It was a dream start for recently-licensed trainer Kerry Hawker of Edenhope at last Thursday’s Mount Gambier time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway.
And it was Gold Rocks who was her first runner as a trainer when lining up from box one in the Gordon Refrigeration 1-4 Wins Stake (400 metres).
Actually, it had been a case of both Gold Rocks and her new trainer chasing their first wins at the Mount Gambier track.
As it turned out, the daughter of Matt’s Entity and Pamela Rocks led all the way. But not before giving her trainer a few anxious moments in the final stages of the race as Captain Obvious charged home to get within a nose.
“I had previously experienced the thrill of winning as an owner but that first win as a trainer took it to a whole new level,” a delighted Hawker said.
“Cap (Abbott) and I purchased Gold Rocks from Victoria back in February after she had won a couple of races in quick times at Bendigo and Shepparton. She hadn’t won since then so it was pleasing to see her back among the winners.”
Hawker’s day wasn’t yet over, though. In the following race, the Swallow Drive Meats 1-4 Wins Stake (400 m), she had her second runner, Our Bro Paddy, jumping from box four.
By My Bro Fabio out of Banjo Queen, Our Bro Paddy is raced by Hawker in partnership with Sarah Price, daughter of leading local trainer Tracie Price.
The outsider of the field at $7, the blue dog quickly worked to the front. And from then on he was never in any danger of defeat when running out a 3¼ lengths winner over Compton Crystal in 23.31 seconds.
So it was two wins for the new trainer, Our Bro Paddy’s success particularly pleasing given the association Hawker had enjoyed with his dam, Banjo Queen.
“She’s a nicely bred daughter of Banjo Boy x Black Traminer and after winning two races in the ACT was given to me by Banjo Boy’s owner, Andrew Varasdi. She then went on to win a further 12 races when trained by Tracie.
“Speaking of Tracie, I certainly have to acknowledge the help he has given me along the way. And I also have to thank Cap for his invaluable assistance,” she said.
Hawker’s involvement in local greyhound racing actually goes back to the early 1980s and the original Tara Raceway that was situated inside the thoroughbred track at Glenburnie.
“My interest came about through my uncle, Alec Steele, who had been the inaugural president of the South East Greyhound Racing Club back in 1972-73. Some 20 years later he was awarded life membership of the club.
“Back then, I found myself on the stewards’ panel which was headed by Michael Robinson, also awarded life membership in the same year as my uncle.”
And after dropping out of the sport for a lengthy period, Hawker returned five years ago, once again teaming up with Robinson – this time in an ownership role.
“It was lovely to catch up with Michael and race a couple of greyhounds with him – Gentle Moment and Penny La Moment both winning races for us at Tara Raceway,” Hawker said.