Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Escaping the long, cold nights of Stawell

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

She might be owned in Bendigo and trained at Moyston – 2½-hours away from Mount Gambier – but the promising McIvor Verna has a special affiliation with the Tara Raceway track.

After all, this is where she defeated a field of open class greyhounds over 600 metres to win her maiden back in April and where she recently ran a track record of 34.84 seconds.

McIvor Verna breaks the 600 metre track record at Tara Raceway on Sunday, June 18. Picture: Bronwyn Nicholson/Todds Photographics.

Sandwiched in between the two runs, though, was a win at Bendigo over 660 metres – impressive enough to attract a $20,000 offer which owner Barry Priest refused.

Four days after McIvor Verna had run the record, trainer Peter Franklin, in a change of plans, opted to make the seven-hour trip to Angle Park for a heat of the Stayers Cup (731 m).

The nicely-bred daughter of Bella Infrared and Blonde Caviar had never raced at Adelaide’s city track but after looking totally lost in the early stages of the race she finished the race off in splendid fashion, running a three length fourth and grabbing a spot in tomorrow night’s final.

Franklin was delighted with the first-up city run and while conceding the $7000 final will be the 26-month-old McIvor Verna’s toughest test in 13 runs he’s expecting further improvement now that she’s seen the track and has drawn box one.

Blonde Caviar pictured in John and Diane Gale’s Stawell backyard this week.

Also making the trip to Angle Park last week was Franklin’s “right-hand man” John Gale, of Stawell. This is where Blonde Caviar currently resides, in the care of Gale and his wife Diane, enjoying the run of the house with the couple’s faithful old Labrador.

By Where’s Pedro out of Lemon Cruiser, Blonde Caviar raced on 45 occasions for Priest and Franklin, winning nine – including 525 metre and 600 metre wins at The Meadows – and running 17 minor placings.

And Lemon Cruiser (Awesome Assassin x Empty Schooner), a lightly-raced winner of nine races in Victoria and NSW, traces back to Big Romance, a litter sister to 1982 Australian Cup winner Royal Rumpus.

When it came to Blonde Caviar’s first litter, which Franklin whelped, he’d recommended using the US sire Bella Infrared who dominated America’s top track Southland to the extent that he won 71 races – including 19 in succession – from 100 starts.

So far, though, there has been no second litter.

“The decision on another litter will be up to Barry,” Gale said. “From a breeding point of view, all her relevant paperwork is up-to-date. In the meantime, we still try and treat her like a racing dog in some respects with regular exercise and feed her what could be classed as a racing diet.”

But John and Diane Gale unashamedly concede that Blonde Caviar does spend a fair share of her time in one of the family’s lounge chairs and does come inside to escape the long, cold nights of Stawell.



Horsham trainer Kevin Jakobi will be hoping for a better day at Tara Raceway on Friday when he lines up with the Donald-bred Emily As in the Trackside Meats Stake (600 m).

Earlier this month, Jakobi’s greyhounds, including Emily As, had been late scratchings at Tara Raceway after a mix-up regarding the length of time between race starts.

Prior to that, Emily As had run a promising third behind Col’s Wallett and Cryer’s Plugger in a 600 metre event at Tara Raceway – the winner carving out an outstanding 35.03 seconds.

On that occasion, Jakobi’s daughter of Sure As x Darmilou battled on well to be beaten 7½ lengths and run a personal time of 35.56 seconds.

The black bitch looks well placed in tomorrow’s five-runner time-graded event and could give the veteran trainer a welcome change of luck.

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