Thursday, March 14, 2019
The fields come out for Sunday’s 10-race greyhound meeting at Tara Raceway and the interesting runner for the day is the Simon Payne trained Molly Coaster who has drawn box four in the Produce Store Stake (512 metres).
So an email is fired off, seeking some information on owners, trainer and greyhound and hoping that the trainer is in a position to make contact with a few relevant details pertaining to Molly Coaster.
But there was no cause for concern. No sooner had the email been sent than Simon Payne was on the phone, on a break from his duties as senior sergeant at the Melton Police Station.
And yes, he’s got the Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup well and truly in his sights with Molly Coaster, a winner of three races, all at Sandown Park.
While the black bitch’s last win was back in September, since then she has run nine minor placings, all at either Sandown Park (515 m) or The Meadows (525 m) with Payne’s assessment of her being that while she’s a slow starter she finishes her races off very well.
As such, with personal best times of 29.63 seconds at Sandown Park and 30.12 seconds at The Meadows, she should be hard to hold out in Sunday’s six-dog grade six field.
Molly Coaster is owned by the Package Syndicate which comprises Paul Giddings and Chris Wright of Package Landscape, the pair previously enjoying success with the Payne-trained Cosmic Coaster, a Sandown Park and The Meadows winner.
Purchased as a pup, Molly Coaster is by Fabregas out of Victorian city winner Reiko Bale and comes from a more than handy litter that also includes Fab Reiko, Reiko Ablett and Reiko Rocketta.
Payne is heavily involved in the Melton community, having previously coached the Melton Football Club and currently is the president of the Melton Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club which he is hopeful will soon be conducting drag lure coursing meetings.
And he’s looking forward to finally taking in a race meeting at Tara Raceway.
“I come over to the area quite regularly to fish at Nelson and while I’ve often driven past the track it’s always been on a day when racing wasn’t being conducted,” he said.
“I’m hoping Molly Coaster can do enough on Sunday to warrant coming back the following weekend in order to also take in the Calcutta which I’ve already heard so much about.”
As far as greyhounds are concerned, the Calcutta has a long history, dating back to the days of open coursing while the Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta is unique to SA greyhound racing.
For those not quite sure what the Calcutta is all about, tickets are now on sale at $1 each or $80 for a book of 100 from Tim Holmes on race days or on the night of the Calcutta (Saturday, March 23).
On Calcutta night, ticket holders will have the chance of drawing a runner in the following day’s cup heats. Those drawing a runner will receive half of what that greyhound attracts when auctioned later in the night – in other words, if sold for $100 then the ticket holder receives $50 with the other $50 added to the Calcutta pool.
Winning ticket holders can bid on their greyhound and pay half price if they are the successful bidder at the auction which will be conducted by Chris Manser of Green Triangle Real Estate. Calcutta pools vary from year to year but last year’s cup winner Xtreme Caution delivered a pay out of more than $4000 for a modest outlay.
Meanwhile, Kongorong-based Springvale Alysa, the greyhound purchased by John Little, Liz Newberry and Kevin Mullan from the proceeds of last year’s Calcutta windfall, has drawn box seven in Sunday night’s Murray Bridge Cup Consolation (455 m).
One of the better local greyhounds going around Tara Raceway at the moment, Springvale Alysa will contest a heat of the Mount Gambier Cup on Sunday week.