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Greyhounds back on track, but behind closed doors!
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
It was an interesting week for local greyhound racing. First it was the fast-approaching time-honoured Mount Gambier Cup that found itself moved to late May/early June once the effects of canine gastroenteritis and the coronavirus took hold.
And for the first time in more than two years there was no racing last Sunday at Tara Raceway after nominations fell short due to the canine virus.
Then, on Wednesday the opening of the Tara Raceway kennel house by the Hon. Corey Wingard, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, was cancelled as was the following day’s time-graded meeting.
This Sunday’s meeting held up, though, 11 races programmed but to be run with restricted attendance after Greyhound Racing SA this week determined that all SA greyhound meetings for the time being would be attended only by licensed participants with greyhounds engaged at the meeting, catchers and essential staff.
While there will be no tote in operation, there will be catering and bar facilities on course.
The postponement of the Bourne Kennels Mount Gambier Cup will work in favour of some and perhaps disadvantage others – depending on how their greyhounds are travelling at the time.
In what should be a terrific contest, let’s hope that the five greyhounds – Rotate, Dyna Carnie, Silent Jacko, Spring Value and Squishy Pea – lining up in Sunday’s Winmore Greyhound Kennels Mixed Stake (512 metres) are still at the top of their game come the end of May.
For all that, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s decision to delay the running of the cup surely was the correct one given what’s going on at the moment.
Meanwhile, after a couple of months’ delay, Kongorong trainer John Little finally has his 23 kilogram first starter Velocity Luna into a race, the daughter of Zambora Brockie and Velocity Shirl drawing box one in Sunday’s Winningformula.net.au Maiden Stake (400 m).
Picked up off Greyhound-Data by Little for the Bungaloo Syndicate, the black November 2017 bitch is a member of a handy litter that includes Group 3 winner Velocity Bettina who has won 10 races from 22 starts for $89,000 in stakemoney.
Little also reports that he recently purchased via an on-line auction a straw to the former top stayer Forty Twenty, a son of Big Daddy Cool and Westend Kaitlyn.
A winner in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, WA and SA, the white and black dog went around on 79 occasions for 37 wins and 24 minor placings for stakemoney of $182,000.
Forty Twenty has sired only two litters – some handy types coming out of Bree The Weapon while Gunnadoo Swinger’s litter is yet to race.
With 13 runners at Sunday’s meeting, leading trainer David Peckham, of Allendale East, looks set for another big day – six winners his best-ever effort on February 16 this year.
He looks to hold a strong hand with Dyna Carnie, Silent Jacko and Squishy Pea in the main race while box one runner Fabs You Go is drawn to run another big race in the Rock’s Tavern Stake (400 m).
The Peckham-trained Missing Mate, chasing his first win in two months, gets his chance from box eight in the Greg Martlew Autos Mixed Stake (400 m) as does Call Me Billy, returning to his home track after two unplaced runs at Murray Bridge.
And Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott, currently sitting in third spot on the leading trainers’ list, will be hoping his 2019 Greyhound of the Year Black Spring can open his 2020 winning account when he takes on a grade five field in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (512 m).
Black Spring, a winner of 18 races, looks more suited by the six-dog field than the distance, with the one to beat being another Peckham-trained runner in Dyna Alistair who will be chasing his third successive win.