The largest crowd since last April’s Mount Gambier Cup converged on Tara Raceway last Sunday for the Family Fun in the Sun day.
Sponsored by Greyhound Racing SA (GRSA), the Family Fun Day was part of a four-track promotion. Mount Gambier followed last week’s event at Murray Bridge. Still to come in the next couple of weeks are fun days at Angle Park and Gawler.
This is the second year the Family Fun Day concept has been promoted, GRSA also contributing $10,000 to each club to go towards the running of a feature event final.
But for all that, the prime aim of the promotion was to get families out to the track – greyhound racing on the day perhaps taking second place.
GRSA promoted the day extensively on TV, radio, print and social media. If anything, there were even more kids on track this year – taking advantage of the bouncy castle, face painting, ice cream truck, playground and kids’ races.
Even the trainers, including Kerry Hawker and Tracie Price entered into the spirit of the day by inviting kids onto the track to get up close and personal with their greyhounds.
And the canteen, barbecue, coffee van, bar, TAB and live music adequately accommodated the older brigade.
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s age-restricted Summer Classic (512 metres) was first run in 2015 and last year received the upgrade to $10,000. The fact that it is run early in the year did its cause no harm.
But until last year’s event, won by the Price-trained Honey Rocks, the Summer Classic had never been worth anywhere near that amount. In fact, as things stand at the moment, it’s now the club’s second-richest race of the year.
However, it’s a race that boasts a fair sort of history, having produced some smart greyhounds, not the least being the inaugural winner Cryer’s Ricky who went on to win 22 races for Tom and Margaret Cryer.
To come out of the Carlin & Gazzard Summer Classic heats the previous week was the sensational win of Canya Amy, trained at Rowsley by Matt Lanigan. She defeated the Price-trained Wild Banker by nine lengths in a time of 29.27 seconds – only 1¼ lengths outside the track record.
A week can be a long time in greyhound racing, though. Last Sunday it was box four runner Wild Banker who was in front by the first turn and from then on was never going to be beaten when bringing up his ninth win from 15 starts.
With four finalists, Price certainly held a strong hand. In fact, he ended up with a race quinella after Myall Mate finished a 3½ length second in a winning time of 29.68 seconds. Making it an all-local result was Jason Newman’s Ethanol Tank, who was a further 1¼ lengths back in third spot.
By US sire Need My Moneynow out of Wild Marilyn, Wild Banker – with Compton-based Price since July last year – was bred and is owned at Colebee in NSW by George Kairouz.
Wild Marilyn, also bred by Kairouz, is by Go Wild Teddy out of Hillary. She did all her racing at Angle Park, Gawler and Murray Bridge where she won a total of 16 races.
Making the Summer Classic presentation was Adrian Jones of Carlin & Gazzard. And Price, as is always the case, gratefully acknowledged the help he receives from his team.
Also, for the benefit of the large crowd in attendance, he spoke personally and passionately in relation to the care and attention the racing greyhound receives.
Wild Banker wrapped up a big day for Kairouz and Price after his littermates Wilder and Wild Star had earlier won.
Wilder led all the way from box two in the Commercial Hotel Juvenile Stake (305 m) when defeating Dawny By Name by 2¾ lengths in a quick 17.49 seconds.
And Wild Star couldn’t have been more impressive in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (400 m). Away well from box one, she was always travelling like a winner – the end result a 5½ length win over Nevada Sally in 22.87 seconds. Not bad for a dog having only her fourth race start.