Narrow wins in both heats of last Sunday’s Michelle Niele Memorial at Mount Gambier’s Tara Raceway has set the scene for a terrific eight-dog final over 600 metres at this Sunday’s race meeting.
Trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, Compton Robbie, a member of the successful Glen Gallon x Lots Of Yap litter, looked the winner of the first heat. But adding plenty of interest had been It’s Smudgy for Lewiston trainer Clint Trengove.
She was back at Mount Gambier for the first time since last November and on the back of six consecutive runs at Broken Hill where she had registered five wins and a second.
And the 23½ kilogram daughter of Worm Burner and Batty Allen, who is a winner of 38 races, set the opposition a fair task when opening up a big break down the back straight. In the run home, though, it was Compton Robbie who finished the stronger to win by a head in 29.88 seconds.
It was only the week prior that Artificial Blue had won on debut over the 512 metre journey at Tara Raceway in a smart 29.74 seconds for Jaz Blake of Simson.
Lining up from box four in the second heat, the son of Raw Ability and Dubovka opened up a handy early lead before Here To Burn, who had done all the chasing, threw out a serious challenge when railing through on the home turn.
Artificial Blue dug deep, though, and found plenty when scoring a nose win over Here To Burn who also ran a terrific race for Hamilton trainer Lorraine Goodwin.
Interestingly, none of first two placegetters from the heats have won over the 600 metre journey. In fact, It’s Smudgy is the only one of the four to have raced over the middle-distance.
But Aussie Swiper, a two length third to Compton Robbie, has won twice over 600 metres at Tara Raceway and once at Gawler over 643 metres for leading local trainer Tracie Price who won the inaugural Michelle Niele Memorial in 2021 with Golly Gumdrops.
And Moonlight Kiss, beaten a similar margin when finishing third to Artificial Blue, has won two 600 metre races at the local track for Mortlake owner-trainer Peter Franklin.
The memorial is run in memory of Michelle Niele who at the age of 23 lost her battle with cystic fibrosis in November 2019. From an early age she regularly attended Mount Gambier greyhound meetings with her father – Berringa trainer Michael.