Saturday, July 21, 2018
Sometimes the time-graded meetings at Tara Raceway throw up a greyhound that looks to be so well-graded in the lower class, non-penalty format that, all things being equal, the dog should just win.
Boona Lad was a case in point at last Thursday’s meeting when he lined up in the Williams Crane Hire Stake, a grade six 400 metre sprint, connections appearing to have found the right race for a confidence booster after a couple of tough encounters at Horsham and Ballarat.
The black dog’s only downside was the fact that he had never raced at Tara Raceway and that he had been done no favours with a box six draw. But we’re talking about a dog that a couple of months ago was running a quick 25.08 seconds at Warrnambool over 450 metres.
As things panned out, a new track and a bad box mattered little, Boona Lad quickly finding the front and tearing away to a 6¾ length win in a best of day time of 23.01 seconds for owner Jake Rhode who brought the winner over for Warrnambool trainer Norm McCullagh.
McCullagh’s last runner at Tara Raceway had been a couple of years ago when he was successful with Ella Rhode. Prior to that, in 2004, he had won the Mount Gambier Cup with Bay Rhode.
Boona Lad is a member of the Magic Sprite x So Much Joy litter which was reared by McCullagh and Rhode for Warrnambool greyhound identities Phil Mitchem and Stuart Bishop – Rhode taking a particular liking to a black dog pup.
“He was probably only about four months old at the time but I really liked him so I purchased him from Phil and Stuart. He turned out to be Boona Lad who has now won six races and run seven minor placings for $12,000 in stakemoney,” he said.
Rhode, involved in the sport for four years, is now hoping Boona Lad can add to his record when he jumps from box one in a heat of the GRV Vic Bred Series over 450 metres at Ballarat on Wednesday night.
Training honours for Thursday were shared by Dean Fennell of Glencoe and Kevin Ashton who regularly makes the five-hour trip to Mount Gambier from Charlton.
Fennell has really picked up the pace this month, having trained more winners in July than for the first six months of the year – his double with Hard Call in the Produce Store Stake (400 m) and Allen Unther in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) his second in four days after Hard Call and Ramfied had won at the previous Sunday meeting.
The Ashton-trained Ollie Aztec, who broke an 11-month drought when winning two time-graded races last month, led all the way in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 m) to defeat kennelmate Mr Agro.
In the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), Ashton completed a double with China Catch ‘Em, having his first start for his new trainer and his first at the track, taking the lead down the back straight before running out a convincing winner in 30.61 seconds.
The double was Ashton’s first at Tara Raceway since January when he was successful with Spotted Gunn and Dream Edition.