Monday, March 23, 2020
The coronavirus restricted attendance sign at the Tara Raceway greyhound track entrance said it all – until further notice only essential staff and licensed participants and catchers will be permitted entry at race meetings.
And it certainly was a desolate Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon that gave an impression of bleak emptiness. More like one of those non-betting picnic meetings conducted all those years ago prior to the introduction of legalised greyhound racing when all the winners received a bag of kibble.
For all intents and purposes there was to be no catering at any of the SA restricted attendance greyhound meetings although Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president Noel Perry had been keen to have something on hand for trainers making the long trip to Mount Gambier.
As such, Perry, who later in the day was rewarded with an overdue win with Our Menace in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 metres), attended to the travelling trainers’ needs – along with committee members Jude Tait and Scott Blacksell – with a much-appreciated barbecue.
Six Victorian trainers – Robert Halliday, Kevin Ward, Cap Abbott, Andy Graham, Kevin Mugavin and Tom Cryer – were successful at Sunday’s meeting, the over-the-border influence once again highlighted at Tara Raceway.
With news later filtering through that SA would be closing its borders tomorrow in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, from a South-East greyhound racing point of view another testing week is on the cards.
Meanwhile, leading trainer David Peckham, of Allendale East, took the honours at Sunday’s 11-race program with Dyna Alistair, Bourne Blackjack, Call Me Billy and Dyna Carnie – his third bag of four this year and taking his number of winners in 2020 at Tara Raceway to 36.
Four-year-old Dyna Alistair, a son of Kelsos Fusileer x Xylia Allen, had yet to win at Tara Raceway over 512 metres but the black dog never looked in any danger of defeat in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake when defeating Black Spring by seven lengths in 30.00 seconds.
And litter brother Dyna Carnie brought up a litter double for owners Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman when leading all the way in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Mixed Stake (512 m) to defeat kennelmate Squishy Pea by 4¾ lengths in a best of day 29.60 seconds.
Another four-year-old in Bourne Blackjack, also owned by Peckham, led all the way in the Greg Martlew Autos Mixed Stake (400 m), defeating kennelmate Missing Mate by three lengths in 23.42 seconds.
Now a winner of three races at Tara Raceway this year, Bourne Blackjack is a son of Barcia Bale out of Striking Viking, a winner of 14 races at the local track and the inaugural 600 metre record holder at 35.38 seconds.
Call Me Billy, a Summer Classic heat winner last month and third in the final behind his litter sister Sweet On Me, found the going a bit easier in Sunday’s JB Irrigation Stake (400 m) after an unplaced run in a recent heat of the Murray Bridge Cup (455 m).
A long odds-on favourite, the son of Barcia Bale x Call Me Gee took the lead off the back and despite using plenty of the track in the run home was too good for Push Start by 3¾ lengths in 23.45 seconds.
Portland trainer Andy Graham enjoyed a change of luck in the Rock’s Tavern Stake (400 m) when Akuma Fireball finished strongly to defeat Coffey Road and Fabs You Go by a nose in 23.68 seconds.
The win, which resulted in Akuma Fireball maintaining a one point lead over Dyna Carnie in the Greyhound of the Year, came after earlier in the day the Graham-trained Kohli Bay had narrowly gone down by a head to Our Menace and Clyde Jakit in a time of 23.72 seconds.
Once again, there will be no racing at Tara Raceway this Thursday, the next meeting programmed for Sunday (March 29).