Wednesday, September 4, 2019
It’s been something of a rough ride for Coleraine trainer Bob Wombwell and his greyhound Banjo Bonito over the past 18 months.
Wombwell purchased the son of Banjo Boy and proven producer Rustic Reeta back in March last year, won a race with him two months later at Tara Raceway, but after a couple of training setbacks it had been a case of the 36 kilogram dog going into last Sunday’s JB Irrigation Stake (400 m) without a win in 18 months.
The race was also Banjo Bonito’s first in close to three months, his trainer hoping for a turnaround in fortunes but certainly not holding out high hopes for his $12 chance which was jumping from box four.
But the striking looking white and black dog quickly settled into third spot behind Coco Suzy and Oh Spolly before taking a rails run turning for home, finishing the race off well to gain victory in what was a desperately tight finish, over Oh Spolly and Flash Jackie.
Finally, Banjo Bonito’s fortunes had turned around, his win adding to Wombwell’s three earlier in the year at Tara Raceway with Fire Eyes and three at Warrnambool with Coffey Road.
His association with greyhound racing in Mount Gambier goes back close to 40 years and the South East Greyhound Racing Club’s track at Glenburnie where his first winner had been on Saturday, November 8, 1980 with Dynamic Tarmel who won a maiden event over 289 metres.
“Dynamic Tarmel was by Dynamic Dean out of Silver Tarmel who was actually my foundation brood bitch, the line continuing through to the present day with Fire Eyes (Spring Gun x Coleraine Flame) winning at Tara Raceway,” Wombwell said.
Silver Tarmel was a daughter of the imported sire Hurst Wickham (Maryville Hi x Rocco Lynne), the fastest first-round winner of the 1971 English Derby and later, quite remarkably, one of close to 80 imported greyhounds that stood at stud in Australia during the 1970s.
For all the winners Wombwell has been associated with over the journey, a couple hold special memories for him – Chief Wallaby and Brandini Joe.
“Chief Wallaby was one of my line, being by Chief Dingaan out of Dynamic Crystal, and winning plenty of races including 680 metre events at Warrnambool while Brandini Joe (Tangaloa x Brandini Lass) won a heat of a Ballarat Cup.”
Meanwhile, Banjo Bonito will line up from box one in Sunday’s Winningformula.net.au Stake (400 m) which is the second of four heats of a grade five series – his long-time trainer no doubt hoping that he can continue to make up for lost time.