SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, November 25 with GRSA. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, November 26 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.
Monday, November 21, 2016
Kennelmates Glenville Jester and Slipper’s Shadow ran right up to their winning heat form of last week when fighting out the Newman McDonnell Memorial final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
Noted more as a short-course specialist, Slipper’s Shadow, a big, boisterous 36½ kilogram son of Cosmic Rumble x Slipper’s Tonic, not surprisingly quickly found the front from box six and down the back straight was a clear leader over Smart Maxwell and Glenville Jester.
Slipper’s Shadow turned for home in front but in a desperate finish it was Glenville Jester who grabbed the decision by a half head with Smart Maxwell not far back in third spot in a time of 30.27 seconds.
For Glenville Jester, a son of Vapour Whirl and Glenville Maggie, it was his third successive win at Tara Raceway and completed a remarkable turnaround in form for the black dog which is owned by Dale Lewis, Kevin Clayfield and his brother Richard who trains the winner and runner-up at Glenroy.
Only last month Glenville Jester had strung together some pretty ordinary performances over 600 metres which resulted in him finding his way into Pathway Racing for greyhounds having run outside a nominated time standard at their past four starts.
But the Pathway race obviously turned out to be a real confidence-booster with an easy 512 metre win preceding last week’s equally as easy McDonnell Memorial heat win.
Clayfield’s decision to step Slipper’s Shadow up in distance also seems to be paying off with the half-brother to Adelaide Cup winner Ernie Bung Arrow giving plenty of cheek on Sunday at only his sixth attempt over the 512 metre journey for owners Barry Jones and Mike Wiese.
And what about the five-year-old Smart Maxwell, a winner of close to $80,000, who jumped from box one as a $2.30 favourite when having his 142nd start.
Owned by Len Jones and trained at Horsham by Helen Hartigan, the beautifully bred son of Mogambo x Off Springer was always on the pace and eventually went down by only a half length.
It turned out to be a big day for Clayfield. Not only did he win his first McDonnell Memorial after a long involvement in greyhound racing he also was successful in the last race, the JB Irrigation Stake (400 m), with Slipper’s Chance (a litter sister to Slipper’s Shadow) in a best of day time of 23.11 seconds.
Part-owner Lewis also recalled his family’s involvement with Newman McDonnell who had actually given them one of their early greyhounds in Baranita, a daughter of Top Kabana and Baratena.
“Some things mean a lot on a greyhound track,” said Lewis. “Today’s win was one of them.”
FENNELL’S GOOD YEAR CONTINUES
Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell’s good year continued at Tara Raceway on Sunday when give away greyhound John Limes and Black Peer won the opening two events.
By Banjo Boy x Nicky’s Moment, John Limes is now raced by Fennell and John Hawker with the win coming on the back of two recent minor placings.
Having his eighth race start, the black dog was only fairly away from box four in the Produce Store Maiden Stake (512 m) but gained a rails run going into the first turn before taking over the running down the back straight.
John Limes finished the race off well, running out a two length winner over Gee She Roks with Azumi Spice a further 2¼ lengths back in third spot in a handy time of 30.57 seconds.
Gee She Roks, a February 2015 daughter of Cape Hawke and Freestyle Lass (a maiden bitch by Premier Fantasy x Mrs Trickett), ran a good race on debut for owner Ross Schurgott and Allendale East trainer David Peckham and looks to be a coming winner.
Black Peer, which last won when in a Pathway back on September 23, once again appreciated the drop back in class in Sunday’s Pathway over 400 metres.
Away well from box four, the son of Cape Hawke x Sick Money settled in second spot early behind Red River Rufus before finishing too powerfully – much to the delight of veteran owner Ray Keating who was on course – to score by three-quarters of a length over the early leader.
Fennell’s early double consolidated his fourth spot on the Leading Trainers’ list and took his total winners this year to 25.
STANLEY PUTS IN THE HARD YARDS AND MOUNT GAMBIER WINS THE COUNTRY CUP
Portland trainer Nicole Stanley’s long trip to Strathalbyn last week to trial Mount Gambier’s SA Country Cup representative Berry Bling on the Strathalbyn track paid dividends on Sunday night when the black bitch led all the way from box six in the $5000-to-the-winner feature.
For Stanley, currently sitting in second spot behind Tracie Price on the Tara Raceway Leading Trainers’ list, Berry Bling was her first runner at the Southern Raceway.
