Saturday, November 9, 2019
Last Thursday couldn’t have started any better for Lewiston trainer Kevin Bewley, racing greyhounds for the first time at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting.
Bewley made the six-hour trip down with a team of nine, Viking Storm and Taylor Jayde his first to go around in race four, the Greyhound-Data.com Stake over 400 metres.
And the kennelmates virtually had the race to themselves, Viking Storm quickly finding the front from box four and defying Taylor Jayde to run him down, eventually running out a 1½ length winner in 24.02 seconds on a track seriously affected by persistent rain.
By Barcia Bale out of Striking Viking, Viking Storm was bred in the south east and won four races at Tara Raceway prior to her previous owners, the Nineofus Syndicate, selling her to Angle Park course photographer Kurt Donsberg who transferred the black bitch to Bewley.
She had then gone on to be successful on a further four occasions at Angle Park and Gawler prior to last Thursday’s success – a major milestone for Bewley with the win being his 100th on SA tracks this year.
The following race, the Rock’s Retreat Mixed Stake (600 m) brought together a handy field of middle-distance chasers, the Bewley-trained Waikiki Big Girl a solid second-favourite behind Bisenti on the strength of a last start 600 metre win at Angle Park.
Raced by prominent NSW owner-trainer Mark Bell, Waikiki Big Girl, a daughter of Outa Credit and Big Girl Gerald, was never going to be beaten last Thursday, quickly finding the front before running away to a 5½ length win over Bisenti in 35.96 seconds.
Bell will always be associated with Go Wild Teddy, in 2000 the winner of three Group 1 events – the Melbourne Cup, Sandown Shootout and Vic Peters Classic. The influence of the son of Head Honcho x Web Of Silence is still prevalent, tonight’s Topgun winner at The Meadows, Get It Gizmo, being by Kinloch Brae out of Go Wild Teddy bitch Dasha.
Bewley’s association with Bell first came about through My Boy Bean, a litter brother to Waikiki Big Girl. He’d been placed on the market after winning a maiden at Maitland with Adelaide owner Clint Alleway ultimately purchasing him and giving him to Bewley to train.
“A few months later, after we’d won a few races with him, I received a call from Mark who said he had been following the progress of My Boy Bean and had been suitably impressed with the manner in which he had been racing.
“He asked me if I would be interested in training My Boy Bean’s litter sister Waikiki Big Girl who had won five races on NSW tracks and that’s how she found her way down here,” he said.
Chasing a running treble, Bewley lined up in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (512 m) with Callanish Sprite, known to Tara Raceway followers after having won at the track back in June in a best of day 29.97 seconds when trained by Heather Baxter of Murtoa.
And the daughter of Magic Sprite and Infinite Wish completed a big day for the visiting trainer, leading all the way from box five and holding out Pandora’s Comet in a desperately tight finish that resulted in a half head win in 30.73 seconds.
Incidentally, Pandora’s Comet is trained at Ettrick, a half-hour down the road from Murray Bridge, by Adrien Chevalier who enjoyed a change of luck later in the day when Pinky Girl scored a comfortable win in the O’Brien Electrical Stake (400 m).
Callanish Sprite has now won three races for the Snags In Bread Syndicate who purchased the black bitch from well-known Victorian greyhound identity Angela Langton in July.
Managed by Bewley’s stepson Michael Heinrich, the syndicate was formed 12 months ago when five racing enthusiasts from around Australia came together via the internet and purchased a greyhound after syndicate members each contributed $500.
“They now have seven greyhounds and so far they have not had to add to their initial $500 each,” Bewley said.
Bewley’s involvement in greyhound racing goes back to 1987 which was the beginning of a 10-year period as racing manager for the Adelaide Greyhound Racing Club (Angle Park).
“After that I cut ties with the sport and it wasn’t until about six years ago when I was looking for a hobby that I decided to look at getting a greyhound,” he said.
“Together with my wife Carolyn we decided to purchase a property out at Lewiston, ostensibly to cater for her poodles although I did have in the back of my mind that, as a hobby, I wouldn’t mind a greyhound to train.
“So, what started out as a one-dog hobby has now developed into pretty well a 28-dog full-time job.”
Bewley said he had been considering a trip to Tara Raceway for some time. As it turned out, from a weather point of view he couldn’t have picked a worse day. But for all that, he was impressed by Tara Raceway.
“This is a well-cambered track,” he said. “And as such it makes for safer racing. I have to say I was really surprised with what you have down here.”