THURSDAY, JANUARY 30 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, January 28 with GRSA. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (T/G): Best to worst grading. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, February 3 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. NO TRIALS: Please note there will no trials on Tuesday, February 4 due to track maintenance. SATISFACTORY TRIALS: For bookings please contact Barry Shepheard on 0419 824 512.
SA-BRED GIVEAWAY – SOUND AND RACE FIT/LIGHTNING FRANK PUPS FOR SALE/TRAINER WANTED FOR A COUPLE OF DOGS CURRENTLY RACING IN VICTORIA – See “For Sale/Wanted”.
Thursday, September 8, 2016
It’s now been three years since Mount Gambier representative Moorak Hope won the SA Country Cup (531 metres) at Gawler for Moorak owner Allan Holmes and trainer Tracie Price of Compton.
This was the re-introduction of a series – albeit with considerably less country greyhound tracks to draw on – that had been spasmodically run over a number of years.
In fact, by the time 2013 came around the only real country tracks left had been Mount Gambier and Port Augusta. Long gone were tracks at Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Pirie, Kulpara and Barmera. As a result, Gawler and Strathalbyn were added to make up a working number.
But for all that, the Country Cup has added further interest to the SA racing calendar. With total prizemoney of $7375 and a breakdown of $5000, $1250, $625 and $100 for unplaced runners it’s a race well worth winning.
And while this is the SA Country Cup, conditions released this week by Greyhound Racing SA allow for non-SA trainers and their greyhounds to represent Mount Gambier provided the trainer has had starters at Tara Raceway on at least 15 occasions in the previous 12 months.
All greyhounds must have started at least twice in the past 12 months at the track they are attempting to represent and must not be above grade five at Angle Park (Monday and Thursday).
Mount Gambier’s qualifying heat/s will be run at Tara Raceway on Friday, November 4 with a maximum of two heats per club and the winners of each heat qualifying. If only one heat is run then the first two placegetters will advance to the final.
The SA Country Cup final, to be decided this year over 536 metres at Strathalbyn on Sunday, November 20, is rotated on an annual basis between Gawler and Strathalbyn and is run in conjunction with the clubs’ Cup nights.
Country Cup winners since 2013 have been Morgan McLaren and My Excuse with Price looking to play a strong hand in this year’s series.
Clashing in tomorrow’s more than handy Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway are two of his likely contenders in Real Moment and Fear The Rascal.
Having her first run back in Mount Gambier since the end of July, Real Moment impressed last Sunday in her all the way win over 512 metres in a best of day 30.16 seconds.
There will also be plenty of interest tomorrow in Price’s promising youngster Blazing Moment – already a winner at Tara Raceway and Angle Park – which will jump from box four in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) for grade six greyhounds.
ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW
Top racing, excellent on-course turnover and plenty of new faces made for a good day at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
One of the new faces was that of a gentleman from Wentworth, a small border town in the far south west of NSW.
He’d been holidaying with his wife in Mount Gambier and took the opportunity to take in a day at the dogs. A day, he assured club officials, he thoroughly enjoyed.
Not that greyhound racing was anything new to him as many years ago he had been involved in the introduction of straight track racing at Wentworth.
That was back in the 80s and a time when many owners and trainers used to make the thoroughly enjoyable trip to Wentworth over the June long weekend to take in the Wentworth Cup – heats on the Saturday, final on the Monday.
The Wentworth track is now also long gone but not so straight track racing in Victoria which continues to thrive on a weekly basis at Healesville, and beginning in November will race weekly on both Friday and Sunday.
And closer to Mount Gambier, discussions are now underway regarding a straight track at Horsham.
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
A change this year in the order of running of the three-distance Berringa Park Iron Dog series – the highlight of an excellent programme of greyhound racing at Tara Raceway on Friday afternoon – seems to have paid off for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.
The past two years have seen the finals run over 600 metres, however this year saw a first round of 600 metres, followed by 400 metres with the leading point scorers to now contest Friday’s final over 512 metres.
The Ralph Patzel trained Roarsome, which has drawn box four, heads the qualifiers with 15 points but so even is the field that any one of the eight finalists could win without surprising.
A daughter of Fear Zafonic and Ren Shen, Roarsome accumulated 15 points with a 600 metre second and a dashing 400 metre win last Sunday.
And while the January 2014 black bitch hasn’t done much wrong since joining Patzel’s kennels in May and winning eight races, the Iron Dog final will certainly be one of her biggest tests since arriving in Mount Gambier.