An $8.50 chance, the daughter of Lochinvar Marlow x Lady Bling had 2¼ lengths to spare on the line over Strathalbyn representative Scottish Thistle with a further 1½ lengths back in third spot to Memory Assassin (Gawler) in 31.66 seconds for the 536 metre journey.
Mount Gambier’s other representative, Fear The Rascal, experienced trouble on the first turn when running wide and finished in fifth spot for owner Don Nunn and Price.
However, connections would have been pleased when Fear The Rascal’s litter brother, Shannah’s Might (Fear Zafonic x Shannah’s Star) found form at Tara Raceway earlier in the day.
A $5 chance from box six in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), Shannah’s Might took the lead going into the back straight and from then on never looked like being beaten, eventually running out a three length winner over Redda in a best of day 30.03 seconds.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
Greyhound racing participants both sides of the border were saddened this week to learn of the sudden death of Peter Hubbard, of Grassmere.
His involvement with Tara Raceway went back a number of years and included Mount Gambier Cup success in 2008 with Maxwell Stanley.
In the ensuing years whenever he lobbed in Mount Gambier with dogs to race you always knew they were going to be very hard to beat.
Last year’s Christmas meeting saw one of his Superman x Baurna Molly youngsters in Cairnlea Lewis raise the bar as far as the Royal Fashion Maiden (512 metres) was concerned when running out a 12½ length winner in race record time of 30.18 seconds.
On September 18 he returned with Cairnlea Lewis who clocked a sizzling 29.77 seconds while another of his dogs in Little Showgun was also successful.
Five days later Little Showgun won again. This would be his last time at Tara Raceway.
On this day he had spoken with much anticipation of his April 2015 pups by Premier Fantasy out of Cairnlea Ellie, a daughter of Mogambo x Della Bale which had raced on 43 occasions for 19 wins and eight minor placings.
And in March this year she had whelped to Bekim Bale. There had been much to look forward to.
His visits to Tara Raceway, his polite manner of conversing and his genuine appreciation of the efforts of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club will be missed.
Vale Peter Hubbard – just a really nice bloke – gone much too soon at 56.
NEW CALLER AT TARA RACEWAY
The new voice behind the microphone at last Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting was that of Mark Mathews.
For the 34-year-old Adelaide-based Mathews, it was his first time at the Mount Gambier greyhound track and the first full meeting that he had called.
Currently employed on a part-time basis, he has been rostered to call more local greyhound racing meetings this year.
Mathews decided in late 2012 to pursue his burning ambition of becoming a race caller and by early 2014 had picked up a three-month contract to call races at Pioneer Park in Alice Springs.
“I certainly enjoyed calling my first meeting today,” he said. “And while I’m comfortable with the greyhounds, ultimately I’m looking to call all three codes, thereby hopefully giving myself more of a chance of picking up a full-time gig in the competitive world of race calling.”
‘THEY CAN’T TEACH ME ANYTHING . . .’
“I’ve been a trainer for years – they can’t teach me anything . . .”
How often are we going to hear that statement in relation to the forthcoming Trainers’ Workshops?
Well, all current Greyhound Racing SA licensed trainers will be required to attend the compulsory workshop in order to align with a national approach benchmarking minimum standards of competency. In future, this level of competency will form part of the re-licensing requirements.
The Mount Gambier workshops will be conducted on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 and Wednesday, January 11, 2017 with a choice of three time slots – 9 a.m.-12 noon, 1.30 p.m.-4.30 p.m., 6 p.m.-9 p.m. – on either day.
The three-hour workshops, which will be conducted by Dr Jane McNicholl, will be delivered in small groups of six in a relaxed, casual environment and cover both theory and practical skills.
An enrolment pack (contact Renee at GRSA on 08 8243 7113) will need to be completed and returned three days prior to attending the workshop.
So, upon completion of the workshop, which will include health care, nutritional requirements and education and training of greyhounds, trainers will receive a nationally recognised Statement of Attainment certificate which will then need to be provided when licences are renewed.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Mount Gambier representatives Fear The Rascal and Berry Bling, despite drawing awkwardly, look top chances in Sunday night’s SA Country Cup final (536 metres) at Strathalbyn’s Southern Raceway.
Raced by Don Nunn and trained at Compton by Tracie Price, Fear The Rascal, who has drawn box two in the $5000-to-the-winner race, is better suited out wide.
