Last Thursday’s Tara Raceway meeting marked the end of another Tara Tipsters “Chase for Charity” – this time supporting Mia Powell.
Earlier this year, Mount Gambier couple Sarah Hutchesson-Webb and Jake Powell’s world was turned upside down after their 16-month-old daughter Mia was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, a rare genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and has no cure.
So the Thursday and Sunday afternoon greyhound racing followers – known as the Tara Tipsters – joined with the Mount Gambier community and threw their support behind the family as they prepare for the harrowing journey ahead.
Mia’s parents are now focused on treating her symptoms to prolong her life and making her as comfortable as possible.
Coming into the final round of the Tara Tipsters series for Mia Powell, only three contestants remained in contention to receive the ultimate bragging rights – Adelaide-based Tim Aloisi and Craig Grubb and Kevin Patzel of Mount Gambier.
Prior to the first race only one point separated the trio – Grubb and Aloisi chasing their first wins in the competition while Patzel had done well at what was his first time involvement.
But it was Aloisi who kicked off the day with a couple of winners and from then on he was always going to be hard to beat. At the end of the series he had accumulated 462 points, three clear of Patzel and five ahead of Grubb.
And after the win, Aloisi, a father of two young girls, donated $462 to the Tara Tipsters Supporting Mia Powell series.
Now, he’s pledged a further $1000 if his top stayer Zipping Neutron can win the Premiers Cup (730 m) at the Adelaide Cup meeting on Friday night at Angle Park.
Since joining Aloisi’s kennels in May, Zipping Neutron has raced on 16 occasions for 14 wins. Among the wins were two at Mount Gambier, one of them in track record time of 42.73 seconds over 732 metres on Sunday, July 23.
Also adding extra support to the series was Cape Bridgewater owner-trainer Scott Blacksell who pledged $100 for every win by Mocambora Mia during the Mia Powell series. From limited starts, she won a maiden in August.
Another great supporter of the Tara Tipsters “Chasing for Charity” is Kerry Hawker of Edenhope. While not one of the Tara Tipsters as such, her contribution on a regular basis to the charities has been outstanding.
The Tara Tipsters was the brainchild of Kevin “KD” Douglas, who after a long involvement with the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club decided to take things a step further and apply for a handler’s licence.
Then he came up with a format called “Catch for Cash” whereby any trainer whose greyhound he caught could, if he or she so desired, place a gold coin in the charity jar that was placed in the club office.
Later, it was decided to extend the “Catch for Cash” into a tipping competition with a local charity being selected and the tipsters paying $5 a meeting to go towards the chosen charity.
From a humble group of half a dozen or so local participants that number has now grown to more than 20 contestants each meeting. Some even participate remotely.
More than $20,000 has now been donated to local charities. And at the end of each series a Tara Tipsters 512 metre feature race is conducted with representatives from the charity attending for a presentation.