Monday, January 7, 2019
Cape Bridgewater greyhound trainer Scott Blacksell conceded he had probably been on a hiding to nothing when he recently took over the training of Paraphernalia, the 2018 Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year, from Jeff Guy of Horsham.
After all, the veteran chaser is pushing five years of age and surely was unlikely to find too much improvement for his new trainer after 138 race starts.
With the exception of a couple of weeks last year, Guy had trained Paraphernalia for all of his 36-win career but, after clinching the GOTY title with a second to Usain Insane at the final Category 3 meeting on December 21, he approached Blacksell about training the fawn dog.
“Jeff, in consultation with owner Chris Johnson, had been keen for Paraphernalia to see out his racing career at Tara Raceway, a track he has a tremendous record on,” Blacksell said.
“Because I’m racing over here most weeks, he asked me if I’d be interested in training the dog for the remainder of his career.”
And it’s fair to say that Paraphernalia hasn’t slipped back too much under his new trainer, as evidenced by his effort in last Sunday’s New Year’s Gift (512 metres) at Tara Raceway’s opening meeting for 2019.
The race soon developed into a two-dog affair, Springvale Alysa, scratched from Angle Park on Thursday night due to the heat, finding the front with Paraphernalia doing the chasing.
Springvale Alysa, always hard to run down when allowed to bowl along in front, certainly gave it her best shot for Kongorong trainer John Little but it was Paraphernalia who finally prevailed, finishing the stronger in the concluding stages of the race to win by a half length in a best of day 29.85 seconds.
The Greyhound of the Year award, along with the Ian Badger Leading Trainer award (Tracie Price), will be presented at Tara Raceway on Sunday, February 3.