Gary Lane’s rising five-year-old Dee Tee charged into last year’s Iron Dog with maximum points before becoming bogged down on a rain-affected track in the 600 metre final.
A 1¾ length second over 400 metres to Dark Nemesis last Sunday gained her enough points for a second final and she’ll jump from the two – a box she has an excellent record from.
But a fair bit has happened since the daughter of El Grand Senor and Mantra Miss ran in the 2015 final – retirement, a mating and no pups, followed by a comeback in May.
Four-year-old Old Jock, a 2016 Mount Gambier Cup finalist, will jump from box seven as one of the best credentialled of the eight after a 29.75 seconds run earlier this year.
Trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley, the son of Bekim Bale and Swift Blaze struggled over 400 metres after a 600 metre win but with a Tara Raceway record of five wins and nine minor placings from 22 starts at 512 metres the black dog does look the testing material.
Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield will be hoping for further Iron Dog success, this time with Glenville Jester – another one that will be better suited by the 512 metre journey.
A son of Vapour Whirl and Glenville Maggie, Glenville Jester is the only SA-bred finalist with Clayfield looking to go marginally better than last year when Upset Boy dead-heated with Monty Wilson’s Boolite Bruiser.
Also a finalist last year, Cryer’s Jack, which has drawn awkwardly in box six, is racing well for Apsley trainer Tom Cryer and will take a power of holding out if he can find a forward spot.
And it looks like the “Cryer’s” are going to keep coming, with January 2015 whelping Cryer’s Bob, from a repeat mating of Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget, finding his way into the race book (as a reserve) for the first time on Friday.
The Iron Dog is once again sponsored by Michael Niele of Berringa Park Kennels and will also carry to the winner a Winning Formula Kennel Pack, donated by Peter Bryce of Winning Post Supplies.
CUP FINALISTS RETURN FOR GRADE 5 FEATURE
Elbow Room and Howies Flyer, finalists in July’s Anniversary Cup won by Mojito Mayhem, will clash again in the second heat of the Gordon Refrigeration Feature Grade Five (512 m).
Trained at Warracknabeal by Ian Bibby, Elbow Room, a son of College Causeway x Lavana, ran third in the cup final prior to defeating Old Jock early in August at Horsham over 480 metres and looks well drawn tomorrow in box one.
Paul Carmichael of Elliminyt returns with Howies Flyer which ran second to Galactic Viper in a heat of the Anniversary Cup before having no luck in the final.
By El Grand Senor x Irish Blossom, the brindle dog, which is not well drawn in box five tomorrow, is coming off some pretty solid form up the straight at Healesville, along with a handy 24.29 seconds 425 metre run at Bendigo.
Fascinated, owned and trained by John Cameron at Penshurst, hasn’t won since late April, but she looks well drawn in box one in the first heat.
The daughter of Hutmaker and Spellbound, and a litter sister to Tuesday night’s Horsham winner Fireball Jack, has run second at her past two 512 metre Tara Raceway starts, with plenty to like about her quarter-length second last Sunday to Real Moment in a best of day 30.16 seconds.
Box three runner Thanks Captain’s two runs back over 400 metres after a lengthy spell have been good and David Peckham’s son of Fabregas x Zadar Belle now looks ready to figure prominently over 512 metres.
And the wide-running Yucatan, which has won his past two Tara Raceway starts over 512 metres for Bibby, despite stepping up in grade and from box five also looks a good chance of making his way through to the final on Sunday, September 18.
Monday, September 5, 2016
Allendale East greyhound trainer David Peckham was the first to admit that he really had no idea how Dark Nemesis would handle the 400 metre round of the Berringa Park Iron Dog at Tara Raceway.
Dark Nemesis had gone into the second heat of Sunday’s second round with five points accrued from the previous meeting’s 600 metre opener and realistically needed a top three finish to ensure a spot in this Friday’s 512 metre final.
And the black dog proved to be the nemesis of his rivals, quickly dispelling Peckham’s doubts, when leading all the way from box one in 23.38 seconds to defeat Dee Tee by 1¾ lengths with a further 1½ lengths back to Stampy Longnose.
“He’d previously won at Tara Raceway over 512 metres and 600 metres but today was his first race start over 400 metres,” Peckham said.
