Saturday, June 8, 2019
To be fair, Portland greyhound Akuma Fireball had been really struggling to find his mojo, as borne out by his first four starts all being unplaced at Warrnambool – his last run there on May 30 seeing him go around at the remarkable odds of $107.80.
It was then that trainer Lizzie Boers, whose last winner had been back in February with Kantilla, opted to try Akuma Fireball at last Thursday’s Tara Raceway time-graded meeting.
This proved to be a winning move with the black dog leading all the way from box seven in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 metres) and not looking too bad when defeating Dappled Light by 2½ lengths in 23.62 seconds.
Ben Boers, standing in for his wife, said Akuma Fireball had improved considerably since being taken over as a giveaway several months ago.
“He certainly didn’t have much luck at his four Warrnambool starts but I reckon he’s found 20 lengths since he first started trialling for us,” he said.
Akuma Fireball is by the Group 1-winning stayer Destini Fireball – a winner of 25 races and $630,000 in stakemoney – out of Lektra Angie who won her maiden over 512 metres at Tara Raceway back in November 2012 in a time of 29.93 seconds.
Lektra Angie, who went on to win middle-distance races at The Meadows and Sandown Park, is also the dam (from a mating to Walk Hard) of Lektra Stomp, former Tara Raceway 512 metre record holder, and has a 15-month-old litter by Barcia Bale to follow.
The origin of the Destini Fireball x Lektra Angie litter goes back to the Mount Gambier Cup carnival of 2016 when the pint-sized Lektra Kelly won the Fireball 600 feature for Toolong breeder-owner-trainer Phil Lenehan.
Part of the prize was a service to Destini Fireball, Lenehan later opting to use Lektra Angie for the mating, no doubt hoping to come up with something to emulate her dam, Elektra, a terrific stayer that won 29 races and $255,000 in stakemoney.
Meanwhile, Akuma Fireball will be back at Tara Raceway on Thursday afternoon, stepping up in grade but still looking a strong chance from box seven again in the Winningformula.net.au Stake (400 m).
Statistics suggested that Big Rough’s box eight draw in last Thursday’s Produce Store Stake (512 m) would probably have been enough to once again bring about his undoing.
After all, the rising 4½-year-old 113-start veteran had previously raced from the outside draw on 20 occasions without ever winning.
Maybe the G-SIX format (six-dog racing) has helped him but he certainly had no trouble crossing the field and leading all the way, eventually running out a 1¾ length winner over Pinecutter Pete in 30.47 seconds.
By Lochinvar Marlow out of city-winning stayer Bogie Dawn, Big Rough was purchased by local couple Noel and Heather Perry as pup from Nhill breeder Andrea Gurry.
“At the time of the purchase we weren’t really geared for rearing or training greyhounds so Brian Weis of Portland did the rearing for us and later did a great job to win 10 races with him at Tara Raceway,” Noel Perry said.
And it’s been a handy litter with Heading My Way, Kalani Willow and Thumb A Ride also winning their share of races.
Last Thursday’s win had been Big Rough’s first since October last year after which Perry brought the black dog back to Mount Gambier where he now utilises the training facilities at Tara Raceway.
“I’m fortunate to live close-by to the track and as such I’m able to give him plenty of free-galloping on the slipping track,” he said.
Still on the time-graded meeting and the win of It’s Magic over Ryben Bill in 35.90 seconds in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (600 m) gave Charlton trainer Kevin Ashton his first middle-distance win at Tara Raceway since Harry Aztec won the inaugural Eric Lewis Memorial almost four years ago.
Later in the day, $13 outsider Ollie Aztec, a half-brother to Harry Aztec, brought up his first win this year for Ashton when holding out the well-supported Quick Sensation to win the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) by a neck in 24.18 seconds.
The double was Ashton’s first since the final meeting of 2018 when on December 30 Cement Socks and Bank Rogue won the final two races of the year.
Callanish Sprite made amends for an unlucky second a fortnight ago behind Mount Duke when leading all the way from box one in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m) to defeat Cee Bay by 1½ lengths in a best of day 29.97 seconds.
By Magic Sprite, Callanish Sprite is a daughter of Infinite Wish, a city-winning stayer in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, and a granddaughter of Jen Jeannie, a winner in the UK and Australia.
The black bitch is trained at Murtoa by Heather Baxter who believes her dog is benefiting from racing behind the finish-on-lure at Tara Raceway.
Meanwhile, box eight runner Bourne Birdie was in a world of her own as she frolicked along the grass on the outside edge of the track.
She eventually completed the course, trainer David Peckham later reporting that an independent veterinary check had revealed an injury.