Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Mumbannar trainer Monty Wilson still remembers the day at the end of last year when Toolong breeder Phil Lenehan called him to see if would be interested in taking a well-bred giveaway greyhound called Gold Gem.
However, there was just one catch – and isn’t there always one when it comes to a giveaway? The daughter of US 50-race winner Kiowa Producer and Gold Chalice, who won 10 Victorian provincial races, had recently copped a suspension at Shepparton for unsatisfactory box manners.
“As I only train giveaway greyhounds I told Phil I’d have a go with her, figuring that her box manners surely weren’t so bad that she couldn’t be sorted out,” Wilson said.
Well, it depends what sort of time-frame you put on wayward greyhounds. Gold Gem last raced at Shepparton on November 27, 2017 and it would be another eight months before she resumed for Wilson at Tara Raceway on July 19.
On that occasion she ran third over 400 metres, well beaten, but according to her trainer it felt like a win to him and his wife Jen just to get the brindle bitch back on the racetrack.
“She was a really strange dog and to be honest, it took a long time just to get her confidence let alone trying her again in the starting boxes,” Wilson said.
And, it has to be said, the re-introduction to the fundamental process of entering the starting boxes from the back and coming out the front didn’t go all that well, at least initially.
“The first three times we tried her in the boxes was a disaster. In fact, as a last resort, Gold Gem was then booked in for box re-education at a Victorian breaking-in establishment.
“However, before she left we decided to give her one more try out of the boxes and it was at her fourth trip to the track that the penny finally dropped.
“Because of her suspension at Shepparton at the end of last year she was still required to run a satisfactory trial before she could race again so a couple of weeks later she passed with flying colours at Tara Raceway.”
For all that, it took Gold Gem 11 runs to finally open her winning account, with Wilson declaring it a “gem of a win”.
She virtually led all the way from box two in last Sunday’s Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway, eventually running out a 4½ length winner over Oriental Tiger.
“She was my twelfth win for the year and one of the most satisfying,” the beaming trainer declared.
Meanwhile, Lenehan-bred runners Black Spring, Spinning Jakit and Lektra Brandy, all out of Sandown Park distance winner Lektra Scarlett, look to hold a strong hand at Tara Raceway’s meetings on Friday and Sunday.
Black Spring, a son of Spring Gun, will make his debut over 600 metres on Friday afternoon from box eight in the JB Irrigation Stake and should appreciate the longer journey judging by the manner in which he’s been finishing off his sprint races.
Hampered by notoriously slow starts, Black Spring has won two races and run five minor placings from 13 starts over distances ranging from 450 metres to 515 metres, Edenhope owner-trainer Cap Abbott now hoping the November 2016 whelping can successfully make the step up in distance.
Litter brother Spinning Jakit, also trained by Abbott, was a winner at Tara Raceway over 512 metres in a smart 30.13 seconds on October 21, and will jump from box seven in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) on Sunday.
Possessing a racing pattern similar to that of his brother, Spinning Jakit’s clash with Mulan, an impressive 512 metre winner last Sunday, and speedster Maunganui Magic stepping up in distance for the first time, should make for an interesting lead-in to the main race of the day, the Newman McDonnell Memorial final (512 m).
Lektra Brandy, from an earlier Lektra Scarlett litter by KC And All, was an impressive 410 metre winner at Horsham on Tuesday night for Portland trainer Nifty Lenehan.
A sizzling 22.90 seconds winner at Tara Raceway in early September, Lektra Brandy, despite drawing box six, looks well placed in Sunday’s Gordon Refrigeration Mixed Stake (400 m).