However, the son of Fear Zafonic x Shannah’s Star is racing in rare form, having won his past three starts at Tara Raceway including a best of day 29.95 seconds when successful in a Country Cup heat over 512 metres.
Despite a race record of 47 starts for 19 wins and 18 minor placings, Fear The Rascal has raced on only one occasion at Strathalbyn although Price believes he’s ready to run a big race.
“He’s only ever run over 416 metres at Strathalbyn and I had considered giving him another run there before the final,” he said.
“He’s been checked out and is pretty good so in the end I decided to keep him up to the mark with some free galloping. I’m confident he’ll give a good sight for Mount Gambier.”
The Price-trained Lyon Rose will represent Strathalbyn after winning that club’s heat on October 21. The black bitch has since run second and fifth at Tara Raceway.
Berry Bling, who has drawn box six, will be the first Strathalbyn runner for long-time trainer Nicole Stanley, of Portland.
The black bitch won her heat in outstanding style in 30.01 seconds with Stanley then opting to make the long drive to Strathalbyn last week in order to give Berry Bling a run on the track – and that in itself wasn’t without its share of complications.
“There were a few issues,” Stanley said. “At one stage it looked like the trials wouldn’t go ahead but fortunately after something like a two-hour delay we were able to trial her.
“I thought she trialled quite well although she’s the sort of dog that generally needs a few runs on a track. Unfortunately there wasn’t time to slip another run in.”
Price will be chasing his second Country Cup after Moorak Hope was successful at Gawler in 2013.
And Moorak Hope produced her first winner last Sunday when Left Moment, at only his second race start, stormed home to score over 400 metres.
By Cosmic Rumble, Left Moment is also trained by Price who tells the story of how the black dog came to be named.
“He was actually purchased as a pup from Moorak breeder Allan Holmes and was on my property to be reared.
“The only trouble was that the would-be purchaser did a runner without paying so I fixed up Allan and kept him myself.
“And when it came to naming him I figured seeing I had been left with him I may as well call him Left Moment (Moment being the tag most of Price’s greyhounds race with).”
Price said the win had been a real surprise after his first start the previous week when he had been really lost in a field.
Left Moment will now line up in the appropriately-named Trackside Meats Stake (400 m) on Sunday from box one in what will be a further test for the April 2015 youngster.
VETERAN TRAINER ON TRACK FOR FIRST MEMORIAL WIN
Veteran Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield looks a good chance of taking out his first Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 m) at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
In what will be the 31st running of the time-honoured event, the McDonnell Memorial has brought together a good field of grade five greyhounds with Clayfield well represented with Slipper’s Shadow and Glenville Jester.
Glenville Jester, in particular, after drawing box eight, looks well placed to bring up a hat-trick of wins for Clayfield and part-owners Dale Lewis and Kevin Clayfield.
The son of Vapour Whirl x Glenville Maggie enjoyed a confidence-boosting win in a recent Pathway before going right on with the job from box eight in a heat of the Memorial last Sunday.
A quick look at the history of local greyhound racing reveals that on September 14, 1972 a public meeting was held at the Mount Gambier City Hall to form the SE Greyhound Racing Club.
At this meeting Newman McDonnell was elected to the committee as was Eric Lewis (the father of Glenville Jester’s part-owner) with both gentlemen later serving as club president.
Smart Maxwell, trained at Horsham by Helen Hartigan, is the story of the race.
He’s the five-year-old half-brother to Banjo Boy who will be going around on Sunday for the 142nd time and chasing his 22nd win.
Smart Maxwell was well beaten by Glenville Jester in last Sunday’s heat but that was his first look at the track and he’ll jump from box one – seven wins and seven minor placings from 19 starts – in the final.
Monday, November 14, 2016
Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield completed a clean sweep of the Newman McDonnell Memorial heats (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon when Slipper’s Shadow and Glenville Jester scored emphatic wins in the time-honoured feature race heats.
In Clayfield’s kennels since early this year, Slipper’s Shadow, a 36 kilogram son of Cosmic Rumble x Slipper’s Tonic had won nine races over the 400 metre journey but had been raced sparingly over 512 metres.
However, a couple of handy minor placings at his past two starts over the longer journey had the black dog’s trainer deciding on a run in the McDonnell Memorial heats.
