Saturday, November 30, 2019
Looking for his first 50 winners in a season, Glencoe greyhound trainer Dean Fennell went into last Thursday’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway still sitting on a tally of 49 by the time race 10, The Border Watch Stake (400 metres), came around.
Little Lina was his last chance of the day, however she hadn’t won a race since February. In fact, she had won only two races in an 80-start career, one of the wins actually coming about after she finished in second place but was awarded the race when the winner was subsequently disqualified.
But this was going to be Fennell and Little Lina’s day, the black bitch shrugging off an early challenge from kennelmate Master Moment before going on to a 4¾ length win over Hawkie in 23.88 seconds.
The winner is owned by 19-year-old Mo Canala, a recipient of the daughter of Fabregas x Guru Doll as a 16th birthday present from Cape Bridgewater owner-trainer Scott Blacksell who races the litter sister Rusty Sprocket.
Fennell is the fourth trainer this year to hit the half-century – complemented by eight doubles and two trebles – at Tara Raceway, leading trainer David Peckham the first, bringing up 50 winners when landing a treble on June 23.
Nicole Stanley then brought up her 50 on August 25 with a double while Cap Abbott, another trainer enjoying his best-ever year at the local track, reached the milestone on September 15, also with a double.
And Fennell still remembers the first winner he trained at Tara Raceway.
“It was on July 5, 1997 with a brindle dog called Claude’s Mistake, a son of Golden Mike and Leeor Girlie. He defeated Gwen Rolph’s Jaynick over 512 metres in 31.23 seconds and while that time seems pretty steady, I think you’ll find that the best of the day was only 31.05 seconds.”
Claude’s Mistake, bred at Serviceton by Claude Merrett, had been purchased by Fennell as part of a three-dog package deal for $500 not long before racing commenced at the Lake Terrace East venue.
Meanwhile, on Thursday night, the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club ran two heats of the Border Challenge (450 m) with the results suggesting Mount Gambier representatives Flash Jackie, Wanchai Express, Galactic Mojo and Galactic Titan won’t have things all their own way in this Thursday night’s final at Warrnambool.
In the first heat, only a length separated Phil Lenehan’s Lektra Fireball and Super Panda, trained by Adam Richardson, the winner’s time a pretty handy 25.38 seconds.
Then, in the second heat, Tracey Salter’s Discovery Lad looked anything but an $18 chance when he quickly found the front before going on to a 2½ length win over the Ray Drew trained Aston Sultan in 25.40 seconds.
Later, three of the Mount Gambier contenders trialled at the track in readiness for the final – the David Peckham trained Flash Jackie going around over 450 metres while Steve Bartholomew’s pair, Galactic Mojo and Galactic Titan, trialled over 390 metres.