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Leading trainers hold key to Winter Classic
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Top-four trainers Nicole Stanley and Phil Lenehan appear to hold the key to Friday’s two heats of the Banjo Boy Winter Classic (512 metres) with greyhounds that have previously won at Tara Raceway.
Portland-based Stanley will be represented by litter sisters Ashdene Lass in box four in the first heat while Hay Miss will line up from box eight in the second heat.
An August 2014 daughter of Bekim Bale and Miss Stackhouse, Ashdene Lass was well beaten at long odds at Warrnambool over 450 metres last week but did win impressively at Tara Raceway on July 24.
On that occasion she led all the way to defeat Gentle Moment on a heavy track in 30.75 seconds for the 512 metre journey – a time that compared favourably to a best of day 30.38 seconds.
And earlier on that same day Hay Miss led all the way from box five in the John Reid Memorial final (512 m) to defeat Saint Fox by four lengths in 30.53 seconds.
Lenehan will travel over from Toolong with three members of the October 2014 Fabregas x Supreme Vision litter – Lektra Lucy and Lektra Ash have drawn boxes seven and eight respectively in heat one while Lektra Munster will jump from box four in heat two.
Two other members of the litter – Lektra Utah (29.90 seconds at Tara Raceway last month) and Lektra Peck (a close second over 450 metres at Warrnambool last week) – will by-pass the classic and race at Warrnambool tomorrow night.
However, Lektra Ash, as highlighted by his smart maiden 512 metre win at Tara Raceway late last month, is a dead-set box eight dog and as such looks hard to beat in Friday’s opening heat.
Lektra Lucy and Lektra Munster both showed early pace when having their first race starts in June over 425 metres at Bendigo.
Tarpeena-based “Team Williams” (Allen and David) will launch an all-out attack on the classic with five August 2014 greyhounds – all carrying the Eagle tag – from the El Grand Senor x Chilly Patch litter.
Allen Williams ran second with Dr Danny in the inaugural Winter Classic in 2014 behind Stylish Moment and last year filled third spot with Lika Rockstar in the final which was won by Cee Me Burst.
SUCCESS FOR LONG-TIME SYNDICATE
A syndicate, formed some years ago by four local workmates, tasted further success at Tara Raceway last Sunday when Galactic Tsunami quickly found the front from box two before running out a 6½ length winner in the feature grade five final (400 m) in a quick 23.09 seconds.
By Fabregas out of Magic Elite, the 35 kilogram dog is owned by Steve Bartholomew, Ken Gillespie, Robert Chuck and the now-retired Jack Peacock, and trained by Steve Bartholomew jr.
Chuck, who bred and originally owned the winner outright, sold a three-quarter share in May to his fellow owners after their previous dog, Sharkarakis, was retired.
A winner of three races at Tara Raceway prior to the sale, Galactic Tsunami’s win on Sunday was the first for the syndicate and came on the back of a couple of handy seconds at the local track.
Speaking after Sunday’s win, Bartholomew recalled the group’s first greyhound almost 11 years ago.
“She was a little bitch called Next Trip. Certainly nothing special, but she did win a race at Tara Raceway before we purchased a bitch from Kevin Mugavin called Modern Joy which went on to win four local races.”
The syndicate’s association continued with the successful Killarney owner-trainer-breeder when they later purchased Magic State on the back of some impressive Warrnambool performances.
But Magic State, a son of Elite State and Killarney Magic, failed to live up to expectations, winning only one race at Tara Raceway.
“As a result, Kevin later offered us a litter sister to Magic State for $500,” Bartholomew said.
That bitch was Magic Elite which went on to win six races, including a free service to SA chaser Scull Murphy (a winner of 42 races and $133,000 in prizemoney).
Magic Elite, which was later mated with Scull Murphy, produced handy types Scullira, Wattaira, Black Bargain and Scull Magic which the syndicate won six races with.
Chuck then took over Magic Elite for breeding with three further litters producing smart types including Galactic Impact, Galactic Viper, along with Galactic Tsunami and Galactic Dragon (also successful last Sunday) in her final litter.
Meanwhile, Galactic Tsunami will line up again on Friday from the tricky box six in a pretty handy Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (400 m) while Galactic Dragon, also sold recently by Chuck, has drawn box four in a heat of the Produce Store Feature Grade Five (512 m).