By Kinloch Brae x Angel Millie, Dark Nemesis started his racing career off in Tasmania for owner Mark McIntosh before relocating early this year to Mount Gambier where he has now won four races.
For Peckham, it will be his third consecutive Iron Dog final after Thanks Tubby and Bourne Again finished third and fourth respectively behind Manila Express in 2014 while Thanks Tubby backed up again last year when running fourth behind dead-heaters Boolite Bruiser and Upset Boy.
The Ralph Patzel trained Roarsome heads into the final as the leading overall pointscorer after an all the way 23.42 seconds win over Kirsty’s Me Mum which is also through to the final as are third and fourth placegetters Cryer’s Jack and Glenville Jester.
Roarsome, a daughter of Fear Zafonic and Ren Shen, has now won eight races since joining Patzel’s Mount Gambier kennels in May and will go into the final having already won five races over 512 metres.
Through to the final for a second consecutive year are Dee Tee and Cryer’s Jack while Richard Clayfield, after dead-heating with Upset Boy last year, has qualified with Glenville Jester.
The leading Iron Dog qualifiers are: 15 Roarsome, 14 Cryer’s Jack, 13 Dark Nemesis, 12 Kirsty’s Me Mum, 12 Old Jock, 11 Glenville Jester, 11 Dee Tee, 10 Julie’s Love, 10 Stampy Longnose, 8 Jasmine Lilly.
TWO IN A ROW FOR YUCATAN
Warracknabeal chaser Yucatan once again showed his liking for Tara Raceway with an emphatic win in the Produce Store Grade Six final (512 m).
This is the dog trainer Ian Bibby originally brought to Tara Raceway to take advantage of the track’s two bends in a bid to try and curb the black dog’s tendency to run wide on the turns.
“He’d been running wide on the one-turn Horsham track,” Bibby explained. “So I thought perhaps a two-turn track might be worth a try to see if he handled it any differently.”
But despite his record of three wins from four starts over 512 metres at Tara Raceway, Yucatan is still running wide on the turns as once again emphasised in his win on Sunday.
Away well from box five, he hit the first turn in front before running wide and allowing front runner Gentle Moment to take the lead.
But off the back Yucatan loomed large and despite once again running wide turning for home he finished too strongly to defeat Hay Miss by 4¼ lengths with Gentle Moment a further 1¾ lengths back in third spot in a time of 30.26 seconds.
By Kynan’s Express out of Crymelon Miss, Yucatan’s win came on the back of an impressive heat win a week prior, also at the expense of Hay Miss, and after Bibby had opted to run him in-between over 450 metres at Shepparton where he had finished fourth on September 1.
And Bibby, who is the Horsham Greyhound Racing Club president, also was successful at his home track last Tuesday with Yucatan’s half-brother Crymelon Fettle (by El Grand Senor) which won the $1650 Conway’s final (410 m) at the nice odds of $16.40.
TRAINER’S RUNNING DOUBLE WAS TOUGH GOING
Barry Shepheard’s short-course running double with Jett Setter and Galactic Viper would have been tough going for the Glencoe trainer after both wins came in tight finishes.
Four-year-old Jett Setter looked to have the job ahead of him going down the back in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 m) when the Norm McCullagh kennelmates Ella Rhode and Sea Mist were matching strides down the back while Shepheard’s runner was a distant third.
But turning for home, Jett Setter stuck to the rails and in a deceptive finish was able to edge out Ella Rhode by a nose with Sea Mist another three-quarters of a length back in third spot in 23.59 seconds.
By Cosmic Rumble x Brooklyn Belle, the veteran chaser – a former Victorian – has now won three races for Shepheard since he took over his training in February.
Also taking a keen interest in Jett Setter was local owner Dale Lewis who pointed out that the black dog traces back to one of his family’s breed in Kori Golden which was whelped in 1987.
And Galactic Viper’s win in the Gambier Vets Grade Five final broke an exasperating run of minor placings over the 400 metre journey.
The son of Velocette and Magic Elite, despite having never won over the journey in 10 starts, was still an odds-on favourite from box one but when last start winner Thanks Captain took over the running off the back it looked like another short course minor placing coming up for the Group winner.
However, he dug deep in the home straight and in a keenly contested finish he was able to hold out Thanks Captain to win by a neck in a best of day 23.29 seconds.
Shepheard will now head to Angle Park on Wednesday with Galactic Viper, which has drawn box five in a grade six over 515 metres, while kennelmate Lektra Destiny will contest a maiden/grade six 600 metre from box one.