A rain-soaked track was the only thing worrying Clayfield, although Slipper’s Shadow, after opening up a big break mid-race, was travelling like a winner a long way from home with the $3 favourite ultimately bringing up his first 512 metre win by 4½ lengths over Smirnoff Lass in a time of 30.68 seconds.
Filling third and fourth spots were Penny Eagle and Jen Shen which have also made their way through to Sunday’s final – the 31st running of the event.
For Glenville Jester, out of the winner’s list for four months prior to last week’s Wednesday meeting, it was a case of two wins in the space of four days with the son of Vapour Whirl x Glenville Maggie obviously deriving plenty from a confidence point of view when contesting a Pathway Stake (512 m) at the mid-week fixture.
On that occasion he took advantage of a huge drop in class, in what was the first 512 metre Pathway to be run at Tara Raceway, to find the front going out of the first turn before powering away to a 7¾ length win in 30.21 seconds.
And on Sunday, Glenville Jester found the front going out of the first turn in the second heat of the grade five feature before running out a 6¾ length winner over Smart Maxwell in a best of day 30.18 seconds with Lektra Destiny and Gassy’s Pride making up the final eight.
Smart Maxwell, trained at Horsham by Helen Hartigan and having his first race start at Tara Raceway, was the interesting runner in the race.
By Mogambo out of Off Springer, the five-year-old black dog came into the race with 140 starts to his name for 21 wins, 42 minor placings and almost $80,000 in prizemoney.
Smart Maxwell is one of an outstanding litter which also includes Echelonic Action (141, 16, 46, $91,000), Mechatronic (114, 17, 29, $50,000), Go Mobo (87, 25, 25, $100,000) and Sweet It Is (65, 23, 22, $945,000).
Earlier in the day, the Hartigan trained Rowdy Richard, a litter brother to Glenville Jester, came from a long way back in the Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (600 m) to run a two length second to Old Jock in 35.89 second.
LITTER CONTINUES ON WINNING WAY
Meanwhile, the win of Brae’s Girl in the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 metres) at Tara Raceway on Wednesday resulted in the six members of the Kinloch Brae x Obama’s Girl litter to race having now all won.
Others to have previously won for Woolsthorpe breeder-trainer Nifty Lenehan are King Obama, Moth Attack, Optic Bray, Rising Girl and Herbilly which also won again on Wednesday.
Having her sixth race start, Brae’s Girl took full advantage of box one when leading all the way to defeat first-starter Snizort by 3½ lengths in 23.61 seconds.
And Herbilly, a beaten favourite at her previous start, made amends when chasing Raz’s Girl into the home straight before finishing too strongly for a 2¼ length win in a best of day 23.20 seconds.
This was the second litter-training double for Lenehan in the space of a couple of weeks after Herbilly and Optic Bray had been successful at Tara Raceway on October 23.
Speaking after the wins on Wednesday, Lenehan said he was now looking at trying the pair over more ground.
“Obama’s Girl won a couple of races at The Meadows over 600 metres and a 550 metre at Ballarat so there’s a bit of strength in the pedigree,” he said.
Jeff Guy also landed a double after Snap Hook and McRay continued the Horsham trainer’s amazing strike rate at the Mount Gambier track.
Snap Hook opened his local winning account when finishing too strongly for kennelmate Brazen Beau – which has since joined the Tarpeena kennels of David Williams – running out a three-quarter length winner in 23.70 seconds.
Four-year-old McRay punched through on the first turn to take the lead in the Gordon Refrigeration Open Stake (512 m) and then held off a determined Homer to win by three-quarters of a length in a best of day 30.12 seconds.
It was the start of a couple of good days for Guy who followed up with an outstanding win with Tara Raceway 600 metre record holder Paraphernalia at Warrnambool the following night in the Kermonds Hamburgers Special Event (650 m).
Chasing a hat-trick after wins over 660 metres at Bendigo and 595 metres at Sandown Park, the son of Big Daddy Cool and Scrappy Coco collected $3295 after leading all the way.
And Snap Hook, after settling in second spot early, was able to “beat the grader” in the Allestree Holiday Units Stake (400 m) at Sunday’s meeting when scoring by 1¼ lengths over Lektra Timon in 23.72 seconds.
By Fabregas x Maureen Return’s, the January 2015 whelping was bred by Guy who now trains the black dog for the Badspot Racing Syndicate.
Managed by Stephen Wik of the Horsham-based Locks Constructions, the syndicate comprises 10 local Horsham businessmen who have become involved in greyhound racing for the first time.
