Monday, February 26, 2018
Race caller Ray Fewings suggested that greyhound trainers considering a trip to Mount Gambier for the forthcoming Mount Gambier Cup, and viewing or listening to Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting from afar, should take particular note of The Border Watch Open Stake (512 metres).
“This race will give you some idea of what sort of greyhound is needed for this year’s Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup,” he told his Sky Racing and Radio TAB audience.
How right he was.
Hutch, Lektra Stomp and Zuma Creek were always going to be the main players although Tullabung Betty, trained at Finniss by Lauren Harris and with $20,000 the leading money earner in the race, added further interest but in the end struggled at her first look at the track.
Hutch, a finalist in last year’s cup for Portland trainer Robert Halliday, came into the race from box one on the back of a red hot 29.59 seconds win the previous week and when finding the front early he was always going to be the one to run down.
Lektra Stomp, trained at Toolong by Phil Lenehan, although disappointing at Bendigo the week prior, had previously run 29.57 seconds at Tara Raceway while Peter Crawley’s Zuma Creek ran a quick 27.24 seconds when finishing third over 485 metres at Horsham on Tuesday night.
So when the pair settled in second and third spots mid-race the stage was all set for a terrific home straight battle, Hutch in for a testing time as the two strong finishers started to make their runs off the back.
But in view of results earlier in the day it was probably always going to be Lenehan’s day, Lektra Stomp in the end gaining the verdict by a neck over Hutch with a luckless Zuma Creek a further length back in third spot.
The race times for the placegetters were interesting – Lektra Stomp’s 29.54 seconds bettered only by Mojito Mayhem’s record 29.52 seconds, Hutch’s 29.56 seconds the third-fastest run at Tara Raceway while Zuma Creek ran a personal best of 29.63 seconds.
With the Mount Gambier Cup heats to be run on Sunday week (March 11), Lenehan has yet to decide on the son of Walk Hard x Lektra Angie’s plans going into the cup and whether he’ll return to Tara Raceway on Sunday or possibly have a run behind the finish-on-lure at Geelong.
Halliday will head to The Meadows on Wednesday with Hutch who will jump from box five in the SEN1116 Mixed Stake (525 m). At this stage Crawley is opting for a run over 450 metres with Zuma Creek at Ballarat on Saturday as a lead-up to the cup heats.
Lektra Stomp was the third leg of a treble for Lenehan who was also successful with Miss Ding in the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m) in 23.45 seconds and with Lektra Viki in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (512 m), the daughter of US sire KC And All and Lektra Scarlett (a litter sister to Lektra Angie) running a tidy 30.16 seconds.
And Mount Gambier owner-trainer Amanda Darmanin, after taking over Lektra Miss late last month, was successful in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake (400 m) with the litter sister to Lektra Stomp.
Meanwhile, the Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman owned Zipping Zeus, currently with Glencoe trainer Barry Shepheard, didn’t have too many problems at his first race start on the track, finishing powerfully to defeat last week’s 732 metre winner Cryer’s Bob by four lengths in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (512 m).
Whelped in December 2013, Zipping Zeus is a son of Magic Sprite and Scarlett Girl, boasting a good strike rate of 27 wins from 64 starts and $112,000 in prizemoney.
Pleased with the black dog’s 30.02 seconds win, Shepheard, who won the 2010 Mount Gambier Cup with Kirkstall Jane, said Zipping Zeus was down here specifically for the cup.
Another cup contender to perform well at Tara Raceway on Sunday was former 600 metre record holder Paraphernalia, trained at Horsham by Jeff Guy.
By Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco, the versatile Paraphernalia, who ran Lektra Stomp to less than a length over 485 metres at Horsham late last month, was heavily backed to win the Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (400 m).
And in a barnstorming finish, Paraphernalia, who clocked a flying 22.83 seconds in the 400 metre leg of last September’s Iron Dog series, got the nod by a half head over Gangster Of Love in 23.21 seconds.
Guy said the fawn dog wouldn’t race again until March 11 but would be given plenty of free galloping in the lead-up to his second Mount Gambier Cup, connections hoping for a touch more luck this year after running a 1½ length second in a 2017 heat to Hutch and failing to make the final.