CLEAN SWEEP FOR LITTERMATES
Koroit littermates Saint Fox and Saint Flynn made a clean sweep of the 400 metre and 512 metre maiden finals.
By Spring Gun x Real Frosty, Saint Fox led all the way in the Metal Worx Open Maiden (400 m) for owner Peter Byrne and trainer Ray Mahony while Robert Walsh’s Saint Flynn was successful in the ClassicBet Open Maiden (512 m).
Both greyhounds had won their heats at the previous meeting with Saint Fox once again running wide on the home turn before holding off the Peckham littermates Blitz And Bolt and Goldie’s Run in 30.65 seconds.
Saint Flynn chased early leader Raz’s Girl, also trained by Peckham, before finishing too strongly in the run home to defeat her by a length in 23.40 seconds.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
The debut of 18-month-old Azumi Swift at Tara Raceway last Friday certainly would have pleased Worrolong greyhound trainer Lee Bartholomew.
Whelped on the last day of February, 2015, the solidly built 29 kilogram daughter of Cosmic Chief and Azumi Touch was a clear last from box seven in the ClassicBet Open Maiden heat (400 metres) and still had plenty of work to do as Louis Mini Girl led the field down the back straight.
But despite racing greenly – let’s face it, how many times would she have run in a full field – Azumi Swift worked home solidly, eventually going down by 4¼ lengths to Saint Flynn in 23.55 seconds.
In what promises to be a further learning curve, the black bitch will now jump from box four in the ClassicBet Open Maiden final on Sunday.
Azumi Swift is the first of Azumi Touch’s offspring to hit the track for Bartholomew and her husband Steve who also bred the litter.
The couple also raced Azumi Touch, a daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Elite Touch, between 2012 and 2014 when she won 15 races over 400 metres at Tara Raceway and a 388 metre sprint at Angle Park by 9¼ lengths.
And along the way they must have seen something they liked as far as Azumi Swift’s litter was concerned because in May this year Azumi Touch underwent frozen semen artificial insemination (FSAI) at Gambier Vets.
The first greyhound FSAI to be performed locally by Greyhounds Australasia-accredited Rebel Skirving, Azumi Touch subsequently whelped five dogs and four bitches by Dyna Tron on July 20.
Also having her first run at Tara Raceway last Friday was Elusive Linda which is four days younger than Azumi Swift.
Owned by Graham Ganderton and Paul White, the black bitch is trained at Sandford by Brad Mitchem who was more than happy with Elusive Linda’s effort after having copped plenty of trouble at her first race start only two days earlier over 388 metres at Angle Park.
The quick back-up obviously didn’t worry her too much as she quickly found the front from box three in a heat of Metal Worx Open Maiden (512 m) before digging deep in the home straight to hold out Goldie’s Run.
In Mitchem’s kennels for three months after breaking-in well, Elusive Linda will now jump from box one in Sunday’s Metal Worx Open Maiden final.
By Barcia Bale, she is out of Quick To Go which is also now at Sandford with a view to further breeding.
Quick To Go, by Collision out of My Hot Fancy, raced on only five occasions, winning a semi-final of the 2014 Group 3 Nowra Puppy Classic before being retired after finishing unplaced in the final.
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Outstanding 600 metre wins by Old Jock and Cryer’s Jack in last Sunday’s first round of the Berringa Park Iron Dog at Tara Raceway has set the scene for an interesting second round over 400 metres on Sunday afternoon.
For rising four-year-old Old Jock the win was his second in succession over the middle-distance at Tara Raceway and he now looks well placed to grab a spot in the final on Friday, September 9.
The leading point scorers from the first two rounds will qualify for the final and with eight points already accumulated from last Sunday’s win, Old Jock won’t need to collect too many points in Sunday’s second round.
The only drawback is that he’s never raced over the tricky 400 metres at Tara Raceway and it’s almost two years since he last ran over any distance comparable to that of Sunday. And box five is not likely to help either.
Owned by the Jock Middleton-managed Jocks Lot Syndicate and trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley, the well-credentialled son of Bekim Bale and Swift Blaze has now raced on 84 occasions for 12 wins and 30 minor placings for prizemoney of almost $20,000.
In the likelihood of a berth in the 512 metre final, Old Jock will be well suited, having defeated King Size Shambi in a quick 29.75 seconds to reach the final of this year’s Mount Gambier Cup.
