Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Aeroplane Mo, winner of the Koroit 600 in early July, brought up his second middle-distance feature win for the month at Tara Raceway when successful in last Sunday’s keenly-contested Eric Lewis Memorial (600 metres).
But Ballarat greyhound trainer Trent Blacker, 31, admits to having his heart in his mouth mid-race when Aeroplane Mo was running third and looked to have plenty of work to do as Ima Caravan bowled along in front.
“To be honest, I really believed he would have to lead to win,” Blacker said. “He’d led all the way to win the Koroit 600 but when he found himself back early from box six on Sunday my thoughts were that he would probably struggle to run them down.”
Turning for home, though, the black dog pulled out to make his run, making a mockery of his trainer’s assessment of the situation when finishing strongly down the middle of the track to defeat Noosa Parade and Ima Caravan in a race record time of 35.55 seconds.
On the line, Aeroplane Mo had a length to spare but such was the evenness of the race that only 2¼ lengths actually separated the field.
The winner is by Collision out of Ritza Night, the litter enjoying a good few days after Mandjoogoordap and Paganoni were both successful at Northam in WA on the Thursday prior.
Blacker’s wife Zoe, who owns Aeroplane Mo, was unable to make the trip over last Sunday, so accompanying him was his mother Carolyn, herself no stranger to feature race success.
Carolyn Blacker, who has developed a keen interest in greyhound racing, was formerly a professional thoroughbred trainer in SA for more than 20 years and trained cup and city feature race winners.
Making the presentation on Sunday was Eric Lewis’s son, Dale, secretary of the South East Greyhound Racing Club (as it was then known) between 1981 and 1983. He said he was still keen to see the memorial step up in distance to 732 metres.
“I’ve still got fond memories of my father’s distance dog Kori Arc winning 12 city distance races in Victoria and of one memorable week when he won over 732 metres at Olympic Park on the Monday night and then won again on the Thursday at Sandown Park over 718 metres.”
Trent Blacker is now hoping that another 732 metre race can be run at Tara Raceway in the not too distant future.
“After the way he finished today, I wouldn’t mind trying him over a bit more ground,” he said. “I’d certainly like to come back here again with him because he seems to race well behind the finish-on-lure.”
Aeroplane Mo is currently the only dog Blacker has in work, however he has four recently broken-in youngsters to soon follow – by Fernando Bale, Banjo Boy and Barcia Bale.
Looking at the memorial placegetters, Noosa Parade, trained at Ecklin South by Peter Fulton, ran a terrific race at what was only his second run back after a two month break while Ima Caravan gave a great front-running display, eventually finishing a 1½ length third for Koroit owner-trainer Robert Walsh.
Ima Caravan is from the Walsh-bred Cape Hawke x Jamaican Ruby litter which also includes I’m A Princess, trained for Walsh by Dustin Drew of Dennington and recent winner of the $10,000-to-the-winner Winter Cup (660 m) at Bendigo.
A second Jamaican Ruby litter (by Banjo Boy), whelped in February 2018, was bred by Fulton.
And finally, Aeroplane Mo repeated the feat of last year’s Eric Lewis Memorial winner Two Jobs, who also won the Koroit 600 for Serviceton trainer David Brodhurst.