SUNDAY, MARCH 25: Nominations closed. SUNDAY, APRIL 1: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, March 27 with GRSA. SUNDAY, APRIL 8: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, April 3 with GRSA. See “Racing Calendar” for full details. HOT WEATHER POLICY: Please note that when the Mount Gambier temperature is forecast at 32 degrees or higher on a race day the kennels will be open a half hour earlier. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Cup attracts classy line-up
Thursday, March 8, 2018
Toolong trainer Phil Lenehan will be hoping Lektra Stomp is the first dog through to the Mount Gambier Cup final (512 metres) when he lines up from box two in heat one of the Group Listed event at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
The fastest greyhound to go around Tara Raceway this year, Lektra Stomp is among a classy line-up that will contest the five heats with the winners and three fastest seconds advancing to the $22,000 final on Sunday, March 18.
The son of Walk Hard and Lektra Angie was close to record-breaking time when running 29.54 seconds late last month and also impressed with a hard-fought win last Sunday when he overcame trouble down the back before railing through in the home straight to defeat Signal Peak and Zipping Zeus.
Speaking earlier this week, Lenehan said if Lektra Stomp could hold out box three runner Chevsta in the run to the first turn then he believed he could be on the way to a final’s berth.
Despite a long involvement in the sport, Sunday will be only the second occasion that Lenehan has had a Mount Gambier Cup runner, the previous time being in 2010 with Dohtmann who later went on to win staying races in the city.
Dohtmann defeated Cass Billington’s Singing Bee in a cup heat before finishing unplaced behind the Barry Shepheard trained Kirkstall Jane in the final.
Later, when mated with Bobby Boucheau, Dohtmann produced the pocket rocket 11-race winner Lektra Kelly who won the feature 600 metre event at Mount Gambier’s 2016 cup carnival.
Shepheard has Zipping Zeus beautifully placed in box one next to Lektra Stomp and while he’s now a rising 4½- year-old the winner of $112,000 in prizemoney has performed well with a win and a third at his only two Tara Raceway starts.
Chevsta has picked up $67,000 in prizemoney from 23 wins and 37 minor placings for Avalon owner-trainer Michelle Mallia-Magri, who looks to hold a strong hand in this year’s cup with the locally bred and owned litter brothers Don Lesta and Print The Money also making the trip over.
By Red Lesta x Rellim Lilly, Don Lesta, who has won seven races and $21,000 in prizemoney, will take on a smart field in heat two which includes last start Tara Raceway winner Paraphernalia, Peter Rocket Summer Classic winner Galactic Panther, Spring Bloom (2017 Strathalbyn Cup) and Signal Peak, a winner of 26 races.
The litter brothers are raced by Don Gordon, Diesel and Ward Leicester, Rohan Von Stanke and Dion Pannenburg with Print The Money looking to be one of the major players in the series after drawing box one in the final heat.
The black dog, which has won 14 races, run 20 minor placings and collected more than $56,000 in prizemoney, went within a lip of Group 1 glory when running second in last December’s Hobart Thousand; more recently twice running third at The Meadows behind champion greyhound Raw Ability.
Robert Halliday’s Hutch, a finalist in last year’s cup, will jump from box four in the final heat after having recently run third at The Meadows over 525 metres and a personal best 512 metre time of 29.56 seconds – the fourth-fastest at Tara Raceway.
Also adding interest to the final heat is box eight runner Xtreme Shine who has won his past five starts at Mount Gambier, Horsham and Warrnambool for Portland trainer Robert Duncan who was successful in the 2007 Mount Gambier Cup with Army Officer.
Disappointingly, last year’s cup winner Fabregal won’t be over but Nambrok trainer Lyn Smith has a couple of handy replacements in Henry and Megellas Fairy who both trialled at Tara Raceway last Saturday.
The strong-finishing Henry, a winner of 21 races and $82,000 in prizemoney, will jump from box four in the third heat in what should be a terrific clash with Zuma Creek and Blazing Moment.
The Peter Crawley trained Zuma Creek, a track specialist with nine wins and eight minor placings from 20 starts, has drawn box seven, his trainer looking for another finalist after Fluke Of Fantasy in 2016.
Leading local trainer Tracie Price, still chasing his first Mount Gambier Cup win, wouldn’t be complaining too much after his 2017 Darwin Cup finalist Blazing Moment drew ideally in box one.
And there was a lot to like about the black dog’s effort last Sunday when he ran home strongly – after finding himself well back early in the 512 metre main race – for a 2½ length fourth to Lektra Stomp.
Megellas Fairy, a solid 31 kilogram bitch by Where’s Pedro out of Elite Fairy, has drawn box eight in heat four with the nine-race winner coming into the event with excellent recent form, including a 29.71 seconds 515 metre win at Sandown Park last month.
Box seven runner Long Gully Gus, trained at Angaston by Paula Hearnden, will also attract plenty of attention. A winner of 10 races from only 21 starts, the son of KC And All x Long Gully Libby last month ran second in the SA St Leger behind Victa Louise.
Pictures: Todd’s Photographics