Monday, April 24, 2017
By the time race 12 was run and won at Friday’s first-ever time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway it was pretty obvious that by and large this was a day where an opportunity had been provided for greyhounds of varying abilities.
In other words, greyhounds were placed in races according to their true ability from a speed or time point of view and raced in non-penalty events carrying prizemoney in the vicinity of $410, $165, $125, $100 through to $70 for the fifth to eighth runners.
Good Yarn, a daughter of Cosmic Chief and former Tara Raceway 400 metre record holder Spin A Yarn, lined up from box three in the final race, the ClassicBet Stake (400 m), after not having won a race since last October.
Owned and trained at Penshurst by John Burow, the fawn bitch, who hadn’t run a place at her past eight starts, led all the way and despite using plenty of the track in the home straight equalled her personal best time of 23.47 seconds at what was her fiftieth start.
Earlier in the day, Good Yarn’s lightly-raced litter brother What A Buzz, also owned and trained by Burow, got among the placings for the first time in his six-start career when running third in the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m).
So, for Burow, it was his best day at the track in six months after he picked up close to $600 – and his greyhounds a bit of much-needed form.
Proud Eagle went into the JB Irrigation Maiden Stake (400 m) on the back of five pretty ordinary down-the-line finishes for Tarpeena trainer David Williams who had readily admitted that he didn’t really know what to expect from the 36 kilogram son of El Grand Senor x Chilly Patch.
“I changed his training regime and virtually did nothing with him this week,” Williams said. “So it’s going to be interesting to see how he goes.”
Well, he looks like the sort of dog that would appreciate simply having his food bowl slid under the kennel door – and doing nothing else!
The change of tactics obviously worked. Proud Eagle quickly put paid to early leader – litter brother and kennelmate Grand Eagle – before running away to a 5¾ length win in 24.02 seconds.
Williams was off to a flying start and, with another eight runners to come, by the time the day was over he needed a calculator to work out his greyhounds’ earnings.
It had virtually been 12 months to the day that Cheetah Bay won his maiden at Tara Raceway over 400 metres.
And with only five minor placings since the win, Gerald McKenna, a retired dairy farmer from Koroit, was hoping for a change of luck in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (400 m) with the son of Billy The Sid x Troublemaker Bay.
Raced by McKenna’s wife Carolyn, Cheetah Bay, after settling on the pace, railed through on the home turn before holding out Kappow to win by a head in 23.88 seconds.
In the race prior, the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m), Cheetah Bay’s litter brother Bin Bon Bay finally broke into the placings at start number nine when chasing Summer Raine home in second spot.
Once again, it was a case of the McKenna pair able to find some form via the time-graded format and at the same time reward connections for their effort.
Races four and five were re-drawn earlier in the week after a grading glitch with the result being Portland owner-trainer Brian Weis’s Baurna Sal not only switched races but also went from box one to box eight.
Not that it mattered. Another one looking to regain winning form after an impressive maiden win six months ago, Baurna Sal showed she had finally overcome some tendon issues and easily won the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) in a smart 23.48 seconds.
Such was Westlake Nez’s form that the son of Cosmic Chief and White Butterfly had all but been booked to be relocated to Broken Hill where non-TAB meetings are conducted.
But he may have gained a reprieve after his all-the-way win in The Border Watch Stake (400 m) in the handy time of 23.65 seconds.
Trained since January at Edenhope by Cap Abbott, Westlake Nez’s win was his second in 31 starts, his maiden win coming back in October.
Abbott, who is well known for the distances he clocks up when taking his greyhounds to a variety of tracks, said he drew the line at travelling 700 kilometres to Broken Hill.
So popular was the win of Julaine in the Allestree Holiday Units Stake (400 m) that she was greeted with applause from the Tara Raceway finish line faithful upon returning after the race.
It’s not that the faithful would have backed her, although the $9 would have been nice, it’s just that owner Shane Flink and Hamilton trainer Tony Harding are a couple of the sport’s real “battlers” and rarely miss a meeting at Tara Raceway.
Harding, whose last winner had been Delcorn Potts at Tara Raceway in December, took over the training of Julaine last month after Flink had purchased her from Hamilton owner Bluey Forsyth for half of her next win – her last win coming back in May of last year.
And Flink would have been cheering a long way from home after the daughter of Texas Gold x Swift Blaze always looked to be travelling comfortably out in front.
“That was my first outright win,” the ecstatic owner told the faithful still hanging over the finish line fence.
Harding, in his usual dry style, reckoned Forsyth’s half share would have to come out of Flink’s half of the prizemoney.
But Bluey’s a good bloke. Maybe he can cut a deal seeing this was a time-graded meeting.