Local greyhound owners Noel Miller, Peter Lamond and Gail Richards, who race Crafter Road, now have their sights set on this year’s Carlin & Gazzard MG Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres).
This follows a couple of smart 512 metre runs at the local track in 2023 by the son of My Redeemer and Black Pontiac who kicked off the year with a 29.58 seconds win over Rhonda Lily.
More recently, Crafter Road finished strongly in the Trackside Meats Open Stake for a nose win in 29.89 seconds after giving Midnight Blast a fair start down the back.
Miller is well known in local greyhound racing circles through his involvement with the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club (MGGRC) which included a 1986-1988 stint as president and life membership in 1995.
Actually, back in 1993 he trained the original Crafter Road, a black dog by Dapto Brandi out of Short Venture who raced on only six occasions at Glenburnie for three minor placings.
Lamond is a club sponsor through his involvement with the Commercial Hotel while Richards is also well known locally as the founding principal of Key 2 Sale Real Estate.
The trio purchased the Victorian-bred Crafter Road and his litter sister Key To Success as pups. Both have now won four races and are trained at Koroit by Peter Keane whose first winner was at Warrnambool back in 1982.
And following Crafter Road’s recent 512 metre form, Keane said there had now been a change of plans as far as the black dog was concerned.
“Originally the plan had been to step him up over 600 metres. And at the time that didn’t seem like a bad idea given how a couple of his littermates had been performing over the middle distance in Victoria.
“Both My Bonneville and My Catalina have won over 595 metres and 600 metres respectively at Sandown Park and The Meadows. But following Crafter Road’s 512 metre runs I reckon the better option may be to keep him at that distance with a view to the cup.”
The Mount Gambier Cup will kick off with the heats on Sunday, March 26. Also on this day will be the heats of the Formula 400 (400 m).
The Carlin & Gazzard MG Group 3 Mount Gambier Cup final will be run on Sunday, April 2. Complementing the cup will be the Exchange Printers Cup Consolation (512 m), Produce Store Maiden (512 m), Formula 400 final (400 m), Tankman 600 (600 m), Rocks Tavern Distance (732 m) and The Commersh Masters (305 m).
With the Group 3 Murray Bridge Cup (455 m) to precede the Mount Gambier Cup, GRSA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson said that once again bonuses – still yet to be won – had been linked to both events.
“The bonuses include $5000 if the same dog can win both the Murray Bridge Cup and the Mount Gambier Cup. There is also a $5000 bonus if the same trainer can win both cups (SA or interstate or different dogs).”
Mount Gambier’s biggest greyhound race of the year has come a fair way since its inaugural running back in 1981 out at Glenburnie where Tara Topar defeated Cindy’s Range and Autumn Print in 29.83 seconds for the 479 metre event.
The cup, which now carries total prizemoney of $36,000, has certainly increased in value since that Monday afternoon in May 1981 when the final was run on the Adelaide Cup public holiday.
For sure, less prizemoney back in those days of on-course bookmakers and no off-course betting. But this was still one weekend not to be missed with the cup heats and supporting events run on the Saturday afternoon.
Then, that night was a social function with an Adelaide steward attending and overseeing the drawing of all events for the Monday meeting.
Leading into the weekend was the traditional Calcutta, a legacy of the coursing days and in place for the first cup when conducted in a farmer’s woolshed on Jubilee Highway. Apparently, Tara Topar was purchased by a bookmaker for $100.
The Calcutta continued to precede every Mount Gambier Cup until the Covid years of 2020 and 2021. Last year it returned when run at the Commercial Hotel in conjunction with the Mount Gambier Harness Racing Club’s Gold Cup.
But the dates don’t coincide this year and the greyhound Calcutta will return to Tara Raceway as a standalone function on Friday, March 24.