Tuesday, February 25, 2020
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club surely couldn’t have hoped for a better Summer Classic final (512 metres) than that of last Sunday at Tara Raceway.
The Summer Classic was first run in 2015 after the inaugural Winter Classic had been staged in August 2014, the club looking to promote two age-restricted feature races during the year to cater for greyhounds no older than 25 months.
And David Peckham, of Allendale East, successful with Squishy Pea in December’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup and in January’s Tara Trackstar No. 2 with Dyna Naitch, looked a strong chance to land another feature win with either Sweet On Me or Call Me Billy.
However, success in the Summer Classic had previously eluded him, Blitz And Bolt running second to Hutch in 2017 and Rose Ali, owned at the time by Noel Mugavin of Warrnambool, last year running second to Banjo Bad Boy.
Members of the Barcia Bale x Call Me Gee litter, Sweet On Me and Call Me Billy were well in commission at around the $3 mark and when the former held out Bay Me to take the lead at the first turn she was always going to be hard to run down.
That’s how it panned out, the black bitch holding out a determined Bay Me, owned and trained at Portland by Andy Graham, to win by 1½ lengths in 29.83 seconds while third placegetter Call Me Billy and Perseverance virtually went over the line together when finishing a further 1¼ lengths back.
The first and third placegetters are raced by the Nineofus Syndicate, managed by Ross Schurgott who watched the race in Port Augusta where he is currently holidaying.
The pair, also originally owned by Mugavin, has been in Peckham’s kennels since the end of November, Schurgott entering into negotiations with the owner during December in a bid to purchase Sweet On Me.
“We like to purchase dogs that David is already training and while we were pretty keen on Sweet On Me it was a case of Noel initially not really interested in selling,” Schurgott said.
“We then tried to purchase the pair in a package deal but I was quickly back to David to inform him that I didn’t think the sale was any chance of happening.
“A week later, though, a phone call out of the blue informs us the pair is for sale. And all of a sudden come early January we find ourselves with a couple of classic contenders.”
The Summer Classic has an interesting history as far as the Mount Gambier Cup is concerned. The first four classic winners – Cryer’s Ricky, Menzel Boys, Hutch and Galactic Panther – all reached the cup final the following month.
And 2015 classic finalist Lots Of Yap a month later won the Mount Gambier Cup for Ben Boers while Galactic Athena, third to Banjo Bad Boy last year, followed up several weeks later with a memorable cup win for Steve Bartholomew over Slingshot Hammer.
Peckham, now looking at the Murray Bridge Cup as a lead-in to Mount Gambier’s biggest race, will run into Galactic Athena with Call Me Billy in a grade six 455 metre event at the Sunday night meeting.
Andy Graham’s Bay Me, a daughter of Lots Of Yap, lost no friends with her gallant second behind Sweet On Me, the Portland trainer saying that he also was looking at contesting next month’s Mount Gambier Cup heats.