Promising youngster He’s All Purpose upstaged his older rivals on the big stage at Angle Park on Friday night when taking out the final of the SA TAB Country Cup (530 metres).
Fairly away from box seven, the black dog had to work hard to cross over on the first turn before taking the lead off the back from Gawler representative It’s Smudgy.
And in the run home, He’s All Purpose just kept finding, eventually defeating the Murray Bridge candidates Barbados Express (Ben Rawlings) and Sudden Force (Lauren Harris) by a length and two lengths respectively in 30.76 seconds.
Owned and trained at Meningie by Tim Richards, the February 2020 son of Aston Dee Bee x Purpose Driven had qualified for the $5000-to-the-winner final with an outstanding 29.69 seconds Mount Gambier heat win over 512 metres last month.
Then, as a lead-in to the Country Cup final – the meeting highlighted by the running of the $100,000-to-the-winner Adelaide Cup – Richards ran He’s All Purpose in a Juvenile (530 m) at Angle Park 11 days out.
“He won that well, running a best of night 30.74 seconds,” he said. “I then had to decide whether to give him another run before the final. In the end I decided to go into the race without another run.
“As it turned out, he had to do it the hard way but he’s got a big heart and in running I always thought he would be able to get the job done.
“Needless to say, I was very happy with his effort. He’s really starting to mature now and I reckon he has the potential to develop into a pretty handy greyhound.”
Richards said He’s All Purpose had been a timid sort of pup in the backyard but his girlfriend Tanya Bialek – flying the flag on Friday night for Mount Gambier in her club top – had never lost faith in him.
“To be honest, there were times when I had a few doubts about the dog but Tanya always reckoned he was going to be ok. As it’s turned out, he’s given me my biggest win so far.”
From a Mount Gambier point of view, 2021 has been a big year for Richards and his greyhounds at Tara Raceway.
He’s trained 34 winners at the track which includes Summer Classic winner Justice For all, a 400 metres track record of 22.55 seconds with Almighty Stripe and He’s All Purpose’s Country Cup heat win.
“I’m of the opinion that my dogs have benefited from racing at Tara Raceway. With a finish-on-lure and one that generates plenty of noise it offers something different. A change from time to time certainly doesn’t do the dogs any harm,” he said.
As far as He’s All Purpose is concerned, Richards will now look at picking up his grade six races with him. He is also paid up for the SA bred Breeders 2022 races which will culminate with the Group 3 Howard Ashton next year.
So for the former Australian Rules premiership coach, now with 16 dogs in work and these days classing himself as a full-time hobby trainer, how does the Country Cup win shape up against winning a flag?
“Look, don’t get me wrong, Friday night’s win was a terrific thrill and it was great to do the Mount Gambier club proud. But I’m a competitive person and I reckon it would take an Adelaide Cup to upstage another premiership win.
“Greyhound racing is certainly filling the void but I still harbour the urge to coach again.”
Mount Gambier’s other representative was Rough Pearl, part-owned and trained at Worrolong by Lee Bartholomew in partnership with her daughter Elysia.
A winner of nine races at Tara Raceway this year, the son of Dyna Double One and West On Jorji was never far away. In the end he was two lengths behind the winner, a photo costing connections third place.
With Gawler, Murray Bridge and Mount Gambier represented on Friday night, the SA Country Cup is a far cry from when clubs at Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Kulpara, Barmera, Strathalbyn and Mount Gambier were all involved.
In 2013 the Country Cup was re-introduced and included Gawler, Strathalbyn, Mount Gambier and Port Augusta. The final was shared between Gawler and Strathalbyn and coincided with those clubs’ cup nights.
Mount Gambier won the 2013 cup when the Tracie Price trained Moorak Hope was successful at Gawler. In 2016 Nicole Stanley followed up for Mount Gambier at Strathalbyn with Berry Bling.
In 2017 it was switched to Angle Park to coincide with the Adelaide Cup. He’s All Purpose is the first greyhound representing Mount Gambier to win the event at the city track.
Pictures: Courtesy of Kurt Donsberg