Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Christmas comes early for Price

The Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup presentation. From left: Noel Perry (MGGRC president), Jedd and Josh Williams, Damian Monaghan, Ben and Sarah Price. Front: Harper, Tracie and Karen Price and Maci with Mister Banjo.

Back on January 1, 2023, it was Jayville Zoe, Ebby Tock and Donny Rocks who kicked off what was to be another big year at Tara Raceway for local trainer Tracie Price.

And as the year draws to a close the winners are still coming thick and fast for the Compton-based trainer who dominated last Sunday’s Christmas Cup meeting when training four winners.

All told, with four race meetings still remaining this year, Price has now trained 182 local winners – one more than last year.

Complementing the Christmas Cup meeting was the fifth running of the Peter Whitehead Memorial Maiden over 400 metres. Price actually trained the winners of the first two memorials – Elle Limes and Sally Limes – for local owner Bernie Bouchier.

In between came a couple of Portland winners in the form of Smiling Stan (Nifty Lenehan) and Compton Robbie (Robert Halliday).

Once again, the Whitehead family and friends were out in force to support the memorial. And once again Price trained the winner of the event – on this occasion with second-starter High On Life.

Raced by Adelaide owner Nick Lalli, High On Life was only fairly away from box four but quickly found the front before racing away for an easy win over kennelmate Aston Zeppelin in 23.53 seconds.

The fawn daughter of Zambora Brockie and two-race Dapto winner Nangar Mia is a granddaughter of Fancy Liza, winner of the 2013 Group 1 Association Cup (720 m) at Wentworth Park.

Jarrad Williams (left) and Jason Newman with Redshift Uniform, winner of the Dasher Distance in quick time.

The Christmas Cup (512 m) was first run at Tara Raceway in 2011 when won by Allendale East trainer David Peckham’s Napoleon Wiz.

There was plenty of interest in this year’s 512 metre Christmas Cup – these days known as the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup – with the majority of the finalists also chasing a spot in the following Thursday night’s Border Challenge (450 m) at Warrnambool.

Also, further interest was added with the Peckham trained Aston Ziebell looking to become the first back-to-back Christmas Cup winner.

And when another of his runners in Federal Flash took up the early running from the Price trained Mister Banjo it did appear as though Peckham could have been in line for a fifth Christmas Cup.

But it was Price who ended up with another Christmas Cup to his name after Mister Banjo finished powerfully when running out a three length winner over the early leader in a personal best time of 29.63 seconds.

Previously he had been successful with Who’s Doing What in 2014, Fear The Rascal the following year, and Golly Gumdrops in 2020.

Josh Williams, of Williams Crane Hire, once again was on-course with his family to make the presentation to connections – none happier than first time owner Damian Monaghan who 12 months ago teamed up with a group from Hamilton to race Mister Banjo.

By Zambora Brockie out of El Rapido – a winner of 17 races and $68,000 in prize money – Mister Banjo has now won 18 races at Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge, Warrnambool and Horsham.

Adding to Price’s day was Aston Cherokee’s all the way win over kennelmate Aston Radar in the Exchange Printers Stake (400 m) by four lengths in a tidy 23.00 seconds.

And then in the Hyland Fox Stake (512 m), it was Minh Ellie who fought out a spirited battle with Sir Patrick before running out a length winner in a personal best time of 30.22 seconds.

Meanwhile, the four-dog added money Dasher Distance Open Stake (732 m) raised a few eyebrows after third and fourth placegetters were beaten 30 lengths and 38 lengths respectively. Raised eyebrows of a different kind for the winner, though.

This was Redshift Uniform, trained at Moorak by Jason Newman. She led all the way when defeating Send It Blue by 9¼ lengths. And this had been after finishing a four length fourth over 650 metres at Warrnambool on the Thursday prior.

By Barcia Bale out of Taylor Made Star, Redshift Uniform’s win certainly overshadowed any of her previous 12 Category 2 wins at Tara Raceway this year when becoming only the second greyhound to break 43 seconds at the track over 732 metres.

Track record holder is Zipping Neutron who ran a record 42.73 seconds for Tim Aloisi on July 23. Then on November 12 he ran 42.78 seconds when beating Redshift Uniform by 15¾ lengths.

Her time of 42.96 seconds last Sunday was the third-fastest ever run at the track. And Newman was justifiably pretty proud of the achievement.

The Peter Whitehead Memorial Maiden presentation.
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