Saturday, May 12, 2018
Local greyhounds Springvale Alyssa and Galactic Panther will line up in Wednesday’s Group 3 Howard Ashton Classic heats (515 metres) at Angle Park after turning in top performances at the city track on Thursday night.
The pair clashed in a grade six event, virtually going over the finish line together when running second and third behind long odds-on favourite and another classic contender in Abuzz who won by three lengths in 30.22 seconds.
Galactic Panther, owned at Moorak by Robert Chuck and trained by Steve Bartholomew of Worrolong, has drawn box seven in the first of four heats and has boom youngster Victa Louise – a winner of 13 of her past 14 starts – sitting on his outside.
Chuck will be chasing his second Ashton Classic, Galactic Viper successful in 2015 when trained for him by Dave Geall of Lara.
By Milldean Panther out of Galactic Rumball, Galactic Panther’s granddam is Elite Touch, a litter sister to Galactic Viper’s dam Magic Elite.
The Bungaloo Syndicate, which includes Liz Newberry and trainer John Little of Kongorong, has done well with Springvale Alysa since purchasing her from Adelaide last month – three wins at Tara Raceway and Warrnambool and Thursday night’s second.
She’s also drawn box seven on Wednesday, in the second heat, with box eight runner Tal Lee looking one of the toughest to beat after recently running Abuzz to three-quarters of a length.
By Dyna Double One out of Springvale Cool, Springvale Alysa’s great-granddam is Corrumbene Lass, a winner of eight races from 19 starts, all over the short course at Strathalbyn and up the straight at Kulpara. Interestingly, Corrumbene Lass is also the great-granddam of Victa Louise.
The classic, a paid-up event for SA-bred greyhounds whelped between January 2016 and June 2016, takes its name from Howard Ashton who, at 15 years of age, became honorary secretary of the Adelaide Greyhound Racing Club by default when the person holding that position didn’t turn up one Sunday afternoon for the Waterloo Corner race meeting.
In fact, he was never to be seen again after disappearing with the club funds, Ashton remaining in the job and becoming honorary secretary of the AGRC six years later when the club moved to Bolivar and raced behind the mechanical lure prior to the introduction of legalised wagering on greyhounds.
By December 1971, with the AGRC by then only a few months away from racing at Angle Park, Ashton had been appointed full-time secretary/manager, a position he held until 1996 when he became Racing Operations Manager prior to retirement in 2000.
Semi-finals of the Howard Ashton Classic will be run on Thursday, May 24 with the $37,500 final on Thursday, May 31.