Rising five-year-old Dee Tee showed early pace in last Sunday’s first round before Old Jock took over the running going into the back straight.
Trained by Gary Lane, Dee Tee, which went into last year’s Iron Dog final as the leading qualifier, will take on Old Jock again on Sunday but looks better served over 400 metres and from box seven.
Stampy Longnose is another one which has never run over 400 metres but he’s racing well for in-form trainer Dean Fennell and from box eight is likely to be right in the mix as should Ralph Patzel’s box four runner Supreme Deal which is a 400 metre winner.
Looking at the first heat, Cryer’s Jack also collected eight points for last week’s all the way 600 metre success – his third consecutive win at Tara Raceway.
For so long in the shadow of litter brothers Cryer’s Fred and Cryer’s Ricky, the Tom Cryer trained Cryer’s Jack has never been in better form and with a 400 metre personal best of 23.29 seconds and box three on Sunday he looks to be another likely finalist.
But Cryer will be hoping for a smoother entry into the final than last year when Cryer’s Jack picked up seven points in the first round, then made a real mess of the 400 metre second round before scrambling into the final on a countback with nine points.
The Patzel trained Roarsome is also a winner over 400 metres and from box two looks a good chance of significantly boosting her seven points from the first round although any one of the seven runners could probably win without really surprising.
The Iron Dog points after round one are as follows: 8 Old Jock, Cryer’s Jack; 7 Roarsome, Julie’s Love; 6 Glenville Jester, Supreme Deal; 5 Kirsty’s Me Mum, Dark Nemesis; 4 Dee Tee, Stampy Longnose; 3 Jasmine Lilly, Andy Jay; 2 Noaki Phoenix; 1 Jen Shen.
BUSY DAY FOR FENNELL’S KENNELS
With three winners at last weekend’s two meetings, Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell will now be hoping for success in three finals at Tara Raceway on Sunday.
Whatta Moment and Tank Tank will line up from boxes three and six respectively in the Gambier Vets Grade Five final (400 m) with both greyhounds showing their first glimpse of form since May.
The Produce Store Grade Five final (512 m) looks to be an interesting race with Fennell’s Gentle Moment and the Ian Bibby trained Yucatan winning the heats in virtually the same time.
And for Gentle Moment’s part-owner, Kerry Hawker – an employee of hardware chain Masters – the week ended much better than it began following the announcement of Masters closure later this year.
Gentle Moment, which has drawn box three in Sunday’s final, led all the way in his heat, clocking 30.55 seconds much to the delight of the Moorak-based Hawker, and fellow part-owner Michael Robinson.
Fennell also has Black Peer jumping from box eight in the Pathway final (400 m) while Karagiozis and Ari will tackle a pretty handy Allestree Holiday Units Mixed Stake (512 m) from boxes three and four respectively.
Karagiozis and Ari are raced by Nick Tzaferis with Ari looking quite good last Sunday when leading all the way in the winningformula.net.au Stake (512 m) in a best of day 30.25 seconds.
Jumping from box five on Sunday is Homer which defeated Karagiozis by five lengths in a best of day 30.43 seconds at last Friday’s meeting.
Trained by Robert Halliday, the son of Fear Zafonic and Flawless Tears copped a fair check on the first turn but continued to keep coming, pleasing his trainer with his racing pattern and the manner in which he went to the line.
Monday, August 29, 2016
From an SA point of view, so far we haven’t seen too much about Worm Burner’s outstanding effort at Angle Park on Saturday night when he was successful in the National Sprint Championship. Anyway, to the Butcher family and Worm Burner, congratulations from the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.
Allendale East trainer Connie Miller, of the Bourne Racing Kennels, reckoned it felt like Groundhog Day at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
This was after the running of the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (400 m) when Bushman’s Faith took the lead from Vee Bee Mee turning for home and then held out kennelmate Lady Vixyma to win by 2¼ lengths in 23.48 seconds.
A couple of days earlier, Bushman’s Faith, having his first start at Tara Raceway, had assumed control over Lady Vixyma down the back straight before going on to a four length win over that greyhound in the Berringa Park Stake (400 m), also in 23.48 seconds.
So the two grade six wins over the weekend saw Bushman’s Faith “beat the grader”, something that hasn’t been achieved all that often since the monthly double meetings were introduced at Tara Raceway.
