Monday, July 30, 2018
The last time Geelong greyhound trainer Mick Vaughan was at Tara Raceway with Shep was at the beginning of July when he ran into Rockoon on the day he decided to break the 512 metre track record.
And while on Sunday Rockoon was 3500 kilometres away tackling a heat of the Darwin Cup, Shep still found himself up against some fair sort of dogs, not the least being Tuggeragh, a winner of 32 races and needing only a win in the winningformula.net.au Mixed Stake (512 m) to take his stake earnings to more than $100,000.
A winner at Tara Raceway last October, the 4½-year-old Shep came into the race on the back of a win in a Veteran race at Shepparton 10 days ago, but as one of the outsiders at $11 in the five-dog field that form was not really expected to hold up against the majority of his rivals.
However, Sunday was going to be his litter’s day. Lining up from box six at start number 105, the black son of the imported Westmead Osprey and Eily McMahon went out of the first turn in front and was never headed, holding off Blitz And Bolt to win by a length in a personal best time of 30.11 seconds.
This was the 14th time Shep had won, other success coming at The Meadows, Warrnambool, Geelong, Traralgon, Ballarat and Warragul – his durability and versatility perhaps inherited from Eily McMahon who only ever whelped the one litter.
By Trewly Special, the city-winning Eily McMahon went around on 80 occasions for 15 wins and 24 minor placings over distances ranging from 450 metres to 658 metres.
Earlier in the day, Shep’s litter sister and kennelmate, Eily West, led all the way from box three to defeat the Cap Abbott trained Blonde Barbados by 1¼ lengths in 23.58 seconds in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake, the first heat of a grade five over 400 metres.
Although this was her first win at Tara Raceway, Eily West – another durable and versatile chaser with 84 starts to her name – had previously won 15 races at the same tracks as Shep.
And Sunday’s double was the littermates’ third, Shep and Eily West also successful on March 2, 2016 at The Meadows and again on August 19, 2016 at Geelong.
Vaughan, who also bred and owns the littermates, said he was now keen to breed with Eily West, a winner of three races in the city and close to $50,000 in stakemoney.
Calling the races on Sunday was Ray Fewings who is generally good for an on-air quote.
As runners were being paraded prior to the running of the first grade five heat, Fewings said he wasn’t too sure how Cap Abbott would handle a blonde in Barbados. Quick to respond, the silver-haired Abbott, 75, was adamant that he would have no trouble in coping!