A third Christmas Cup win, another win in the Peter Whitehead Memorial, together with the Santa Sprint, made for a pretty fair day for trainer Tracie Price at Mount Gambier’s Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
Actually, it was a case of Christmas coming early for Price, wife Karen and the team out at the Compton greyhound kennels. Not only was there success in three feature events but also later in the day a win in a grade six stake over 512 metres.
Golly Gumdrops’s three runs at Tara Raceway since relocating from Adelaide had been solid – a win and two thirds, the last one in a Christmas Cup heat behind Rotate and Ask Me Now. And as far as the final was concerned, her stocks received a further boost after drawing box one.
Raced by the Petar Jovanovic-managed Rovers Return Syndicate, the daughter of Worm Burner and Psychotic Gold dodged the interference going out of the first turn before setting out after the tearaway leader Ask Me Now.
Trained at Lewiston by Scott Feltus, Ask Me Now, after going down by a nostril in his heat the week prior, again gave it his best shot with another determined front-running effort. But in the run home it was Golly Gumdrops who finished the stronger for a 1½ lengths win in 29.95 seconds.
For Price, it was his third Christmas Cup win after Who’s Doing What was successful in 2014 and Fear The Rascal the following year. Last year Smart Knocka, a son of Who’s Doing What, ran a two-length second to Squishy Pea in a race record time of 29.63 seconds.
And Price’s fourth winner on Sunday – Slick Fernando in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake (512 m) in 30.16 seconds – is also a son of Who’s Doing What.
Once again, the Whitehead family got right behind the running of the second Peter Whitehead Memorial maiden (400 m) which was won by Sally Limes, owned locally by Bernie Bouchier who had also been successful in last year’s inaugural event with Elle Limes.
In what was a keenly-contested affair, Sally Limes, a daughter of Peter Rocket and 2014 Winter Classic winner Stylish Moment, was always on the pace, finishing full of running in the home straight to defeat Saint Hannah by 1½ lengths in 23.84 seconds.
Bred by Karen Price, the winner was purchased as a pup by Bouchier and continued the successful relationship the owner and trainer have enjoyed over a number of years.
It is now three years since Peter “Spider” Whitehead passed away, his family keen to continue the running of the race in his memory. And Sally Limes’s win was a fitting result given that “Spider” at one stage actually stood in for Price as his acting trainer.
Falcon Heavy, a longshot Santa Sprint heat winner, followed up at good odds again with a win in the final when leading all the way from box one and holding out Galactic Zeus to win by a half-length in 23.24 seconds.
For Falcon Heavy it’s been a case of returning to where it all began. The son of Peter Rocket and leading local dam Headline was bred by Price before finding his way over to Keith and Lisa Hellmuth in Victoria where he was reared and subsequently began his racing career.
After a maiden win at Warragul earlier this year, the black dog returned to Compton in July and has now won a further six races. And on Sunday night, litter brother Burn Time, also with the Hellmuths and a winner of 12 races for $42,000 in stakemoney, ran third in a heat of the Sale Cup (650 m).
Meanwhile, it was a case of healthy dividends all round after the first four placings in the Christmas Challenge (600 m) were filled by outsiders Dick Grayson ($16), Mick’s Kimmy ($26), My Boy Bean ($34) and Compton Peggy ($41).
Dick Grayson, a daughter of Dyna Double One and West On Jorji, took 14 starts to win her maiden –back on August 23 over 512 metres at Tara Raceway. However, since then she’s raced on 12 occasions for another four wins.
Raced by Lee and Elysia Bartholomew and trained by the former at Worrolong, Dick Grayson was having only her second start over the middle-distance journey when leading all the way in the Christmas Challenge for a 4¾ lengths win in 35.58 seconds.
Sunday’s Christmas Cup meeting was run in ideal weather conditions and the best attended since the Bourne Kennels Mount Gambier Cup on August 30.
Thursday meetings on December 24 and December 31 will feature heats and final of the Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 m). Weekly Sunday category 3 meetings will resume on January 3 and be complemented by weekly Thursday time-graded meetings.