Tuesday, October 29, 2019
A stunning return to form for a “forgotten” greyhound and a keenly-contested Swallow Drive Meats Open Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway last Sunday has the Mount Gambier club looking well-placed as far as the forthcoming Border Challenge is concerned.
The inaugural Border Challenge will feature four runners each from the Warrnambool and Mount Gambier clubs clashing in a final – the winner to receive $4000, a trophy and a rug – over 450 metres at Warrnambool on Thursday, December 5.
Galactic Destiny, out of the winner’s circle since the end of June, bounced back with a 5½ length win over Bereluke in the O’Brien Electrical Stake (512 m) in a best of day time of 29.71 seconds, Worrolong trainer Steve Bartholomew now keen to tackle the challenge with the daughter of Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball.
“A couple of 400 metre runs seemed to top her off nicely for her first 512 metres since August,” he said. “We were really pleased with her personal best time and all being well she’ll take on the challenge.”
Bartholomew also said that prior to the Mount Gambier heat/s on Sunday, November 24 there was a chance Galactic Destiny would have a run at Warrnambool, a track that she not yet raced at.
Earlier in the day, Springvale Alysa gave them something to chase in the Open when establishing a handy break mid-race over Azalea Monelli who eventually held out kennelmate Dyna Naitch to win by a half head with a further half length back to the early leader – the trio all breaking 30 seconds.
The Border Challenge will alternate annually, next year’s series final run at Tara Raceway over 512 metres. Warrnambool’s heat/s will be run on Thursday, November 28 with conditions of entry for both tracks varying and appearing on the clubs’ respective websites.
Meanwhile, after another good month, Azalea Monelli is still a clear leader in the 2019 Tara Trackstar No. 2 – for the best performed greyhounds at Tara Raceway between the beginning of July and the end of December.
The leading qualifiers as at October 27 are: Azalea Monelli (49 points); Bourne Thanks 31; Dyna Naitch 30; Cruising By, Springvale Alysa 29; Lektra Phyliss, Silent Jacko 26; Black Spring, Saucy Sav 25; Banjo Fozz, Zuberi 24.
The top eight point scorers nominated will contest the 512 metre Trackstar on Sunday, January 5.
Azalea Monelli is trained at Allendale East by David Peckham who will head into Thursday’s meeting with 98 winners after another bag of four last Sunday.
He will win this year’s Ian Badger Trainer of the Year award and add another title to his previous three, the main interest now focusing on whether he can finish anywhere near Tracie Price’s record-breaking 137 winners of last year when 79 meetings were run at Tara Raceway.
And putting that record in perspective, it’s only fair to point out that already there have been 77 race meetings conducted this year. By the time the semaphore board lights are turned off for the final time this year on Sunday, December 29 that tally will be 95.