As Guy tells it, getting the group involved in the sport was simply a matter of knocking on Stephen Wik’s door at Locks Constructions.
“I offered them the pup free of charge and it didn’t take long for a syndicate of 10 to be formed,” he said. “All up, it’s cost them about $300 each to get Snap Hook to the track.
“For the Badspot boys it’s been a terrific introduction to greyhound racing with Snap Hook having now won four races and run two minor placings from only eight starts.”
Guy said the syndicate was now keen to undertake a “road trip” to Mount Gambier and enjoy a day at the track when their dog was nominated for Tara Raceway.
Thursday, November 10, 2016
By his own lofty standards, 2016 hasn’t been the greatest of years for long-time greyhound trainer Cap Abbott of Edenhope.
But Abbott drove into Mount Gambier’s Tara Raceway on Wednesday morning confident that he had the dogs and the right box draws to give him the sort of day that had been a while coming.
And after Irka Jakit’s win in the first, the ClassicBet Maiden Stake (512 metres), things only got better with Blazin’ Vicky and Late One Night both winning later in the day and giving the veteran trainer his best day at the track in close to five years.
Irka Jakit’s all-the-way win continued the good run Abbott is enjoying with Tom Price mines chaplain John Dihm who some 15 months ago out of the blue had made contact.
“I never really thought any more about the call but about six months later John was on the phone again and the association has just gone on from there,” he said.
By Fabregas out of 11-race winner Another Request, Irka Jakit, which had been purchased by Dihm as a pup, later arrived at Edenhope with a very good breaking-in report.
“The only problem with her at the time was that she was very timid,” Abbott said. “But she soon got over that trait.
“To be honest I was pleasantly surprised when she ran 30.87 seconds at her first trial over 512 metres at Tara Raceway. In fact, she’s the quickest pup I’ve had first up over that distance.”
Whelped in February 2015, the 26 kilogram black bitch – a litter sister to Lobster Falls which has had 10 starts in Tasmania for five wins and four minor placings – is likely to next run in a grade six at Tara Raceway before venturing to Angle Park.
Abbott, who had a small all-up bet running with Irka Jakit, Late One Night and Rico Jakit, chose to exclude Blazin’ Vicky, a $19 chance in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m).
A 600 metre winner last month at Tara Raceway, Blazin’ Vicky couldn’t hold out Lektra Boss going into the back straight but finished strongly in the run home to defeat Gassy’s Pride and the early leader in a handy 30.23 seconds.
Late One Night, an Angle Park 515 metre winner in 29.96 seconds in April, later found his way down to Abbott – the sixth trainer to have a crack with him – after losing all form and being eligible for Pathway Racing.
“He’d trialled pretty well when I put him around Tara Raceway but I’d had a few weight issues with him so opted for the 400 metres today although I reckon he’ll get 600 metres,” he said.
Having his first start at the track, the son of Collision x Western Pearl was slowly away from box two in the Pathway Stake before railing through and finishing too strongly for Our Spinner in 23.71 seconds.
Abbott’s treble was the best day he’d had at the track since March 25, 2012 when the Kevin Mugavin trained Rich Shiraz won the Mount Gambier Cup.
On that particular day Paramount Steel won the Produce Store Feature Maiden (512 m), Cool Pick a Mount Gambier Cup Consolation (512 m) while Surfin’ Flirt and Paramount Lee both dead-heated for first in their respective events.
So the all-up bet came down to Rico Jakit which had drawn box one in the final race – the Klaassens Contractors Stake (400 m).
However, it was Herbilly, trained by Nifty Lenehan who was also enjoying a good day, that impressed with a 23.20 seconds best of day win after litter sister Brae’s Girl had earlier opened her winning account in the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m).
Rico Jakit ran fifth so that was the end of the all-up although Abbott wasn’t overly concerned.
“It’s still been a bloody good day.”
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
With a 9½ point lead in the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year, four-year-old chaser Old Jock looks a fair chance of holding on for owner Jock Middleton and trainer Nicole Stanley.
The 36 kilogram son of Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze is a winner of nine races this year at Tara Raceway and together with 15 minor placings has accumulated 62 points.
And Old Jock, which will go around tomorrow for a 95th time, looks likely to hit the hundred this year with eight more meetings to be run after tomorrow.
