Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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A classic win for long-time local trainer

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday’s Peter Rocket Summer Classic final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway was pretty much a repeat of last week’s first heat when Dynamite Danger led all the way, in the end hanging on by a neck to defeat Galactic Panther in 29.99 seconds.

This week Dynamite Danger once again found the front from box seven. And when Galactic Panther settled in second spot this was always going to be one hell of a classic, the leader giving it his all but this time going down by a head in 29.97 seconds – not much slower than Cryer’s Ricky’s race record of 29.96 seconds run back in 2015.

They’re away in the 2018 Peter Rocket Summer Classic final at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

For long-time Worrolong greyhound trainer Steve Bartholomew this was one of his biggest wins while Compton trainer Tracie Price – second, third and fourth with his finalists – went agonisingly close to adding a Summer Classic to two previous Winter Classics.

A finalist in last September’s Winter Classic when giving away plenty in age, Galactic Panther has now raced on 12 occasions for seven wins and four minor placings.

By Irish-bred sire Milldean Panther out of three-race Tara Raceway winner Galactic Rumball, the classic winner was bred and is owned at Moorak by Robert Chuck who handed over the training of the black dog to Bartholomew in October last year.

Bartholomew was at Mount Gambier’s first greyhound racing meeting conducted at Glenburnie in 1979 when he was running the race results from the judge’s tower to George Kay’s broadcast box.

By the following year he was hands-on with greyhounds and has been involved ever since, so much so that he is now in his ninth term as president of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.

It was thirsty work for Galactic Panther, who enjoyed a drink after his Summer Classic win.

His involvement with Chuck goes back more than 25 years when they were workmates at the Lakeside Mill. They’re still workmates to this day, with Chuck actually missing Sunday’s Summer Classic final due to work commitments.

Twelve years ago a syndicate formed by mill workers raced a dog called Modern Joy. Chuck was a member of the syndicate, the venture introducing him to greyhound racing along with a fair amount of success.

Bred by Bartholomew, Galactic Rumball is also the dam of Faster Bolt, successful at Warrnambool last Thursday night and now boasting a record of eight wins and two minor placings from 13 starts.

Faster Bolt, of which Chuck is a part-owner, is the fastest 400 metre maiden winner at Tara Raceway with a time of 22.98 seconds run back in October. This saw him quickly transferred to Camperdown trainer Steve Elsum with a view to chasing some of the bigger money on offer at Victorian tracks – so far it seems to be working.

And earlier in the day, Bartholomew and his wife Lee were successful with Azumi Spice who flew home to defeat tearaway leader Cryer’s Jed by a neck in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) in 30.11 seconds.

Bred by the Bartholomews, Azumi Spice is by Cosmic Chief out of Azumi Touch who is a litter sister to Galactic Rumball – a good day all round for a breed that traces back to the highly successful Mugavin line.

So with previous Summer Classic winners – Cryer’s Ricky, Menzel Boys and Hutch – all pressing on to the Mount Gambier Cup and all reaching the final, the obvious question for Bartholomew was whether Galactic Panther would go down the same path at Tara Raceway next month.

“We probably will,” he said. “He’d obviously have to find a bit but I reckon there’s still plenty of improvement in him yet.

“We’d also like to get him over the border to tracks such as Horsham and Warrnambool and see how he measures up.

Allen Williams, who handled the presentation proceedings for Sunday’s Summer Classic, pictured with trainer Steve Bartholomew and Galactic Panther.

“And then there’s the Angle Park April Breeders Prelude (2) which is a lead-up to the Group 3 Howard Ashton in May. This is a series that Chucky is obviously keen to tackle as he’s already made the mandatory payments along the way to fulfil the entry requirements.”

It’s also a series that Chuck knows all about – Galactic Viper winning the Howard Ashton for him in 2015 and picking up $25,000 when trained in Victoria by David Geall.

Chuck will now also be able to look to next year’s Winter Classic with members of Galactic Rumball’s second litter, this time by the Canadian-bred Paddy Whacker, whelped in August last year.

This year’s Summer Classic also carried a service to Peter Rocket, donated to the winning connections by Keith and Lisa Hellmuth of Pearcedale.

Peter Rocket, by Where’s Pedro x Belron Blue, raced on 67 occasions for 22 wins and 29 minor placings. All told, he raced in 15 Group finals, winning the Group 1 Dapto Megastar and the Group 2 Horsham Cup.

And a year after winning the Summer Classic in 30.30 seconds, the Robert Halliday trained Hutch lined up on Sunday from box three in the Greg Martlew Autos Mixed Stake (512 m), bouncing back with a 3¾ length win over Swift Moment in 29.59 seconds and putting himself right in Mount Gambier Cup contention.

The last word, though, on the Summer Classic probably should go to winning trainer Steve Bartholomew after his wife Lee could hardly contain herself as Galactic Panther slowly but surely closed the gap on Dynamite Danger in the closing stages of the age-restricted classic.

“She’s an important part of the team so I guess we can’t begrudge her letting off a bit of steam.”

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