Wednesday, November 30, 2016
A $500 three-pup purchase from a litter by Golden Mike x Leeor Girlie – bred by Claude Merrett of Serviceton – was how Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell initially became involved in greyhound racing.
This was back just before the new track on Lake Terrace East was opened on January 25, 1997.
As it turned out, one of the pups – Claude’s Mistake – won five races at the new track with Fennell later having plenty of success with Merrett-owned dogs carrying the Leeor tag.
In fact, he still rates Leeor Sid (Kyasha x Janet Jay) and Leeor Sam (Where’s Pedro x Jakaia) as his two best dogs with the former still winning races at five years of age and retiring after 101 starts for 18 wins and 33 minor placings while Leeor Sam won 19 races.
Fennell, 66, reckons he hasn’t made too many purchases since those initial three pups but he’s had his share of success with greyhounds from other kennels.
In fact, it’s been an association with leading local trainer Tracie Price that has helped him enjoy his best year ever – three wins over the weekend with John Limes, Gentle Moment and Whatta Moment taking his tally to 28 wins.
“About three years ago I received a package from work and finished up out at Trackside Meats doing a bit for Tracie. One thing led to another and I took a few of his dogs that he was looking to move on in order to bring in younger stock,” Fennell said.
“It’s just gone on from there but with 14 dogs currently in work it’s a real team effort with wife Edna and young Mo (Canala) making significant contributions.”
Gentle Moment and Whatta Moment, all the way winners in last Sunday’s grade five 400 metre heats, have drawn boxes three and seven respectively in this Sunday’s final at Tara Raceway.
And Fennell looks to hold a strong hand in the final as he will supply half the field after Black Peer and Stampy Longnose also qualified.
John Limes, who finished strongly in a grade six heat last Friday, will be looking to make it three wins in succession when he jumps from box eight in the Trackside Meats Grade Six final (512 m).
It’s an interesting final with Cap Abbott’s box one runner Irka Jakit racing well, the Price-trained Goldie’s Run (box five) also a smart heat winner and Brian Weis’s Baurna Sal, despite drawing box six, expected to improve on her heat fourth placing.
RUFUS ON THE RIGHT PATH
It’s taken a while, but Red River Rufus finally broke through for his fourth win when successful in a Pathway heat (400 m) at Tara Raceway last Friday.
Away well from box two, the son of Spring Gun and Wentworth Park winner Carmina led all the way to defeat the fast finishing Crazy Sprite by 1½ lengths in 23.79 seconds.
The win was Red River Rufus’s first in 14 months and even back then owner Ray Aslin and Coleraine trainer Bob Wombwell had had to share the prizemoney after a dead-heat was declared with Glenville Abbey.
Wombwell, successful early last month at Tara Raceway with the Aslin-owned Rocksferry Road, said he was starting to wonder whether Red River Rufus would ever win another race.
“He certainly doesn’t win out of turn but with 18 seconds he’s the sort of dog that’s often about the place. Hopefully, now that he’s broken through again he can go on with the job,” he said.
And with his early pace he certainly looks hard to beat in Sunday’s Pathway final after drawing box one.
Also likely to be in the mix on Sunday for Wombwell are Fear Helvetia in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) and Rocksferry Road in the Gordon Refrigeration Open Stake (400 m).
Fear Helvetia, purchased by Wombwell after a Tara Raceway maiden win, has won a further six races but has been out of the winner’s list since May when successful at Horsham.
However, the son of Fear Zafonic x Shannah’s Star looks well boxed in the one and get his chance to atone for a second behind Bushman’s Faith at last Sunday’s meeting.
Also adding interest to the grade five affair are box two runner Odd Boots, a winner over 600 metres for Portland owner-trainer Robert Halliday at last Friday’s meeting, and the Allen Williams owned and trained Penny Eagle.
By Cosmic Rumble x Guru Doll, a litter sister to former Tara Raceway 400 metre record holder Star Doll, Odd Boots was purchased as a pup (along with Brinza and Guru Doll) by Halliday who now has an eight-month-old litter out of Guru Doll by Fabregas.
Penny Eagle impressed in her best of day 23.34 seconds win over 400 metres in a grade six last Friday with Williams saying after the race that he was now looking at the grade five bitches only Fashion D’Or Ladies Bracelet (400 m), heats of which will be run on Friday, December 9.
Rocksferry Road has also drawn well in box two in a race that also includes proven speedsters Slipper’s Chance, Cheyenne Black, Scorpion and Colden Star.