Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Worrolong greyhound trainer Steve Bartholomew still remembers the first Mount Gambier Cup run – back in 1981 at Glenburnie when he handled the winner, Tara Topar, trained by his mother-in-law Joan Cruise.
And he still remembers the first Calcutta that was conducted as a lead-in to the inaugural cup that was run over 479 metres.
“Yes, I still recall that first Calcutta. It was held in a farmer’s woolshed on Jubilee Highway and I reckon one of the bookmakers purchased Tara Topar at the auction for something like $100 which would have been a handy sum back then.”
Since then, 37 Mount Gambier Cups have been run, all preceded by a Calcutta conducted at a variety of venues over the years, these days at the Tara Raceway track on Lake Terrace East where the $15,000-to-the-winner Group Listed final over 512 metres will be decided on Sunday, March 31.
Tim Holmes and Amy Widdicombe, who took the Calcutta into the computer age last year, promise an even bigger and better production on Saturday night.
“Chris (Klaassens) has come up with an excellent buffet style menu with meals being available between 6 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. prior to the Calcutta draw,” said Holmes.
“Following the draw, Chris Manser, of Green Triangle Real Estate, will auction Sunday’s cup heat runners in his own inimitable style, ably assisted by well-known local identity Kevin “KD” Douglas whose presentation work for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club is outstanding.”
Also in attendance to further add to the Calcutta presentation on the night will be well-known Adelaide media identity Ray Fewings, also a successful greyhound trainer in his own right.
And complementing all this will be live music in between the settling of the auction purchases which will probably run into four groups, those greyhounds assessed as the best chances to win the cup auctioned last.
Holmes said there would also be a general raffle conducted on the night with plenty of prizes including two framed watercolour originals donated by Macca’s Mum – Macca being owner-trainer Adam Mackareth and his Mum, local watercolour and acrylic artist Jo.
Pre-paid tickets for Saturday night’s Calcutta can be purchased at tomorrow’s Tara Raceway meeting for $25 (adults) and $10 for children 12 and under or by phoning Holmes on 0400 060 435.
Last year, 40 cup heat runners were auctioned with the three greyhounds attracting the most interest being Henry $425, Print The Money $420 and Lektra Stomp $400, the final payouts being $4180, $1194 and $597 after Xtreme Caution, Lektra Stomp and Galactic Panther eventually filled the final placings.
Meanwhile, Cryer’s Plugger brought up his tenth 600 metre win at Tara Raceway when leading all the way in Sunday’s Trackside Meats Stake, the son of Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget defeating his litter brother Cryer’s Bob by 3¾ lengths in 35.33 seconds.
Cryer’s Plugger will now line up in a heat of Sunday’s Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup (512 m), Apsley trainer Tom Cryer hoping the brindle dog can improve on his effort of last year when he failed to qualify for the final after running unplaced in a heat behind Megellas Fairy.
“Hopefully he will go better this year but I do have the Tankman 600 to fall back on if he fails to get through on Sunday,” he said.
The Tankman 600 is a $2500 one-off middle-distance feature for the best eight greyhounds and will be run on cup final day (March 31).
Cryer has also nominated Cryer’s Harper for Sunday’s Formula 400 Open heats, the $2500 final also to be run on cup final day.
Last year’s Tankman 600, run as a grade five feature, was won by Connie Miller’s Chilly Kiss and the Formula 400 by the Tracie Price trained Baz’s Moment.