“The only reason I backed him up was because he’s not SA-bred and as such is allowed only one grade six win at the track,” Miller said.
Owned in WA by John Turner, the June 2014 black dog is NSW-bred, being by Magic Sprite out of NSW city-winning stayer Cin Cin Shiraz.
It’s been a quick return for Miller with Bushman’s Faith joining the kennels only a fortnight ago prior to racing in Victoria on 15 occasions for a maiden win at Horsham.
The wins over the weekend continued the success Bourne Racing Kennels has had with Turner who previously owned Fred Of Lidsdale which has won eight short-course races at Tara Raceway for co-trainer David Peckham.
And it wasn’t a bad weekend either for Peckham who was successful with Raz’s Girl at Friday’s meeting and Thanks Captain on Sunday.
Having her fifth Tara Raceway start, Raz’s Girl led all the way in the Trackside Meats Stake which was a heat of the maiden 400 metre series, the final of which will be run next Sunday along with all other finals emanating from the weekend’s heats.
By Kinloch Brae, Raz’s Girl is out of Cawbourne Raz which won her six races in NSW at the Gardens.
The 25½ kilogram black bitch was purchased mid-year from Newcastle by Ross Schurgott, together with Steve Maguire, Garry Siney, Steve Mason, Artie Slee, Grant Sterzl and Peckham for $1400.
And Schurgott was also among the winners again on Sunday when Thanks Captain took over the running from Penny Blossom off the back in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) which was a heat of a grade five series.
Better known as the “reluctant racer” due to his reluctance sometimes to even want to turn up at the track let alone race, Thanks Captain was resuming after a 128 day break due to injury and was on his best behaviour when finishing strongly to defeat Whatta Moment by 2¾ lengths in 23.41 seconds.
JOCK AND JACK TAKE THE POINTS
The Nicole Stanley’s Old Jock and the Tom Cryer trained Cryer’s Jack will head into the 400 metre second round of the Berringa Park Iron Dog as the leading point scorers after impressive 600 metre wins on Sunday.
The top eight point scorers from the first two rounds will then contest the 512 metre final on Friday, September 9.
Points after round 1: 8 Old Jock, Cryer’s Jack; 7 Roarsome, Julie’s Love; 6 Glenville Jester, Supreme Deal; 5 Kirsty’s Me Mum, Dark Nemesis; 4 Dee Tee, Stampy Longnose; 3 Jasmine Lilly, Andy Jay; 2 Noaki Phoenix, Gold Rocker; 1 Jen Shen.
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Secret Mantra is certainly not your average type of Masters greyhound.
Here he was lining up as a four-year-old in the 400 metre Gambier Vets Masters – for grade five dogs that are 3½ years or older – at Tara Raceway on Friday afternoon with only 26 starts to his name.
These races are generally for the likes of Twistex, only three months older than Secret Mantra but going around for a 171st time when contesting Friday’s Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (400 m).
However, being a grade three, Twistex was a fair way off from being eligible for the Masters class. Even further now after leading all the way and bringing up win number 30 and $45,000 in stakemoney for David and Toni Jones of Devon Meadows.
But back to Secret Mantra and his Charlton trainer Kevin Ashton, who landed his fourth Tara Raceway win this month, after the son of Mantra Lad and Dadda Poppa scored a comfortable win against the veterans in what turned out to be a best of day 23.34 seconds.
And according to Ashton, the secret to the white and fawn dog is to run him only at Tara Raceway, hence his limited number of starts.
“The simple fact is that he just won’t go on any other track,” he said. “I’m putting it down to the finish-on-lure. He certainly seems to enjoy chasing the big red lure.
“The only trouble is, of course, being four hours away it is not always convenient to get over here which is disappointing because Jan (Neil) and I really enjoy racing in Mount Gambier.”
Secret Mantra has now won three races – two of those being this month.
Another trainer who reckons the finish-on-lure has worked wonders for his greyhound is Robert Walsh of Koroit.
Walsh was over on Friday for the 400 metre maiden heats and landed his first Tara Raceway winner when Saint Flynn, the only greyhound he is currently training, was successful.
Having only his fourth race start, the well-supported brindle dog looked to be in plenty of bother early before bursting from the pack down the back prior to running out a strong 4¼ length winner in 23.55 seconds.
But, as Walsh explained, it hasn’t been all plain sailing for the Peter Byrne-bred March 2014 son of Spring Gun and 13-race winner Real Frosty.
