Thursday, April 6, 2017
A recent clean-out of the old green shed at Tara Raceway turned up plenty of rubbish but also some interesting memorabilia – much of it still to be sifted through.
Lying on the top of one of the many boxes in the shed was a dust-covered journal that listed Tara Raceway award winners from the beginning of greyhound racing at Glenburnie in 1979-80 through to the 1986-87 season.
It seems back then that there was an award for pretty well everything – Proud Services Trainer of the Year with Ian Badger Tara Raceway’s first-ever leading trainer followed by Kevin Guthridge (twice), Coralie Allchurch, Connie Miller, John Reid, Peter Black and then Miller again in 1986-87.
Then there was the Proud Services Greyhound of the Year with Plain Bonny the first recipient prior to Tara Topar, Campeador, Endeavour Lee, Versuveus, Kenzel Lad, Kenzel Lad/Reeling Away and then Kenzel Lad again which would have been a fair sort of effort.
There was also a Greyhound of the Year runner-up while Ward Leicester sponsored the Leading Woman Trainer and runner-up and Jim Butchard the Leading Man Trainer and runner-up. Daryl Black was the Owner-Trainer of the Year in 1986-87 and in 1985-86 Allen Williams picked up the Leading Owner award.
Back when there were stud dogs standing locally it was Forest King, Tara Pine and Youthful Prince who figured prominently in the Leading Local Stud Dog while there was also an award for runner-up.
Leading Local Brood Bitch honours went to Miss Lemoss (twice), Happy Hostess, Pine Break and Bianca Sue with runners-up being Peatwood Lass, Cash Supreme, Girl Of Fame and La Fourchette.
It’s worth bearing in mind that back then there were no spreadsheets to record race results in order to keep a running tally of the numerous awards. No, this particular journal listed race results – placegetters, times, margins and trainers – from 1984 through to 1987, all in the hand-written form.
Most certainly there were plenty of blasts from the past when it came to trainers’ names listed in the journal although a few present-day participants to jump out included Miller and Williams, Richard Clayfield, Bob Wombwell and Steve Bartholomew.
And another interesting name to crop up was Jack Casey of Penshurst who was successful in November 1984 with a dog called Calgary in a 479 metre event.
Casey, who no longer trains but is a Tara Raceway regular and has an interest in a couple of greyhounds with Glencoe trainer Barry Shepheard, remembers the dog well.
“He was by Leader’s Jester out of Dinkum Shell and owned at Portland by Graham Cole whom I trained quite a few winners for,” he said.
“I reckon the trainers getting winners at Tara Raceway these days should be thankful that I’m no longer hands-on,” he joked.
Meanwhile, Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, after a couple of big meetings, has once again shot away in the male-dominated 2017 Leading Trainer award and with 172 points (32, 15, 14) leads Tracie Price on 141 (23, 18, 13) and David Peckham 140 (21, 20, 16).
Blitz And Bolt, a handy $1200 pick-up for Miller, Peckham and Ross Schurgott, leads the Greyhound of the Year on 24 points (4, 3, 2), one clear of kennelmate Thanks Captain (4, 3, 1) with Tipping Woody sitting in third spot on 22 (3, 3, 4).
However, Blitz And Bolt’s lead could be short-lived with connections now looking at placing the dog in Adelaide.
Briefly, back to that 1984-87 dusty journal that also had a race programme from December 14, 1985 slotted among its many pages.
No 12 races at Tara Raceway back then, only eight, with the prizemoney breakdown being $60, $20, $10. Trainers, these days, pick up $60 just for driving through the gates on a race day.