Thursday, January 17, 2019
It will be a big month of racing in March when Murray Bridge and Mount Gambier conduct their Group Listed cups – both worth $15,000 to the winner.
With the finals of the inaugural Murray Bridge Cup and the 39th Mount Gambier Cup to be run on Sunday, March 17 and Sunday, March 31 respectively, Greyhound Racing SA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson this week announced the introduction of bonuses that would link the two events.
“The bonuses include $5000 if the same dog can win both the Murray Bridge Cup and the Mount Gambier Cup,” he said.
“In addition there will also be a $5000 trainer bonus if the same trainer is able to win both cups (SA or interstate or different dogs).”
Heats of the Murray Bridge Cup will be run over 455 metres on Friday, March 8 and the Mount Gambier heats (512 m) on Sunday, March 24.
Meanwhile, despite a top win by Hutch in last Sunday’s Produce Store Open Stake (512 m), Portland trainer Robert Halliday says he has no plans for the cup at this stage and is simply taking it one day at a time with his rising four-year-old son of Premier Fantasy x Cairnlea Ellie.
“I don’t really plan ahead with my dogs. The cup is still a couple of months away but if Hutch is up and about come March then I’ll nominate him although a fair bit can happen in that time,” said Halliday, who has never won a Mount Gambier Cup.
Last Sunday Hutch chased speedy front runner Springvale Alysa until off the back where he took the lead, ultimately running out a 2¼ length winner over Paraphernalia in a quick 29.78 seconds and bringing up a treble for his trainer who earlier in the day had been successful with Koda Blue and Molly’s Wally.
Hutch, a finalist in the 2017 Mount Gambier Cup won by Fabregal, failed to make the final last year but was successful in the Cup Consolation.
A lead-in to the cup for the younger greyhounds will be the Summer Classic, run over 512 metres for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2017 – heats for this series on Sunday, February 17 with the $3000 final a week later.
And it’s fair to say that the Summer Classic, first run in 2015, has unearthed some pretty smart greyhounds with all four previous winners reaching the Mount Gambier Cup final the following month.
Inaugural winner was Cryer’s Ricky who clocked 29.96 seconds for trainer Tom Cryer. Menzel Boys won the 2016 event for Tony Hinrichsen and Lisa Rasmussen in 30.01 seconds while Robert Halliday’s Hutch was successful in 2017 in a time of 30.30 seconds. And Steve Bartholomew’s Galactic Panther scored a stirring victory over Dynamite Danger last year in near race-record time of 29.97 seconds.