In second place is the David Peckham trained Fred Of Lidsdale, off the scene for a couple of weeks, while Old Jock’s kennelmate Mr Caudo is only a point behind in third spot.
The kennelmates will clash tomorrow in the Berringa Park Masters (400 m) with Mr Caudo seemingly looking to be better suited by the short-course.
Another one likely to pick up points tomorrow is the Barry Shepheard owned and trained Galactic Viper which is sitting in fourth spot on 50 points.
Galactic Viper, a winner of seven races at the track this year, looks well placed in the Gordon Refrigeration Open Stake (512 m) from box seven.
Also on 50 points is Real Moment which won’t race again but bowed out with an outstanding local record this year of 11 wins and four minor placings.
Other greyhounds currently in the top 10 are Fear The Rascal, Cryer’s Fred, Slipper’s Shadow, Evening In Paris and Marlow Moment.
Recent GOTY winners include: 2012 Maldini’s Motion (Cass Billington), 2013 Just Humphrey (Lee Bartholomew), 2014 Rouse Flyer (Barry Shepheard), 2015 Cryer’s Fred (Tom Cryer).
With the SA Country Cup final to be run at Strathalbyn on Sunday week, there’s a couple of young greyhounds making a timely debut tomorrow at Tara Raceway – Left Moment in the JB Irrigation Maiden (400 m) and Snizort in the Rock’s Retreat Maiden (400 m).
Whelped in April 2015, the pair is by Cosmic Rumble out of Moorak Hope, being bred at Moorak by Allan Holmes and now trained at Compton by Tracie Price.
By Bond x Loveless Girl, Moorak Hope won nine races in a 41-race career.
And in what was a big night for SE greyhound racing – not to mention Holmes and Price – the highlight of her career was her all-the-way win in the 2013 SA Country Cup final (531 m) at Gawler.
In the same race as Snizort is another Price-trained dog called Rooftop Romeo which fell on debut at Tara Raceway last month.
He’s by Banjo Boy x Nicky’s Moment and wouldn’t connections be happy if they could come up with one to match the ability of his namesake from an era long gone.
Trained at Horsham by Barbara Lovitt, the original Rooftop Romeo raced on 86 occasions between early 1997 and mid-2000 for 30 wins and 21 minor placings.
By Wild Pirate, he was out of Spiritual Lady, a half-sister to the legendary Highly Blessed.
Monday, November 7, 2016
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club will be well-represented in the forthcoming SA Country Cup final at Strathalbyn after Berry Bling and Fear The Rascal won their respective 512 metre heats at Tara Raceway last Friday.
An odds-on chance after the scratching of Cryer’s Fred, Berry Bling quickly found the front from box four and from then on never looked like being beaten, eventually running out an eight length winner over Spotted Gunn in 30.01 seconds – a top time considering the windy conditions.
By Lochinvar Marlow x Lady Bling, Berry Bling has now won six races from 25 starts for Portland owner-trainer Nicole Stanley who currently sits in second spot behind Tracie Price in the Leading Trainers’ award.
The Country Cup final will be run over 536 metres in conjunction with the Strathalbyn Cup on the night of Sunday, November 20 and Stanley intends giving Berry Bling every chance in the $7375 event.
“I’ve never raced at Strathalbyn and she’ll certainly need to have a look at what is apparently a tricky track so she’ll have a trial there prior to Sunday week,” Stanley said after Berry Bling’s stunning heat win.
The Price-trained Fear The Rascal, ideally drawn in box eight in the second heat, was also an odds-on chance and after finding the front going into the back straight ran out a 4¼ length winner over Fiorelli Rose in a best of day 29.95 seconds.
A winner of nine races at Tara Raceway this year, the white and blue son of Fear Zafonic x Shannah’s Star is owned locally by the breeder Don Nunn.
Fear The Rascal, which has raced at Strathalbyn on only once occasion for a fourth placing over 416 metres in late September, may race at the track as a lead-up to the final.
“I haven’t really decided what I’ll do with him yet but at this stage I reckon a race start there for prizemoney is probably more advantageous than a trial,” the Compton-based trainer said.
Price will now have two representatives in the Country Cup final after Lyon Rose defeated the Michael Stewart trained Scottish Thistle in the Strathalbyn heat on October 21.
And with Gustavo Fring running second to He’s Innocent in Port Augusta’s heat over 503 metres last week, the Palmer-based Stewart will also have two representatives.
