Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Baby of the field whacks classy opposition in Summer Classic heat

Monday, February 18, 2019

Boom youngster Galactic Athena, after an impressive maiden 512 metre win last week in 29.74 seconds at her first race start, had no trouble in taking the next step at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon in heat one of the Summer Classic (512 metres).

Robert Chuck (left) and Steve Bartholomew pictured with Galactic Athena after her outstanding Summer Classic heat win at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

Away quickly from box three, the brindle bitch led all the way to defeat Vermouth, a recent Angle Park 515 metre winner in a quick 29.80 seconds, and Rose Ali, previously unbeaten in her three starts at Tara Raceway and a last start winner over 512 metres at Tara Raceway in 29.72 seconds.

In a remarkable performance, Galactic Athena ran out an 8¼ length winner in 29.61 seconds. “29.74 last week, 29.61 today – cop that!” was race caller Ray Fewings’s take on the race for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2017.

Also remarkable is the fact that the August 24, 2017 daughter of Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball doesn’t turn 18 months of age until Sunday, the day when Galactic Athena takes on Vermouth, Rose Ali, Bourne Thanks, Maunganui Magic, Cee Sprite, Banjo Bad Boy and Galactic Mojo in the 2019 Summer Classic final.

She’s owned by Robert Chuck, 60, of Moorak and trained at Worrolong by Steve Bartholomew, 59, long-time mates who combined last year to win the Summer Classic with Galactic Athena’s half-brother Galactic Panther (by Irish-bred sire Milldean Panther).

Chuck won three races at Tara Raceway with Galactic Rumball – purchased as a pup from Bartholomew – in what was an injury-interrupted 21-start career before breeding two litters with the daughter of Cosmic Rumble x Elite Touch, the second to the Canadian-bred Paddy Whacker who has sired just under 40 litters in Australia.

For Chuck, never afraid to look outside the square, the decision to use Paddy Whacker was interesting, the subsequent litter by the All American currently his last registered in Australia.

“To be honest, I was impressed with his breeding (Heart Rumble x Spicy Candy) and his race performances in the US. Also, I was looking to try and breed some strength into the pups,” he said.

Part-owner Connie Miller with Bourne Thanks, into the Summer Classic final after winning the second heat.

Chuck’s next breeding venture is likely to be with Galactic Cat, a winner at Tara Raceway, Bendigo, Traralgon, Warrnambool and Horsham and a half-sister to Galactic Athena, with the sire of choice being the US sire Flying Stanley.

And with future breeding in mind, he has also purchased straws to Dragon Fire (Brett Lee x Hoops Slamdunk) and a son Blazin Wildfire (out of Tin Nee Ann).

But short term it’s all about Galactic Athena and this Sunday’s Summer Classic final to be followed by a campaign that includes the Group Listed Murray Bridge Cup (455 m) and Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) next month.

“Subject to everything going to plan we’re looking at running her at Murray Bridge on March 3 and then tackle the cup heats there on Friday, March 8,” said Chuck, whose first individual success came 12 years ago when the Robert Halliday bred Galactic Storm was successful at Tara Raceway over 277 metres in 16.99 seconds.

“The plan is then to run her in the Mount Gambier Cup, heats of which will be run on Sunday, March 24 with the final the following week.”

Bourne Thanks made it two wins in a row at Tara Raceway when railing through on the home turn and running out a two length winner over Maunganui Magic with a further three-quarters of a length back to Cee Sprite in the second heat of the classic.

Part-owned by David Peckham and Connie Miller and trained by the former at Allendale East, Bourne Thanks is by Barcia Bale out of Thanks Tubby. And while her winning time was something like 16 lengths slower than the first heat it was a race marred by plenty of interference.

Banjo Bad Boy was an impressive winner of heat three of the Summer Classic for Karen and Tracie Price.

Banjo Bad Boy looked pretty good when leading all the way from box six in the third and final heat of the classic, running out a 6½ length winner over Galactic Athena’s litter sister Galactic Mojo in 30.10 seconds.

Purchased from well-known owner Andrew Varasdi by Karen and Tracie Price of Compton after winning a maiden at Goulburn last September, the white and black son of Banjo Boy x Banjo Bewdy, according to connections, had always shown potential.

“Initially he was simply terrible in the kennels,” Karen Price said. “But I think he just needed time to mature because he’s certainly a different dog now.”

Price is yet to win a Summer Classic, coming close last year with Dynamite Danger who ran second to Galactic Panther. By Dyna Double One x Mepunga Jayelle, Dynamite Danger is now racing in New Zealand where he has won six races.

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