Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Portland trainers Brian Weis and Robert Halliday were successful at The Meadows last week when Xtreme Notice and Hutch scored good wins at the provincial meeting in grade five events over 525 metres.
Xtreme Notice, a litter sister to Xtreme Carnage, Xtreme Caution, Xtreme Purpose and Xtreme Rush, all of whom have also won for Weis, led all the way from box four to score in 30.39 seconds.
Hutch, after settling in second spot, finished strongly to win in 30.42 seconds and gave Halliday his first win at The Meadows since Half Way Home – a former Tara Raceway 512 metre record holder – won there in May 2011.
But his first trip to The Meadows in quite some time wasn’t without incident when earlier in the day stewards queried Halliday about the rope lead he had used in handling Odd Boots while parading him prior to the running of a mixed 4/5 stake over 600 metres.
Stewards subsequently advised him that the lead was inappropriate for further use on race days and cancelled any previously issued approvals for this type of lead.
Speaking at Tara Raceway on Friday, Halliday, who accepted the stewards’ decision without issue and said he would now use standard type leads, recalled the story behind the rope leads saga.
“It actually goes back to the mid-1960s when my mother gave me some collars and leads for my birthday,” he said.
“But within a month I’d had two of the leads pinched so I decided I’d make some rope leads and never lost another one in 50 years.”
Halliday said his unfashionable rope leads had stood the test of time, having been used on countless feature race winners over the years including a Waterloo Cup and a Maturity classic.
Meanwhile, Hutch was back at Tara Raceway on Sunday for a return clash with Zuma Creek in the winningformula.net.au Stake (512 m) and looking to make amends after narrowly going down to Peter Crawley’s smart sprinter the week prior.
And make amends he did, going straight to the front from box two, eventually running out a 6½ length winner over an improving Usain Insane and Zuma Creek in a personal best time of 29.71 seconds.
Halliday then looked a good chance of landing a running double, his “iron dog” Homer, a half-brother to Half Way Home, seemingly well placed in the four-dog ClassicBet Mixed Stake (600 m).
It certainly had been a busy start to the year for the son of Fear Zafonic x Flawless Tears as he lined up for his fourth start in seven days – and all over 600 metres!
Drawn in box eight, Homer found himself last of the four early but down the back railed through to take the lead before finishing full of running to defeat Stylish Pursuit by 2¾ lengths in 35.58 seconds, prompting race caller Ray Fewings to declare “Halliday can now get himself two new leads” in reference to the saga at The Meadows.
Halliday later recalled another “iron dog” he raced back in the late 1960s.
“He was a brindle dog called Stoney Croft and I still remember one period of his racing career when one night at Warrnambool he ran second and then fronted up in a consolation, which he won, later the same night.
“That was the start of a winning spree which saw him successful on another five occasions in the space of just over a fortnight at Geelong, Warrnambool, Geelong, Warrnambool and then Olympic Park over distances ranging from 500 yards to 648 yards,” Halliday said.
Whelped in October 1966, Stoney Croft was by the imported sire Old Berry Hermes out of Chief Brownie, a daughter of Chief Zephyr x Early Jet.