It’s now been more than 40 years since Coleraine owner-trainer Bob Wombwell won his first race in Mount Gambier with a greyhound called Dynamic Tarmel out at Glenburnie over 289 metres.
Still a regular at Tara Raceway meetings, Wombwell had been one of the many Victorian trainers whose appearances last year at the local track had been severely restricted due to border closures.
In fact, Sunday’s appearance in the Winningformula.net.au Stake (400 metres) with Blue Bonnet had seen him chasing his first Mount Gambier win since January 2020 when Serene Rose had been successful.
He had picked up Blue Bonnet, a daughter of Barcia Bale x Annie Weaver, as a giveaway prior to racing from the Tamworth-based Ray Aslin. Her first win had come at start number 11 at Warrnambool over 390 metres in August last year.
Lining up for start 28 on Sunday, she was a $14 chance when chasing her second win. And she never looked in any danger of defeat when crossing from the outside and leading all the way for a 3¾ lengths win over Jack Be Quick in 23.39 seconds.
Wombwell is now hoping for bigger and better things as he breaks-in a few young ones. “They’re shaping up ok,” he said. Also to follow is a litter, 4½ months old, by Sennachie out of Serene Rose.
In the following race, the Commercial Hotel Maiden/One Win Stake (512 m), Southern Cross trainer Ray Mahony was chasing his first Tara Raceway win since Raging Rampant had won there in September 2019.
He was back with Tapering Off, a 38 kilograms son of Barcia Bale x Tear Away Babe, who had made his debut at the track the previous week when running a handy fourth.
Obviously all the better for the run, the black dog quickly worked into second spot before taking the lead down the back straight. From then on he was never going to be beaten, eventually running out a three lengths winner over Paradise Five in a more than handy 29.90 seconds.
But, as Mahony explained, the February 2019 whelping’s first win hadn’t come without a setback or two along the way.
“The problem with him first started when I was trialling him at Warrnambool and he hit the catching pen gate. While no real physical issues resulted what happened was he then became reluctant to run into the catching pen.
“Eventually I decided to trial him at Tara Raceway which operates with a finish-on-lure and no catching pen. This seemed to work well and when he started to trial sub-30 seconds needless to say I was pretty happy with him.”
Owned by the breeder, Queensland-based Duane Dalton, Tapering Off was reared by Mahony who also trained Tear Away Babe for eight wins – four of those at Tara Raceway.
Mahony’s involvement in greyhound racing goes back 50 years. Now he’s hoping Tapering Off will be his best yet.