Lone Star’s 30.41 seconds was the third fastest.


Guy holds strong hand in Iron Dog

Monday, September 18, 2017

Horsham trainer Jeff Guy looks to hold a strong hand in this Sunday’s Iron Dog final (512 m) after Frac Geek ended the two qualifying rounds with maximum points while Paraphernalia snuck into the final with an outstanding win in heat four over 400 metres on Sunday.

Frac Geek goes into Sunday’s Iron Dog final as the leading point scorer for Horsham trainer Jeff Guy.

Paraphernalia, a former Tara Raceway 600 metre track record holder and sub-30 second 512 metre winner, needed a first or second finish on Sunday to ensure a place in the final after running only fourth in last week’s middle-distance round.

At what was his first run over the distance at Tara Raceway, the fawn son of Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco led all the way from box four to clock 22.83 seconds – less than a length outside Cryer’s Ricky’s record of 22.78 seconds.

Frac Geek, another sub-30 second 512 metre winner, impressed with an all the way win in 23.25 seconds while Lee Bartholomew’s Azumi Swift, who boasts an impressive 29.84 seconds over the 512 metre journey, turned in a top effort when running 23.12 seconds and bringing up her ninth win.

Deb Hicks and Azumi Swift.

Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, successful in last year’s Iron Dog with Old Jock, will be represented in Sunday’s final by Hit The Runway who ran Paraphernalia to 1½ lengths when clocking a quick 22.92 seconds himself to finish second in Sunday’s final Iron Dog heat.

Iron Dog top point scorers: Frac Geek (Jeff Guy) 16; Cryer’s Plugger (Tom Cryer), Jen Shen (Tony Harding) 15; Azumi Swift (Lee Bartholomew), Bekim Lucy’s (Tracie Price), Hit The Runway (Nicole Stanley) 14; Lektra Destiny (Barry Shepheard), Paraphernalia (Jeff Guy) 13.