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Family tradition runs deep for Penola trainer

Monday, October 22, 2018

Lektra Guiseppe’s all the way win in the Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 metres), the first heat of a grade five series at Tara Raceway on Sunday, was Penola trainer Damien Smith’s first win at the local track.

Lektra Guiseppe wins the Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 m) at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

Smith, 38, who recently re-located from Adelaide with his partner Lauren and three-year-old son Stefan, comes from a family steeped in greyhound tradition and is a welcome addition to the local training ranks.

His grandmother, Dorrie Smith, who died at the age of 86 in 2010, was a life member of the Barmera Greyhound Racing Club while his father, Ross, enjoyed phenomenal success in the 1980s as an owner, trainer and breeder.

The Adelaide-based Smith snr, who was at Tara Raceway on Sunday with his wife Bev, bred the 1983 Mount Gambier Cup winner Magic Fame (Magic Typhoon x Riverland Belle), trained by Barry Fullerton, and Kevin Stone’s 1986 Mount Gambier Cup winner Riverland Roy (Roy Trease x Riverland Belle).

Damien and Ross Smith with Lektra Guiseppe after his win in Sunday’s Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 m).

The prolific producer Riverland Belle was also the dam of 1982 Adelaide Cup winner Smithy’s Belle (by Waverly Supreme) which was raced by Dorrie and Ross Smith.

Lektra Guiseppe, a son of My Bro Fabio and Lektra Bianca, was backing up after running second at Angle Park on Wednesday afternoon over 388 metres, Damien Smith believing the black dog would also be improved by a first-up fourth at Tara Raceway earlier in the month.

“He didn’t have much luck at his first race start here for me and then after his second placing on Wednesday I thought he would be some chance from box one, especially when finding himself with a vacant box next to him following the scratching of Jen Shen,” he said.

As it turned out, Lektra Guiseppe, now on his fifth trainer, never looked like losing when running out a 3¾ length winner over Hard Call in 23.21 seconds.

A winner at The Meadows, Geelong, Warrnambool, Ballarat and Sale, the black dog was picked up for $1500 by Smith after being advertised for sale on the internet site Greyhound-Data following unplaced runs at Healesville and Sale.

Slipper’s Away was an impressive winner of the JB Irrigation Stake (512 m) for Richard Clayfield.

And following Lektra Guiseppe’s win, which now sees him go into Sunday’s grade five series final, it means a busy week for the dog because he’s also engaged in the last race at Wednesday’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway.

Smith has also recently mated Majestic Tale, a winner of 16 races and more than $20,000 in stakemoney, with Aston Dee Bee. By Collision, Majestic Tale is out of The Meadows and Sandown Park winner Crystal’s Voice.

And he’ll be hoping he can come up with another one as good as Tomic, a son of Collision and Zetta Bale, that he raced on 51 occasions during 2009-2010 for 20 wins at Sale, The Meadows, Angle Park, Geelong, Warrnambool, Sandown Park and Gawler and more than $71,000 in stakemoney.

Meanwhile, fellow Coonawarra trainer Richard Clayfield appears to have turned around the fortunes of Slipper’s Away who found her way down to Glenroy in July after incurring a failing to chase suspension at Angle Park.

By Swift Fancy out of Slipper’s Tonic, Slipper’s Away opened her winning account at Tara Raceway over 400 metres in September before Clayfield stepped the black bitch up to 512 metres, her past two runs resulting in handy minor placings behind Cee Me Turbo and Black Spring.

Jumping from box four in Sunday’s JB Irrigation Stake (512 m), Slipper’s Away led all the way to defeat Cee Me Snoop by 2½ lengths in a near best of the day 29.96 seconds.

Back in 2014 Clayfield had enjoyed success with Slipper’s Might and Slipper’s Will – from an earlier Slipper’s Tonic litter by Lochinvar Marlow – Slipper’s Might being the first dog to break the 23-second barrier for the 400 metre journey at Tara Raceway.

Sunday’s win was the veteran trainer’s 14th this year.


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