Wednesday, November 13, 2019
It was back at the end of March that Killarney greyhound trainer Kevin Mugavin looked well-placed to win the Produce Store Maiden final (512 metres), one of the feature events on Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup final day, with Spring Value.
By Spring Gun out of Magic Matese and tracing back to the Mugavin family’s foundation brood bitch Val Matese, Spring Value fronted for the heats at Tara Raceway with only a couple of runs at Warrnambool to his name.
In fact, so impressive was the brindle dog in his 30.06 seconds heat win that he went into the final as an odds-on favourite but finished second to another emerging talent in Galactic Titan, going down by 1¾ lengths in 30.08 seconds.
Mugavin was back at Tara Raceway last Sunday for heats of the Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 m), a time-honoured series that has been run on an annual basis since 1986.
And once again Spring Value couldn’t have been more impressive. In the second of two heats he quickly found the front from box one before going on to a six length win over Cee Me Ignite – trained at Compton by Tracie Price who later that night scored a big win with Smart Knocka at Murray Bridge.
Spring Value’s winning time of 29.56 seconds was the fastest at the track since early July when Lektra Brandy ran the same time, Mugavin believing the run would have been a good confidence-booster for the six-race winner.
“Look, he’s a city class dog but a run back here behind the finish-on-lure certainly won’t do him any harm from a confidence point of view especially as he’s drawn awkwardly out wide in Sunday’s final.”
But Mugavin has enjoyed his share of feature race success at Tara Raceway – Poetic Magic winning the 2006 Mount Gambier Cup and Rich Shiraz following up again in 2012. Then, in 2015 Cheap Currency won the 600 metre Banjo Boy feature at the cup meeting in the record time of 35.11 seconds.
Also, there were those heady days of the nineties when his superstar Golden Currency dead-heated for first with Worth Backing in the 1993 inaugural running of the Topgun at The Meadows and in the 1998 Topgun when Poetic Reward ran a half-length third behind Rapid Journey and Reggemite.
The first heat of the McDonnell Memorial was a keenly contested affair, Right Above It, trained at Allendale East by David Peckham, staving off strong finishing bursts from Lektra Phyliss and Perseverance to win by a half-length in 30.12 seconds.
Perseverance, an April 2018 whelping by Dyna Double One out of Miss Freelove, will go into the final from box one and as the youngest runner for local owner Michael Robinson whose involvement in greyhound racing goes back to Glenburnie where at one time he was the chief steward.
Robinson purchased Perseverance as a pup from the Price kennels at Compton, Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell having now won three races at Tara Raceway with the black bitch in the space of a couple of months.
She looked to be facing her toughest test in last week’s heat and a lap out the chances of her making her way through to the final appeared remote when she found herself well back in the field.
But once again she finished the race off well, so well in fact that Fennell was even talking up her chances over 600 metres. Also, connections should be able to place her to advantage in Juvenile races which will commence in January – not to mention the Summer Classic in February.
And one can only surmise that Robinson’s naming of Perseverance may well have originated from a time back in 2012 when he was racing a Fennell-trained dog called Bar Talk who during one uneventful period of his career went close to 12 months without winning a race!