Thursday, September 13, 2018
Short course specialist Oh No Beta found winning form again for the first time since May when successful in last Sunday’s Williams Crane Hire Open Stake (400 metres).
And in doing so the well bred son of Lochinvar Marlow and National Futurity winner Sometimes Speedy has now accumulated 49 points – seven wins, nine seconds and three thirds – to give him a half-point lead over Chilly Kiss in this year’s Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year award.
Owned in Adelaide by Jason Caddy, Oh No Beta is trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley who will be looking for her third consecutive GOTY award after previous success with Old Jock and then Fiorelli Rose last year.
Scoring for the leading greyhound won’t conclude until Tara Raceway’s final meeting of the year, on Sunday, December 30, but already the battle is heating up with Robert Halliday’s Redda, who doesn’t miss too many meetings, slipping unobtrusively into third spot with 43 points.
There’s plenty of GOTY form around Cryer’s Plugger, his dam, Cryer’s Midget the GOTY in 2011 and Cryer’s Fred, a full brother to Plugger, winner of the award in 2015 for Margaret and Tom Cryer.
By Spring Gun, Cryer’s Plugger, who these days races almost exclusively at Tara Raceway, has quickly moved up the leader board and now sits in fourth spot on 39 points.
The most successful greyhound so far this year at Tara Raceway has been the outstanding veteran chaser Paraphernalia who has won eight races and accumulated 36 points in a year that has seen him as the only greyhound to reach the Mount Gambier Cup and the Anniversary Cup finals.
A former 600 metre Tara Raceway record holder, Paraphernalia is trained at Horsham by Jeff Guy who is keen to keep the 124-start fawn dog racing at the local track where he believes the son of Big Daddy Cool and Scrappy Coco is best suited these days and by no means out of contention for the GOTY.
Other Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year winners in recent years have been 2012 Maldini’s Motion (Cassie Billington), 2013 Just Humphrey (Lee Bartholomew) and 2014 Rouse Flyer (Barry Shepheard).
Tracie Price, who will win this year’s inaugural Ian Badger Leading Trainer award, is yet to train 100 winners at Tara Raceway in a season but goes into Sunday’s meeting with 97, The Border Watch selections suggesting that by day’s end the Compton trainer will be sitting on 102.
Nicole Stanley, last year’s leading trainer with 111 winners, is comfortably placed in second spot with 57 while Cap Abbott, David Peckham and Halliday are all in contention for third place.
The days of the leading local sire are long gone but not so the leading dam with local brood bitches Azumi Touch, owned by the Bartholomew family, and Price’s Who’s Doing What having a great battle out in front – only one win separating the pair.
Members of Azumi Touch’s litter by Dyna Tron, which have produced the majority of her 21 winners this year, should figure prominently at Tara Raceway on Sunday, Azumi Ryder the current standout with five wins and 36 points in the GOTY award.
Who’s Doing What’s litter by Knocka Norris includes this year’s 512 metre Peter Rocket Winter Classic winner Smart Knocka, successful in a race record time of 29.85 seconds.
Last year’s leading dams were Which Class (44 wins), followed by Cryer’s Midget 26, and Blonde Caviar and Swift Blaze 21.
Currently, there is no leading dam award although there’s probably no reason why one couldn’t be re-introduced if only to acknowledge the amount of time and effort that goes into the breeding of a litter.