Trained at Lewiston by Don Turner, He’s Innocent ran a 1½-length second over 512 metres at Tara Raceway on September 23 to Berry Bling in a best of day 29.99 seconds.
Gawler will be represented by the Damien Bates trained Memory Assassin and Jokowi which is trained by Ken Trowbridge.
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Jeff Guy has made plenty of trips over to Mount Gambier from Horsham but Friday’s was a little different.
Travelling with brother Terry, Guy had Brazen Fool, Frac Geek and McRay engaged at the Tara Raceway meeting with the trip going smoothly until they swiped a young kangaroo.
“He headed off into the scrub although from the way he was travelling it didn’t look like he would get too far,” Guy said.
“We followed the roo into the scrub and soon rounded him up and carried him back to the car before continuing on our journey to Mount Gambier.
“Maybe he was shell-shocked, I don’t know, but he was certainly easy to handle and travelled well in the back of the car.”
So, after an eventful morning, the young marsupial was dropped off at a local veterinary surgery before Guy headed to Tara Raceway only to be met with another surprise – Frac Geek, a last start Bendigo winner and his best chance of the day, was on season and duly scratched.
But it’s not too often that the publican-turned-greyhound trainer leaves Tara Raceway without a winner and Brazen Fool duly stepped up to the plate in the Produce Store Stake (512 metres).
Away well from box four, the daughter of Big Daddy Cool and prolific producer Scrappy Coco led all the way to defeat Smirnoff Lass, which turned in a solid effort, by 2¼ lengths in a time of 30.48 seconds.
Guy actually went pretty close to landing a running double when rising four-year-old McRay went down by a head in the Allestree Holiday Units Mixed Stake (512 m).
By Knocka Norris x Kalden Geisha, the fawn and white dog took full advantage of the vacant box next to him after kennelmate Frac Geek’s late scratching when finding a forward spot early and finishing strongly along the rails to run second to Cool Whipp.
McRay’s last win was at Tara Raceway on October 9 when he was part of a Guy running treble.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Following the success of middle-distance racing (600 metres) at Tara Raceway, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club is now hopeful of re-introducing 732 metre racing at the Lake Terrace East track.
The last 732 metre race run was on Mount Gambier Cup day on March 9, 2014 when the Brendan Bunworth trained Maccaboy defeated Crymelon Sunrise and You Got It in a time of 44.25 seconds.
The track record is currently held by the Robert Britton trained Nellie Noodles which clocked a flying 43.45 seconds back on March 27, 2011 when defeating Bowstreet Secret by 17½ lengths.
The introduction of 600 metre racing at Tara Raceway in June 2014 saw the end of the longer distance – which had always been one of the highlights of cup day – and the virtual banishment of the 277 metre/732 metre starting boxes to the scrapheap.
These days, such is the condition of the boxes, they aren’t even able to be used for trial mornings when 277 metre hit-outs were once popular with trainers of young greyhounds starting out their careers.
But MGGRC secretary/treasurer Barry Shepheard said this week the club was hopeful of being able to acquire another set of starting boxes.
“It looks highly likely that we’ll be able to secure a set in good condition from one of the Victorian tracks,” he said.
“The concrete slab and cover are already in place so it wouldn’t be a huge job to replace the boxes.”
And while 732 metre racing had never been a regular fixture at Tara Raceway, Shepheard said the club believed 600 metre racing would now complement the longer distance.
“When 732 metre racing was last programmed here there was no in-between distance – greyhounds had to step up from 512 metres – but with 600 metre events now being run there is more of a progression.
“We are hoping with the right promotion and prizemoney that distance racing can be re-invented at Tara Raceway and become an integral part of our calendar.”
CHRISTMAS CUP MEETING COMES OF AGE
Tara Raceway’s Christmas meeting really came of age last year.
MC extraordinaire Kevin “KD” Douglas was on track, long-time Royal Fashion Maiden sponsor Milla Laddrak threw her support behind another feature event, the Fashion D’Or Ladies Bracelet, and a terrific field contested the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup.
From a racing point of view, one couldn’t have hoped for a better meeting. The Royal Fashion, first run and won in 2007 by the Dean Fennell trained Leeor Trev, has unearthed a few handy winners – Don’t Panic, Moorak Hope and Manila Express quickly coming to mind.
But there haven’t been too many more impressive winners than the Peter Hubbard trained Cairnlea Lewis which scored a 12½ length win in 30.18 seconds in last year’s final.
