Thursday, April 13, 2017
Last Sunday’s meeting at Tara Raceway started off pretty well for trainer Kevin Ashton who regularly makes the four hour trip from Charlton to Mount Gambier.
He had Cullquin Nikki engaged in the Metal Worx Stake (400 metres), back after a two-month break from the track although seemingly not all that well suited over the short course – a tote price of $26 suggesting that anyway.
But the brindle bitch was quickly in front from box eight and never looked like being beaten, eventually running out an 8¼ length winner in 23.83 seconds which was one of the quicker runs of the day on the rain-affected track.
Owned at Rushworth by Peter Cullie and Sharon Quinlan, Cullquin Nikki was having only her second start for Ashton, after being well beaten over 600 metres at Tara Raceway in February.
However, some solid galloping at the Bendigo slipping track leading into Sunday’s race obviously paid off with the November 2014 whelping now back over 400 metres again this Sunday before Ashton looks to step her up in distance.
By Nolen out of seven-race winner Shiraz Monelli, Cullquin Nikki’s grand-dam is former outstanding WA chaser Joanne Monelli, who had no trouble handling the 715 metre journey at Cannington, and who won 30 races and $187,000 in prizemoney.
Back to last Sunday’s meeting, and some 40 minutes after Cullquin Nikki’s win, Ashton had been late arriving at the kennel house to retrieve Hurricane Bertha for the Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (600 m).
The greyhound judiciary quickly pounced, charging the flustered trainer under Rule 46(2) which reads in part: “If the handler . . . fails to appear at the kennels within 5 minutes of the appointed time to retrieve the greyhound, the stewards may order the withdrawal of the greyhound and the handler shall be guilty of an offence.”
Well, stewards allowed Hurricane Bertha to run but Ashton copped what seemed to many to be a pretty steep $200 fine.
It’s not the first time this has happened. With varying time frames between races, trainers are often noted hurrying to the kennel house.
And once again it had trainers, who periodically make the trip to race at Strathalbyn, suggesting that Tara Raceway could do well to follow the lead of that club which informs trainers when they are required at the kennel house by the sounding of a siren.
Kevin Ashton can come up with 200 reasons as to why that would be a good move.
TARA RACEWAY REGULARS THROUGH TO FINAL
Tara Raceway regulars will make up half the field of next Wednesday’s $5000-to-the-winner GRV Vic Bred Series 0-6 wins (650 m) final at Warrnambool after the running of two heats on Tuesday.
In the first heat, the Peter Franklin trained McIvor Neville, winner of the Sims Memorial at Tara Raceway earlier this year, after being a distant third down the back straight finished strongly to defeat Lektra Destiny in 37.90 seconds.
Lektra Destiny, owned and trained at Glencoe by Barry Shepheard, turned in a huge run. The 25 kilogram bitch was checked going out of the first turn and found herself last down the back straight before working home solidly to go down by just over a length.
John Cameron’s Fascinated, a best of day 512 metre winner at Tara Raceway last Friday, displayed plenty of early dash in the second heat before finishing third in a personal time of 38.15 seconds.
And the Franklin-trained McIvor Verna, who broke her maiden status when a mixed 600 metre winner at Tara Raceway on Sunday, also grabbed a final spot with a time of 38.22 seconds when making up a stack of ground to finish fourth after looking little chance at one stage of making the cut.