Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Steve Bartholomew, of Worrolong, still remembers the first greyhound racing meeting run in Mount Gambier.
That was back on Saturday, July 21, 1979 out at Glenburnie where greyhound meetings would ultimately continue to be conducted inside the racecourse over distances of 289 metres, 476 metres and 667 metres for the next 18 years.
That was also the day that Bartholomew’s wife, Lehanne, was in labour with Elysia.
But he was rostered at the greyhound track for the opening meeting. After all, someone had to run the official results from the judge’s tower to George Kay in the broadcast box.
As it turned out, Bartholomew was back at the hospital in plenty of time as his daughter wasn’t born until just after midnight.
These days he’s not required to run the results to the broadcast box but in the ensuing 37½ years there haven’t been too many roles Bartholomew hasn’t filled at both Glenburnie and later at Lake Terrace East’s Tara Raceway.
And last Friday his commitment to greyhound racing in the South-East was recognised at the glittering 2016 Greyhound of the Year night which was held in the Nixons Function Centre at the Gawler greyhound track.
Accompanied by his wife, along with Elysia and her partner Tim Manterfield, Bartholomew received an Outstanding Achievement Award for services to greyhound racing.
Now 57, the father of three (Debra and Stephen are also involved in the sport) and grandfather of six, is currently the president of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, a position he has held since 2009-10.
Proud daughter Elysia said that there had never been a time in her life that her father had not been helping out with something at the track, often taking time off work to do so.
“I doubt there would be too many people more dedicated to greyhound racing than Dad,” she said.
Awarded MGGRC life membership in 1998, Bartholomew has filled other roles such as track maintenance, race starter, treasurer, long-serving committee member and lure driver.
In addition, he’s also been the local earbrander since 1995 and was a slipper when coursing was conducted at Mil Lel.
And one of the first to offer congratulations at Sunday’s race meeting was Connie Miller, of Allendale East, who received an Award Of Merit for services to greyhound racing from the SA Greyhound Racing Board in the early 1990s.
Bartholomew, who well remembers a time when greyhound racing in Mount Gambier was fighting for survival, said he was very proud to be recognised with the achievement award.
“I certainly feel honoured, but local greyhound racing owes a huge debt to many people. Those of us who have been involved for any length of time can only marvel at the way the sport has gone ahead at Tara Raceway.”
However, it’s not all glamour at the top. In what was a far cry from the glitz and glamour of a few nights earlier, the president was back at Tara Raceway on Tuesday morning, driving the lure for the trials.
TEXAS TITAN TO ADD INTEREST TO MEETING
Classy sprinter-stayer Texas Titan will add plenty of interest to Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting when he takes on a field of grade four and five greyhounds from box eight in the ClassicBet Mixed Stake (600 metres).
Although now 4½ years old, Texas Titan continues to race well, having won over 531 metres at Gawler last month in a smart 30.75 seconds.
From the incredibly successful Vapour Whirl x Foot Luce litter, the black dog has raced on 93 occasions for 28 wins, 33 minor placings and $146,000 in prizemoney.
Texas Titan has never raced at Tara Raceway although owner-trainer Nathan Wilson, of Parilla, has previously enjoyed feature race success at the track with litter sister Sunday Shoes.
Another member of the litter, Oakvale Destiny who retired with earnings of $280,000, whelped a litter of two dogs and six bitches to High Earner last October for Wilson’s wife Kerri.
Meanwhile, local trainer Tracie Price is dropping Gargle It back to 512 metres with a view to assessing the black dog from a Mount Gambier Cup point of view.
The former WA chaser has been most impressive at his past two starts over 600 metres, comfortably winning both in fast times.
By Spiral Nikita out of West On Bluebird – a litter sister to former super stayer Miata – Gargle It will jump from box six in The Border Watch Stake.
Price will also be hoping for a forward showing from another Mount Gambier Cup contender in Fear The Rascal who will step out for the first time this year in the South Eastern Hotel Free For All (400 m).
The son of Fear Zafonic x Shannah’s Star will take on a smart field of short-coursers, including Nicole Stanley’s Aston Morris who will be looking for his fourth successive win at Tara Raceway.
However, a plus for Fear The Rascal is that he is ideally drawn in box eight.
Price announced this week that his main cup contender Flying Flutter, a recent 29.66 seconds 512 metre winner at Tara Raceway, had been retired after experiencing further difficulties with post race distress syndrome.