Saturday, December 2, 2017
Portland greyhound trainer Nicole Stanley served notice as far back as January 1 that this was going to be her year when she kicked off the Tara Raceway season with five winners – Evening In Paris, Travel Ticket, Stylish Pursuit, Fiorelli Rose and Old Jock.
And by the end of April, when a further three subsequent race meetings had each netted four winners, Stanley was well on the way to winning her first Mount Gambier trainers’ premiership.
In early November a win by Rowchester Star brought up her 100th winner overall for the year while by the time Friday’s local meeting came around she had been only one short of becoming the first trainer to lead in 100 winners in a season at Tara Raceway.
Shiney Bling, lining up in the Williams Crane Hire Mixed Stake at what would be only her tenth race start and having her first crack over 600 metres, was the greyhound to bring up Stanley’s century.
By My Bro Fabio out of Lollipop Bling, who won most of her eight races over the middle-distance, Shiney Bling went straight to the front from box two, leading all the way for a 5¾ length win in 35.85 seconds.
Now a winner of four races, the nicely-conformed 30 kilogram bitch is a litter sister to All Bling, who recently topped the Bendigo Ready 2 Race Sales when Eaglehawk Railway Hotel publican David Torr purchased the black dog for $20,900.
Stanley’s involvement in greyhound racing goes back more than 20 years and to a friendship with Michelle Emmerson and her husband David who won the 1991 Mount Gambier Cup with Pop Brett.
“At that time I had been showing dogs but whenever Michelle and David were away I would look after their greyhounds. My interest stemmed from there,” she said.
She still remembers her first greyhound – Super Grover, a son of Freewheeler and Vee Line who had been bred by David Emmerson.
“It didn’t turn out to be all that great an introduction to the sport because he only raced on four occasions with his best effort being a 10 length third to Ashanti Dancer at Glenburnie,” Stanley recalled.
And she still has fond memories of her first winner, Our Torri, a daughter of World Title x Avalon Rose that was also bred by Emmerson.
“Even though she raced on 54 occasions and won only three races as well as running 17 minor placings, she still remains one of my favourites.”
Our Torri, who won at her first start at Tara Raceway in July 2001, came out 10 months later at the cup carnival and defeated My Girl Mandy and Tiarni McBeal in the W. A. Fary & Son Distance Championship (732 m) in a time of 45.60 seconds.
But her best dog still remains Go Go Ebo (a son of Zed Three x Marinka Bale), who raced on 56 occasions for 16 wins and $65,000 in prizemoney.
Stanley, who generally has about 20 greyhounds in work, rates Fiorelli Rose’s Anniversary Cup win as one of her season highlights.
“She drew badly in box five in what was a pretty good field but was able to quickly find the front and then hold off Colden Girl and Brazen Blue to win in 30.12 seconds,” she said.
Friday’s meeting was certainly a far cry from those heady days of the mid-2000s when Go Go Ebo was winning the SA Sprint Championship (515 m) at Angle Park by 10 lengths in race record time of 29.49 seconds.
However, “Congratulations Nicole Stanley 100 winners” was flashed on the semaphore board by photo finish operator Paul McIntyre, serving to remind followers of greyhound racing at Tara Raceway of what had been another outstanding achievement.