Sunday, December 8, 2019
Mortlake trainer Peter Franklin and his trusty sidekick John Gale, of Ballarat, were back on Thursday for Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting with what looks to be a promising type in Montaya.
Bred in the purple, the 31½ kilogram black bitch is by Barcia Bale out of Blonde Caviar’s second and final litter – her first, by Bella Infrared, producing former Tara Raceway 600 metre record holder McIvor Verna.
Selected as a pup by Gale’s granddaughter, Victorian state basketballer Taya Chisholm – hence the “taya” tag in the racing name – Montaya became the first of the litter to race when lining up from box five in the Winningformula.net.au Stake (400 m).
And following a moderate start and early interference, she was left with a bit of work to do as another big bitch in Elle Limes bowled along in front, looking to open her winning account at start number two.
But turning for home, Montaya took the inside running before going on to a strong 2¾ lengths win – perhaps not all that surprising given that Blonde Caviar had been a winner at The Meadows over 600 metres and at Horsham (570 m) – in an impressive 23.44 seconds.
The winner is raced by the Mojito Syndicate which is managed by Gale and also includes Franklin and Damien Walter of Bendigo. And wouldn’t they love to be associated with another Mojito Mayhem?
Speaking after the race, Gale, who now has Blonde Caviar as a pet, said it hadn’t been all plain sailing with Montaya who he described as a dog that was not fazed by anything.
“About six months ago we were having a few doubts about her future due to some metacarpal problems but hopefully that is all behind her. We’re hoping that she can now go on to bigger and better things.”
Later in the day, Josh McDonald, of Murtoa, won his first race at Tara Raceway when Magnet Force held out a fast-finishing Roswitha Girl in The Border Watch Stake (400 m) to win by a neck in 23.57 seconds.
McDonald purchased Magnet Force, a daughter of Peter Rocket and Maisy Mac (a litter sister to the Group 1-winning Zambora Brockie), as a pup from Dennington breeder Ray Drew.
Part of the winner’s prizemoney will now go to Beyond Blue, an organisation raising awareness of men’s mental health.
Things got even better for McDonald come race eight, the Rock’s Retreat Stake (512 m), when Lilly An’ Page overcame interference down the back straight to go on for a powerful two lengths win over Just Kenny in 30.37 seconds.
This was only the third start for McDonald with the daughter of Deville x Nubian Princess, the black bitch having previously experienced issues at Horsham and Warrnambool but obviously enjoying racing behind Tara Raceway’s finish-on lure.