With four greyhounds all engaged in the same race at Tara Raceway last Thursday, owner-trainer Keith Kelly was probably some sort of chance to open his winning account at the Mount Gambier track.
Kelly, who first became involved in the sport back in the late 1970s, started making occasional trips to Mount Gambier with his greyhounds back in late 2019 – his first time in the money being with Annaley Flash who ran second on October 20.
He’s based at Wallan, 45 kilometres north of Melbourne, so it’s a fair trip to the south-east of SA, especially when all your dogs are in the same race. But there were no complaints. “I just go with the flow,” he said.
Kelly’s quartet, Super Nat, Jono’s Express, Table Top and Burning Express, lined up in the South Eastern Hotel 5+ Wins Stake (400 metres). And it was Jono’s Express who soon put the issue beyond doubt when quickly taking up the running from box five.
In fact, it turned out to be a quinella, Burning Express running 1½ lengths second in 23.78 seconds to Jono’s Express who had been purchased a couple of months ago by his current owner-trainer for $3500 after winning five races.
Actually, Kelly’s quinella runners both trace back to Flaming Doll (Ginger Bread Man x Hot Doll), a middle-distance winner at Sandown Park, Horsham, Bendigo and Ballarat.
Jono’s Express is by Aston Dee Bee out of Shotgun Doll (Collision x Flaming Doll) while Burning Express is a son of Magic Sprite x Smouldering Doll (Bekim Bale x Flaming Doll). Another Flaming Doll litter, by Knocka Norris, included Star Doll who ran a 23.05 seconds 400 metres track record at Tara Raceway in April 2013 for Garry Marshman of Heathmere.
Kelly still remembers his first greyhound from all those years ago – Akii’s Promise, a daughter of Cheers For Akii and Just A Bit.
“She was also my first runner and won at her first start,” he said.
“But I reckon my best dog would have been Donna Wonder (Come On Wonder x Pasha Donna). She was advertised for sale as a pup in the Sporting Globe for $400 in 1979.”
And while Keith Kelly is no household name in the world of greyhound racing, he’s quick to point out that he’s simply in the game for the enjoyment.
“Look, I enjoy taking in different tracks with my dogs. Really, it’s more about socialising with some terrific people in what is a great atmosphere,” he said. “And believe me, there is no better track for a great day out than this one at Mount Gambier.”