Saturday, December 7, 2019
It took a while – several years in fact – but the Border Challenge finally kicked off at Warrnambool on Thursday night.
This was a joint venture of the Warrnambool and Mount Gambier greyhound racing clubs, the host club’s president Mick White and manager Craig Monigatti making the visitors most welcome. Greyhound Racing SA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson had also thrown his support behind the series, describing it as a great concept.
The concept had been to run heats – with some restrictions applied – at both tracks with four greyhounds from each club then lining up in a $4000-to-the-winner final over 450 metres.
However, Mount Gambier suffered an early setback when Galactic Titan had been scratched, leaving the club with three finalists – Wanchai Express (Nicole Stanley), Galactic Mojo (Steve Bartholomew) and Flash Jackie (David Peckham).
The host club supplied the favourite, the Phil Lenehan owned and trained Lektra Fireball, and he was always going to be hard to beat from box two after a stirring win over Adam Richardson’s Super Panda in a heat the previous week.
But it was the Ray Drew trained Aston Sultan who led into the home straight of the Border Challenge final before Super Panda took over running and looked set to turn the tables on Lektra Fireball who was finishing strongly after peeling to the outside turning for home.
Lektra Fireball is bred to run a strong 450 metres, being by former Group 1 distance dog Destini Fireball out of Lektra Angie (a daughter of Elektra), and he just kept coming, eventually grabbing victory by the narrowest of margins in 25.48 seconds.
Super Panda once again was gallant in defeat while Aston Sultan gave it his best shot when running a 1½ length third. Best of the Mount Gambier runners was Wanchai Express who was far from disgraced when finishing fourth.
From the clubs’ point of view the inaugural Border Challenge had gone well, Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president Noel Perry congratulating Warrnambool on the staging of this year’s inaugural event and saying that he looked forward to next year’s running at Tara Raceway.