Tracie Price picked up the inaugural Ladies Bracelet when Pintail scored by a nose to defeat Ray Mahony’s Tear Away Babe and ended the day with a feature race double after Fear The Rascal had scored an emphatic win in the Christmas Cup.
The cup was first run in 2011 when won by David Peckham’s Napoleon Wiz. The Allen Williams trained Lika Gem followed up the next year before another Peckham-trained greyhound in Bourne Again defeated Price’s Flaming Gold in what was a real two-dog war.
The 2014 Christmas Cup was won by the Price’s smart bitch Who’s Doing What before last year’s cup saw Fear The Rascal defeat Tear Away Moon and Upset Boy by 6½ lengths in 30.09 seconds.
This year’s Christmas meeting will be run on Sunday, December 18 with heats for all events being conducted on Friday, December 9.
And KD will be back again to take us through a 12-race card that will be highlighted by the finals of the $2500 Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 m), the $2100 Fashion D’Or Ladies Bracelet for grade five bitches (400 m), the $1500 Royal Fashion Maiden (512 m) and the $1800 Rock’s Retreat Grade Five Christmas Challenge (600 m).
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
With two strong six-dog heats to be run at Tara Raceway on Friday afternoon, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club looks set to be well represented in this year’s SA Country Cup final.
The two heat winners will then head to Strathalbyn on Sunday, November 20 and join representatives from Gawler, Strathalbyn and Port Augusta to contest the $7375 final over 536 metres.
Representing Gawler are Memory Assassin, which has since clocked 29.99 seconds for the 515 metre journey at Angle Park when winning a grade five final, and Jokowi, which followed up with a fourth at Gawler the week after the Country Cup heats.
And local trainer Tracie Price has already booked his ticket to Strathalbyn after Lyon Rose won the right to represent that club with a stirring win over Scottish Thistle in 31.99 seconds.
Lyon Rose, which continues to race well, turned in a top effort at Tara Raceway last Friday when leading until the home turn in The Border Watch Mixed Stake (512 m) before going down by only a couple of lengths to local Country Cup aspirant Homer.
The Port Augusta representatives were decided at the club’s Melbourne Cup meeting with the first two placegetters to make the trip to Strathalbyn.
In the first heat of the Mount Gambier division, two of the main hopes look to be box four runner Berry Bling and Cryer’s Fred, well drawn in the eight, which fought out a mixed stake over 512 metres at Tara Raceway on October 23.
On that occasion the Nicole Stanley trained Berry Bling quickly found the front from box seven and was never headed, eventually holding on to win by three-quarters of a length in a best of day 30.11 seconds.
Cryer’s Fred, trained by Tom Cryer, raced again last Friday, finishing fourth to Homer after finding plenty of trouble on the first turn, while Berry Bling also returned, stepping up to the 600 metre journey and running second after experiencing little luck throughout.
Fear The Rascal, Homer and Breakwater Bay – all winners at last Friday’s meeting – will clash in the second heat.
Fear The Rascal comes into the race on the back of two 400 metre wins at Tara Raceway and being beautifully drawn on Friday in box eight Price looks a great chance of lining up at Strathalbyn with representatives for two clubs.
He will also be attempting to win another Country Cup after Moorak Hope defeated Perfect Life in 2013 at Gawler in a time of 31.24 seconds for the 531 metres.
Portland trainer Robert Halliday is also chasing another Country Cup after Tickets Please had won at Gawler in 2008.
Halliday has had the Country Cup earmarked for a while now with Homer, which has drawn box four tomorrow, and the white and black dog couldn’t have been more impressive when running down Lyon Rose in 30.35 seconds last week.
Breakwater Bay did the job well when leading all the way last Friday in the ClassicBet Stake (512 m), bringing up his third win from 11 starts for Portland breeder-owner-trainer Andy Graham who now has his sights set on a first-time trip to Strathalbyn.
The fawn dog has drawn box two in what will be a decided step up in class for the promising youngster although being an on-pace runner he should be able to put himself into the race early.
The last Country Cup run at Strathalbyn was in 2014 when David Peckham’s kennelmates Thanks Tubby and Bourne Again represented Mount Gambier in the final won by $30 chance Morgan McLaren.
Last year the cup was back at Gawler with Peter Franklin’s Future Past and Thanks Tubby the local representatives finding the going pretty tough against long odds-on winner My Excuse.