It was by pure chance that Toolong trainer Phil Lenehan’s greyhounds Lektra Rhino and Lektra Tinsel were drawn in Sunday’s Mia Powell Tara Tipsters Cup race at Tara Raceway.
This was the race run prior to a presentation to Sarah Hutchesson-Webb and Jake Powell, the parents of little Mia who earlier this year was diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease, a rare genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and has no cure.
And, as it turned out, the Lenehan pair fought out the finish of the 512 metre event – Lektra Rhino finishing strongly in the home straight to defeat the front-running Lektra Tinsel by 2¼ lengths with a further 2½ lengths back to Peter Crawley’s Velocity Seize in 29.89 seconds.
By Zambora Brockie out of Lektra Viki – a 12-race winner with three of those wins at Mount Gambier – Lektra Rhino has now won 15 races for prize money of just under $70,000.
The litter also includes Lektra Gal, joint record holder at 17.28 seconds over 305 metres at Tara Raceway and Lektra Heckler, a winner of 22 races and more than $115,000 in prize money for Lenehan and Pearcedale trainer Jake Loverso.
A Group 1 and Group 2 finalist at The Meadows and Albion Park, Lektra Rhino has won at Warrnambool, Horsham, Bendigo, Sandown Park, The Meadows, Ballarat and Albion Park. Sunday’s win was his first from six starts at Tara Raceway.
However, it had been a while since the black dog had last won – back in March, actually, over 595 metres at Sandown Park. And his Mount Gambier win came at his first run back in more than four months.
“He had spent a fair amount of time this year being trained in Melbourne,” Lenehan said. “He came back in August and after a bit of a break he seemed to be going alright so I decided to give him a run over here.
“We’ve recently had 15 come back from breaking-in which means there are now 20-odd greyhounds in work. It’s more than likely we’ll be getting over to Mount Gambier more regularly in the not too distant future.”
He was accompanied on Sunday by his young son Wyatt and partner of 18 months Sharon Bradley who was the first to admit that prior to meeting up with Lenehan she had no idea what greyhound racing was all about.
“But I recently received my owner-trainer licence so now I’m waiting for Phil to allocate me some dogs to train.”
Lenehan threw his full support behind the Mia Powell Tara Tipsters Cup, acknowledging the charitable efforts of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Club Tara Tipsters who have now donated in the vicinity of $20,000 to local charities.
He also extended his best to the family as they continue to make little Mia’s life as comfortable as possible.
Meanwhile, in the race prior, the Hyland Fox Stake (400 m), another greyhound returning to the winner’s list after a long break was Paw Some Sloane, owned at Moorak by Jason Newman and Melissa Freitag and trained by the latter.
A daughter of Bernardo and Dusseldorp, Paw Some Sloane led all the way from box six and eventually ran out a 5½ length winner over Judiciary in a personal best time of 22.96 seconds.
The blue fawn bitch was having her first run since April 11 at Murray Bridge where she had brought up her third successive win. However, a mishap in the catching pen saw her damage an Achilles tendon.
“It wasn’t all that long ago that it looked as though she wouldn’t race again. But several weeks later things started to turn around and from then on we were pretty confident that we would be able to get her back on the track,” Newman said.
“It’s certainly a long road that has no turning and I don’t mind telling you how relieved I was when she came out running and then proceeded to break 23 seconds.”
And Paw Some Sloane’s win was the start of big day for the December 2020 litter.
Come race 11, the Trackside Pet Meats Pick 6 Open Stake (400 m), and litter sister Paw Some Storm brought up her fourth successive win at the track and distance. She led all the way and defeated the Freitag-trained Nitrogen Outlaw by 4¾ lengths in a quick 22.85 seconds.
Paw Some Storm is trained at Millicent by Dave Green who races the blue bitch in partnership with Newman.
Then at Bendigo on the Sunday night, litter brother Mr Anderson, a $13 chance in a heat of the Bendigo Cup (425 m) scored a big win for Avalon trainer Rebecca Gibbons and owners Newman and Derek Anderson.