“When he was 12 months old he damaged a shoulder and as a result he spent some months getting over the setback before Peter asked me if I would be interested in having a go with him.
“Probably the best thing I did was to bring him over to Tara Raceway because he had been a little hesitant on other tracks and the finish-on-lure seems to have really brightened him up.”
Prior to Saint Flynn, the last greyhound Walsh had raced locally was Ima Harley which concluded his 86-start career at Tara Raceway on September 25, 2015 at 6½ years of age.
Earlier in the day, Saint Flynn’s litter brother, Saint Fox, put in a big performance for Byrne and Southern Cross trainer Ray Mahony to win the first heat of a maiden 512 metre series.
A short-priced favourite at his past three starts at Tara Raceway, the brindle dog looked like proving a costly conveyance once again after jumping slowly and still well back down the back straight.
But Saint Fox loomed large turning for home and finished too strongly to win by three-quarters of a length in 30.90 seconds.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
The versatility of 16 greyhounds will be tested over the next three meetings at Tara Raceway when they line up in the annual Iron Dog series which is once again sponsored by Michael Niele of Berringa Park Kennels.
The first round of the three-distance series kicks off with two heats over 600 metres and will be the highlight of Sunday’s 10-event programme.
At the following Sunday’s meeting (September 4) the same greyhounds will race over 400 metres with the eight highest point scorers from the first two rounds then contesting the 512 metre final on Friday, September 9.
Roarsome and Dee Tee will line up in the first heat having previously won over Tara Raceway’s current three distances.
By Fear Zafonic out of Ren Shen, Roarsome has been a real revelation for Mount Wallace owner Erin McNamara since joining Ralph Patzel’s Mount Gambier kennels in May.
She’s now won seven races in that time, including a 600 metre win over Kirsty’s Me Mum in 35.37 seconds prior to a strong best of day 512 metre performance last Sunday.
Bushfield trainer Gary Lane intimated several weeks ago that the Iron Dog would probably mark the end of Dee Tee’s racing career.
She was actually retired at the end of November last year before being mated and subsequently failing to conceive before returning to racing in May.
And the daughter of El Grand Senor x Mantra Miss, now a rising five-year-old, showed she still had life in her legs when defeating Old Jock last month over 600 metres in 35.45 seconds prior to running third over the same distance behind Supreme Deal.
Lane will now be hoping Dee Tee can go out on a winning note after she went into last year’s Iron Dog final (600 m) as the leading point scorer.
The Nicole Stanley trained Old Jock showed he is ready for the Iron Dog after a solid 600 metre win in the wet last Sunday while runner-up Kirsty’s Me Mum has won over both 512 metres and 600 metres at Tara Raceway for Southern Cross trainer Garry Elliott.
Adding even more interest to the first heat is the Richard Clayfield trained Glenville Jester, also a winner over both 512 metres and 600 metres this year.
Patzel also looks to hold a strong hand in the second heat with Supreme Deal, recent winner of the Eric Lewis Memorial (600 m) and successful at Tara Raceway’s three distances.
An older half-brother to last Sunday’s Winter Classic winner Lektra Munster, Supreme Deal defeated Old Jock in the memorial and at his last start chased home Cryer’s Jack in a 512 metre event.
The son of Where’s Pedro and Supreme Vision is raced by Patzel in partnership with Bob White, Darryl Patzel and Amanda Darmanin who is doing well at the moment in her own right as a trainer.
Cryer’s Jack, another Tara Raceway three-distance winner, is racing well for Tom and Margaret Cryer, having won his past two 512 metre starts.
The son of Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget has won three 600 metre races and knows what the Iron Dog is all about after reaching last year’s final.
The Berringa Park Iron Dog was first run in 2012 although it wasn’t all that testing back then. With 600 metre racing still to be introduced at Tara Raceway, the three-distance series was run over 400 metres, 512 metres and 400 metres.
Winning the inaugural event was the Aaron Blake trained Kiss Me Donkey which defeated the Brendan Bunworth pair of Ten Doeschate and Tanroddy Trina.
There was no Iron Dog staged in 2013 but the following year Cap Abbott’s former smart stayer Manila Express, originally a reserve, gained a start in the 600 metre final and defeated Sir Lenny, another Bunworth-trained chaser.
