Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Defying the odds in the 2019 Mount Gambier Cup

Has there ever been a better cup win than that of Galactic Athena in the 2019 Group Listed Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup? Possibly not.

That was the year the Victorian chaser Slingshot Hammer went into the final from box one as a $1.70 chance – with a record at the time of 44 starts for 17 wins, nine minor placings and $104,000 in prize money for Deb Coleman and Rob Camilleri.

It was also the year that local hope Galactic Athena, raced by Robert Chuck and trained by Steve Bartholomew at Worrolong, lined up in the final from box two with only five starts for three wins and prize money of just over $3000.

But on that Sunday afternoon in late March reputations had counted for nothing at Tara Raceway. Slingshot Hammer, at the time a rising three-year-old, tried valiantly to lead all the way but failed to withstand Galactic Athena’s barnstorming finish when going down by a half-length.

Finally, Bartholomew, who handled Tara Topar – the inaugural Mount Gambier Cup winner out at Glenburnie in 1981 for Joan Cruise and Newman McDonnell – had achieved his own cup success with Galactic Athena who was still some months away from turning two years old.

Galactic Athena’s second litter – by Blue Moon Rising.

By the imported Paddy Whacker out of Galactic Rumball, Galactic Athena ultimately raced on 40 occasions for 17 wins, 11 minor placings and $35,000 in prizemoney.

Then, in May 2022, she whelped a litter of one dog and two bitches to the US sire Blazin Wildfire (Dragon Fire x Tin Nee Ann). And in February this year a second litter followed, this time four dogs and six bitches by Blue Moon Rising.

By Fernando Bale out of Chica Destacada (a winner of $347,000), Blue Moon Rising raced on 138 occasions for 44 wins, 58 minor placings and close to $530,000 in prize money. He won two Group 1 staying events at The Meadows – the Fanta Bale Super Stayers and the Top Gun Stayers.

The Mugavin line, which traces back to the November 1980 mating of Stoney and Val Matese, has been influential in the Mount Gambier Cup – Galactic Athena the most recent of the breed to be successful.

Previously, in 2005, Poetic Magic, trained at Killarney by Kevin Mugavin, had won the Group 1 Maturity at The Meadows. The following year he ventured over to Tara Raceway with her and won the Mount Gambier Cup with the daughter of Carlisle Jack and Poetic Girl.

And in 2012 Rich Shiraz, a son of Bombastic Shiraz and Killarney Magic, gave Mugavin his second cup win when successful in a then race record time of 29.81 seconds.

The line is still producing winners at Tara Raceway – Classic Moment successful last November in the time-honoured Newman McDonnell Memorial. And Plenty Of Value looking the part at last Thursday’s time-graded meeting.

Devilish Child . . . a winner at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

A son of Feral Franky and Cloona Lass, Plenty Of Value quickly found the front in the Ary Sports Bar & Bistro 1-4W Stake (400 metres) and eventually ran out a 5¼ length winner for Mugavin in a tidy 23.35 seconds.

The win was the second for Plenty Of Value who in January had won a 305 metre heat of the Razza Racing Feature Maiden at Tara Raceway.

Meanwhile, at Sunday’s Category 2 meeting, Devilish Child scored a brilliant win for the Bartholomew camp when virtually leading all the way in the Commercial Hotel Juvenile Stake (305 m) for a 2¼ length win over Compton Ted in 17.48 seconds.

Also by Blue Moon Rising, Devilish Child is bred on similar lines to Galactic Athena’s latest litter given that her dam is Galactic Destiny – a winner of six races at Mount Gambier – and a litter sister to Galactic Athena.

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