Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Departure Gate’s up for the Challenge

Departure Gate defeats Run Like Jess and Wind Burn Flash in yesterday’s SEGRC 50-Year Anniversary Cup.

An outstanding win at Tara Raceway in yesterday’s South East Greyhound Racing Club 50-Year Anniversary Cup (512 metres) by Departure Gate saw Moorak trainer Jason Newman’s year just get better.

The final of the one-off event, run to commemorate the formation of the SEGRC in September 1972, attracted a terrific field – headed by Departure Gate and Victa Grosso.

Departure Gate went into the $5000 race after having won the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s first Group 3 event – the Carlin & Gazzard MG Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) – in April.

And Victa Grosso, trained at Gifford Hill by Tony Rasmussen, is a winner of 31 races and more than $140,000 in stakemoney. He also recently ran track records over 512 metres and 531 metres at Mount Gambier and Gawler.

But it was Departure Gate who took full advantage of his box one draw and led all the way to defeat Run Like Jess by a length in 29.82 seconds. The winner’s kennelmate, Wind Burn Flash, finished a further 1¾ lengths back in third spot.

Run Like Jess, a 4½-year-old son of Fernando Bale x Paua To Avoid – and a winner of more than $181,000 in stakemoney – ran a great race from box eight when finding himself in second spot going out of the first turn.

Trained by Adrian Chevalier at Ettrick, approximately 35 kilometres north-east of Murray Bridge, 30-race winner Run Like Jess was having his 100th race start.

Speaking after the race, an exuberant Newman said his son of Fernando Bale x Tarks Nemesis had been drawn to run a big race.

“He was going to have to lead to be any real chance,” he said. “And after taking full advantage of his box one draw to find the front he was always travelling like a winner, especially given he’s as honest as the day is long.”

Newman, who has been training greyhounds only since 2020, said the weekend had thrown up results that didn’t come around too often.

“Velocity Cleo won at Warrnambool over 390 metres on the Saturday morning. Then, besides Departure Gate and Wind Burn Flash running first and third in the 50-Year Cup final, Paw Some Sloane won the Klaassens Contractors Juvenile (400 m) in a best of day 23.02 seconds.

“Also winning and making it three wins in succession was Mr. Anderson in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (512 m) for my partner Mel (Freitag).”

Newman confirmed that, with the forthcoming Angle Park $14,275 Grade 6 Leigh Rogers (530 m) in mind, Mr. Anderson would this week transfer to the Callington kennels of Wendy and Bryan Sebastyan.

And as far as the Yeah Nah Syndicate’s Departure Gate was concerned, Newman said his next main race would probably be next month’s Mount Gambier v. Warrnambool Border Challenge (512 m).

“I’m really looking forward to this race which will see four greyhounds each from the two clubs contest the $5800 final at Tara Raceway on Sunday, October 30.”

Yesterday’s 50-Year Anniversary Cup presentation was performed by Greyhound Racing SA board member David Lewis, who was joined by his brother Dale, sons of inaugural SEGRC committee member Eric.

Other relatives of inaugural committee members to be on track yesterday were Margaret Considine (Newman McDonnell), official starter Elysia Bartholomew (Jack Cruise) and trainer Kerry Hawker (Alec Steele).

Later in the day David Lewis, who is currently working on a plan for GRSA to develop a strategy to increase participation (key focus trainers) in greyhound racing in Mount Gambier, related how his family had first become involved in the sport.

“It was at a time when my brother Dale was in Adelaide at university. Angle Park had just started racing on Thursday nights and he had become a regular at the track.

“And when he came home he was full of praise for this new night sport of greyhound racing.

“So convincing was Dale that our father, Eric, suggested that maybe we could get a couple of greyhounds and train them as a family.

“Mind you, at the time, there wasn’t even a track in Mount Gambier. But we went out and purchased a couple of greyhounds and a well-bred brood bitch from Newman McDonnell. And that’s how it began for us.”

Lewis has listed six key components that he believes need to be worked through with a steering committee from the Mount Gambier club – What does greyhound racing look like in Mount Gambier? What does training a greyhound look like? What does GRSA need to do to support a new trainer? How do we attract new trainers? Structure of introduction to greyhound racing. Targeted advertising program.

GRSA board member David Lewis presents the SEGRC Anniversary Cup to Jason Newman, trainer of Departure Gate. Also pictured are, from left, Noel Perry (MGGRC president), Zari Newman, Melissa Freitag, Dale Lewis, Kerry Hawker, Elysia Bartholomew and Zaden and Chase.
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