And then last year, with the 600 metre final run in driving rain, the Monty Wilson trained front-running Boolite Bruiser and Clayfield’s fast finishing Upset Boy couldn’t be split on the line.
This year’s Berringa Park Iron Dog final will carry $1750 prizemoney with the winner to also receive a K9 Winning Formula Kennel Pack (valued at $170), donated by Peter Bryce of Winning Post Supplies. All Iron Dog rounds are non-penalty.
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
As far as maiden wins are concerned they don’t come much more impressive than that of Cee Righty’s in last Sunday’s JB Irrigation Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.
The fawn dog was in front from box six by the time the field hit the first turn and from then he simply kept extending the lead, eventually winning by 10½ lengths in 30.64 seconds on a rain-affected track.
Only Lektra Peck and Roarsome ran quicker on the day.
Bred, owned and trained at Portland by Andy Graham, Cee Righty is an October 2014 son of Cosmic Chief and Victorian city-winning bitch Cee Anna Rose which raced on only 18 occasions.
Graham also bred Cee Anna Rose (by Bombastic Shiraz) and regards her as the best of his prolific producer Senni Wendy’s stock.
Cee Righty will now line up at Tara Raceway on Friday from box eight in the Produce Store Stake (512 m) which is the second heat of a grade six series.
And Graham is likely to have more idea of where he’s at with his promising pup after the running of what is a pretty fair lower-grade race.
Jumping alongside him will be the Monty Wilson trained Kylan Brae which has little early pace but does finish strongly as demonstrated at Tara Raceway’s August 12 meeting when he came from a long way back to run down Cee Righty in 30.56 seconds – a 512 metre time that held up well on the day.
A son of Kinloch Brae x Sionara Milly, Kylan Brae, whilst unable to overcome the “first run out of a maiden hoodoo” when finishing fifth last Sunday behind Lektra Peck, should be better for the experience.
Cee Righty will run into that same “hoodoo” on Friday but if he can once again find the front then he should be very hard to run down.
Adding further interest to the heat will be the Nicole Stanley trained Hay Miss which has drawn box one and comes into race on the back of some solid form in the Winter Classic.
By Bekim Bale x Miss Stackhouse, Hay Miss ran down Lektra Munster in a heat of the classic before working home well to finish a 1½ length second to the same greyhound in last Sunday’s final.
Local owners Kerry Hawker and Michael Robinson, who picked up Gentle Moment after a handful of starts for $500, will be hoping the son of Spring Gun and Suzy’s Moment can bring up his third win when he jumps from box four in the South Eastern Hotel Stake which is the first heat of the grade six series.
Trained at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, Gentle Moment was successful shortly after being purchased but an accident which necessitated the removal of part of his tail then kept him off the scene for six weeks.
The black dog has obviously taken no harm from the ordeal, since winning again. And while he’s yet to win over 512 metres, three recent minor placings would suggest he’s not far away.
One of the hardest to beat looks to be the Tracie Price trained Port Side which chased Lektra Peck home at last Sunday’s meeting.
VETERAN TO GIVE A BIT OF CHEEK
The veterans are back at Tara Raceway on Friday for the Gambier Vets Masters Stake (400 m).
Designed to keep racing greyhounds in the system longer, Masters are non-penalty grade five 400 metre events for dogs 3½ years and upwards with preference given to older dogs.
Friday’s race includes several in the minimum age bracket including the Barry Shepheard trained Galactic Viper which has drawn box eight and looks well placed in an event of this type.
A winner of $40,000, Galactic Viper is, however, yet to win at eight starts at the track and distance.
Punters invariably have found the Connie Miller trained Bourne Cheeky hard to catch in her 61 start career which has included nine wins – eight over 400 metres – but she does look well drawn in box one.
The November 2012 daughter of Spring Gun x Nicky’s Moment also should appreciate a drop in overall class after having run into Fear The Rascal and Future Past at her past two starts.
Black Barron Lad, trained at Bushfield by Gary Lane, is Friday’s oldest runner at 5½ years.
It’s been almost two years since the black dog last won but he was placed after showing early pace in the June Masters race and wasn’t beaten all that far at his last start at Warrnambool earlier this month.
As an aside, one of the oldest greyhounds going around at the moment is Victorian chaser Soldier Spy which was whelped in November 2010.
The son of Trewly Special and Ice Dancer has been kept in the system mainly by veterans’ races up the straight at Healesville where his past 29 starts there have resulted in 17 wins.