Thursday, April 20, 2017
It didn’t take Born Billy long to fall out of favour.
He’s the greyhound who not all that long ago was running 29.84 seconds around the Sandown Park 515 metre circuit and 24.11 seconds at Bendigo over 425 metres.
But by the time Southern Cross trainer Peter Byrne took him over for Warrnambool breeder-owner Noel Mugavin the son of Velocette x Molly Grace had lost form and found himself on occasions warming the bench as a reserve.
However, things finally turned around late last month when Born Billy won his first race in nine months, defeating Miss Pineapple in a 400 metre event at Tara Raceway before following up again at the next meeting with an impressive 512 metre win over Spring’s Over in 30.21 seconds.
Joining Byrne at last Sunday’s meeting was his wife Narelle – over for a day out with the “Byrne Bunch” – Connor, Talor and Tessa.
This was the first time she’d attended a greyhound meeting at Tara Raceway and as it turned out she picked a good day.
Born Billy had raced at Sandown Park over 515 metres the previous Sunday and despite being beaten by 11 lengths Byrne hadn’t been all that disappointed with the effort although last Sunday’s ClassicBet Stake was going to be the first time he’d ever been over the 600 metre journey.
A win here, though, would see him join a relatively small group of greyhounds to have won over the three current distances run at Tara Raceway.
Byrne, who had previously trained the former 600 metre record holder Unsub Andy (35.04 seconds) was confident Born Billy would give his rivals something to chase early but wasn’t too sure how he would handle the extra distance even though his litter brother Silverali (also owned by Mugavin) is a winner at The Meadows over 725 metres.
But those who took the short odds never had any cause for concern, Born Billy ultimately running out a 7¾ length winner in 35.64 seconds.
The win was Byrne’s sixth at Tara Raceway this year which so far has been highlighted by Arabella Figg’s Mount Gambier Cup heat win and subsequent second to Fabregal in the final.
Heavily involved in greyhound racing through his Koroit trial track and breaking-in establishment, Byrne confirmed on Sunday that he would once again sponsor a feature event at Tara Raceway in June with the winner receiving a four-week breaking-in package.
And he’ll be back for Sunday’s ANZAC meeting with Arabella Figg and Born Billy set to clash in an interesting ANZAC 600 Mixed Stake (600 m).
This will be the fourth year the ANZAC meeting – gate takings are donated to Legacy – has been run at Tara Raceway but the first time that a middle-distance feature has been conducted.
Cryer’s Jack, narrowly beaten earlier this month over 600 metres by McIvor Verna, is racing with renewed vigour for Apsley trainer Tom Cryer and with a personal best of 35.40 seconds looks well placed in box one.
The Tracie Price trained Lyon Rose and Nicole Stanley’s Stylish Pursuit also have fast personal best times to their credit while John Cameron’s Fascinated showed plenty of early pace over 650 metres at Warrnambool on Wednesday night.
TRAINER CHASES THIRD ANZAC FEATURE
Allendale East trainer David Peckham will be chasing his third ANZAC 512 metre feature when Blitz And Bolt and Thanks Captain line up in Sunday’s ANZAC Gift.
Blitz And Bolt, currently sharing the Greyhound of the Year lead with Tipping Woody on 28 points, looks well drawn in box two while the enigmatic Thanks Captain – equal second in the GOTY with Stylish Pursuit on 24 points – ran Mojito Mayhem to two lengths when finishing third at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
Peckham won the inaugural ANZAC feature in 2014 with Thanks Tubby while the following year saw Nathan Wilson’s Sunday Shoes successful.
And then last year Ponting’s Nail was first past the post but was later disqualified with the Peckham-trained second placed Weblec Angel subsequently awarded the race.
Peckham also looks to hold a strong hand in the ANZAC Sprint (400 m) with Cosmic Lacey and Raz’s Girl, both drawn awkwardly but racing in good form.
Richard Clayfield’s former 400 metre record holder Slippers Might won the inaugural Sprint prior to Allen Williams’ Bluey Benz and Tracie Price’s Marlow Moment last year.
A new race at this year’s ANZAC meeting is the Ivor Dowdell Memorial, a 400 metre sprint for grade five greyhounds.
Dowdell, still training greyhounds in his nineties, died earlier this year. Born on April 25, 1922, he served in Borneo during World War II.