Monday, August 27, 2018
Compton trainer Tracie Price landed his third Winter Classic when promising youngster Smart Knocka was successful in Sunday’s Peter Rocket Winter Classic final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.
The win followed success for the leading trainer in the inaugural classic with Stylish Moment in 2014 and with Cee Me Burst the following year.
Raced by Price in partnership with WA owners Andrew and Peter Haines, the September 2016 son of Knocka Norris and Who’s Doing What went into the age-restricted classic final with only three starts to his name.
The blue dog had impressed when winning on debut at Angle Park back in early June before injury saw him sidelined until last week when he cast aside any doubts about his fitness with a 30.10 seconds classic heat win.
A $1.50 favourite after drawing box one in the final, Smart Knocka, also bred by Price, was only fairly away but quickly mustered pace to lead the way out of the first turn, Gotta Wobble Up and Azumi Ryder doing the chasing down the back.
He was never going to be beaten, though, eventually running out a 6½ length winner over the Lee Bartholomew trained Azumi Ryder in race record time of 29.85 seconds, the previous record credited to Stylish Moment at 30.27 seconds.
Running a gallant third, a further 2½ lengths back, was the winner’s kennelmate Cee Me Turbo, a son of the 2015 winner, while Scott Blacksell’s Gotta Wobble Up ran a personal best time of 30.49 seconds when finishing fourth.
And even light rain falling as Kevin “KD” Douglas got presentation proceedings underway failed to dampen the spirits of Price as he thanked the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club for its willingness to run age-restricted feature races in a bid to support local greyhound breeders.
Price also made a point of thanking his team for their help. “I’m listed as the trainer but the operation is a real team effort and I’m really grateful for their support.”
He was also full of praise for Smart Knocka and the manner in which he has returned to racing, saying that he would probably next race in Adelaide.
Winning connections received a service to Peter Rocket, sire of the 512 metre Tara Raceway record holder Rockoon, also trained by Price, who was engaged in the following race on Sunday.
Slowly away from box one in the Williams Crane Hire Mixed Stake (512 m), Rockoon was still last going into the back straight before turning in a huge effort to run down Hit The Runway and win by two lengths in 29.95 seconds.
The win was the culmination of a good few days for Rockoon whose Group 1 Hume Cup win at The Meadows last year was awarded the Greyhound Clubs Australia Run of the Year at a function in Melbourne last Thursday night.