Monday, February 13, 2017
Long-time Portland greyhound owner-trainer Robert Halliday landed one of his biggest wins at Tara Raceway in recent years when the well-bred Hutch proved too good for a classy line-up of youngsters in Sunday’s General Destini Summer Classic (512 metres).
By Premier Fantasy out of Cairnlea Ellie, a winner of 19 races and more than $50,000 in stakemoney, Hutch, as he had done in a heat last week, crossed from a wide draw and took up the running going out of the first turn.
From then on the April 2015 black dog was never going to be beaten, eventually running out a 3¾ length winner over Blitz And Bolt with a further 3¾ lengths back to Quan’s Flash, a daughter of General Destini.
Robert Halliday’s family is one steeped in greyhound tradition with his father Reuben and son Michael also involved in classic success in the past on the coursing fields and on Victorian city tracks – Refur coming quickly to mind as the winner of the 1994 Maturity at Olympic Park in Melbourne.
And while the Summer Classic is certainly no Maturity, Hutch’s win on Sunday was one from which Halliday derived much pleasure. It was also a win tinged with a touch of sadness.
“I picked Hutch up as a pup from breeder Peter Hubbard and it was a great thrill to win today’s race. But my only regret is that Peter is no longer here to see how well some of the litter is going,” Halliday said.
Formerly of Grassmere, Hubbard died much too soon at the age of 56 last November. Cairnlea Kenny and Cairnlea Ollie have both won their past three starts at Angle Park while Hutch has won his past three at Tara Raceway.
Sunday’s Summer Classic saw Halliday pick up the $2100 first prize along with a service to Norm and Janis Rinaldi’s General Destini (Where’s Pedro x Greys Destiny), a winner of 23 races and more than $270,000 in stakemoney.
This was the third running of the age-restricted classic for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2015 and was well-supported by owners and trainers.
Tom Cryer’s Cryer’s Ricky won the inaugural event in 2015 while Menzel Boys (Lisa Rasmussen) was successful last year.
Both these greyhounds went on to bigger and better things. And Halliday’s Hutch has started his career off in equally impressive fashion.
WALSH WEIGHS UP CUP OPTIONS
Koroit trainer Robert Walsh is weighing up his ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup options after Saint Flynn followed up his Metal Worx Feature Grade Five heat win last week with success in Sunday’s 512 metre final.
Saint Flynn jumped well from box two to quickly find the front and was never headed from thereon, eventually running out a three-quarter length winner over the consistent Lyon Rose with Wayne’s Error a further 3¼ lengths back in third spot in 30.35 seconds.
The March 2014 son of Spring Gun x Real Frosty has come a fair way since winning a maiden 400 metre heat and final series at Tara Raceway back in August-September last year.
Since then, Saint Flynn had won two races at Warrnambool and one at Geelong prior to winning upon returning to Tara Raceway last week.
Speaking after Sunday’s win, Walsh said he would now probably look to running his brindle dog in a Mount Gambier Cup heat on Sunday, February 26.
“I enjoy coming over to Tara Raceway,” Walsh said. “I reckon I’ll be back for the cup even though it will be a tough ask but Saint Flynn does race well here and with his early pace he’s always a chance as he showed today.”
Incidentally, Walsh’s father, Tom, bred Kirkstall Jane (Digital x Courtney Sunset), winner of the 2010 Mount Gambier Cup.
The Peter Byrne bred Saint Flynn has been an interesting story. After damaging a shoulder at 12 months of age, and then spending some months on the sidelines, a frustrated Byrne eventually asked Walsh if he wanted the dog.
“To be honest, I reckon the best thing I did was to bring him over to Tara Raceway because he had been a little hesitant on some other tracks and the finish-on-lure seems to have really brightened him up,” Walsh said.
EXTRA MEETINGS FOR TARA RACEWAY
Things just continue to get busier out at Tara Raceway.
Commencing in April, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club will be racing every Sunday and alternate Fridays.
The trial period will extend until the end of June when Greyhound Racing SA will assess the success or otherwise of the extra meetings.
If successful, there is a possibility the club could be granted two meetings a week.
Meanwhile, next month will kick off with the Mount Gambier Cup meeting on Sunday, March 5 with further racing on March 10, 19, 24 and 26.