Monday, July 17, 2017
It was a day of highs and lows at Tara Raceway on Sunday for well-respected greyhound trainer Peter Franklin of Moyston.
Franklin was in town for the heats of the Anniversary Cup, and the John Reid and Eric Lewis Memorial heats, with a couple of the day’s headline acts in the form of McIvor Verna and Mojito Mayhem, both back at the local track for the first time since breaking the 600 metre and 512 metre track records respectively on Sunday, June 18.
McIvor Verna, returning to Tara Raceway after a couple of excellent efforts at Angle Park over 731 metres in the Stayers Cup, quickly sorted herself out from box three in the second heat of the Lewis Memorial (600 m), taking the lead down the back before finishing strongly to defeat Fire Eyes by 7¼ lengths in 35.27 seconds.
Then, later in the day, plenty of interest centred around Mojito Mayhem and his bid to reach his third consecutive 512 metre Anniversary Cup final and perhaps become the first greyhound to win the event on three occasions.
The 4½-year-old Mojito Mayhem was lining up for start number 79 when Franklin placed him in box six in the third heat but really it seemed like only yesterday that the striking-looking black dog had made his race debut at Tara Raceway.
Back track to October 12, 2014 and Franklin was at Tara Raceway with an unraced youngster called Future Past who duly won a 400 metre maiden in 23.54.
The win prompted his trainer to declare that he had a litter brother to Future Past who was considerably faster. Twelve days later Mojito Mayhem won on debut, running a best of day 23.14 seconds.
In close to three years of racing he had accumulated 24 wins along with 21 minor placings. His Tara Raceway record stood at 35 starts for 20 wins and six minor placings.
He came into Sunday’s heat on the back of a track record and a 515 metre win at Angle Park on a Thursday night, Franklin declaring that his preparation leading up to Sunday had been one of his best. He even spoke of having another crack at next year’s Mount Gambier Cup.
But the highly anticipated clash of the “Tara Titans” – Mojito Mayhem and Cryer’s Fred – never eventuated after the former was injured early in running.
A life of retirement now beckons for the Barry Priest-owned track record holder.
“I’ve already been in touch with my wife Rosalie and she’ll have a bed by the fire ready for Mojito Mayhem by the time we get home tonight,” Franklin said.
“He’s now destined for a life on the couch.”
Franklin said that some straws could also be drawn with a view to some limited breeding with the son of Fear Zafonic x Graceful Amy at a later date.
Mojito Mayhem bows out as the fastest greyhound to go around the 512 metre circuit after his 29.52 seconds run on that amazing Sunday afternoon in June when Franklin trained four winners with two of them breaking track records.
The fact that he could run a track record at a time when most greyhounds his age have either been retired or are way past their best is testament to his durability and to Peter Franklin’s prowess as a trainer.
And with the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club currently looking at the establishment of a memorabilia section in the Tara Raceway clubrooms, Mojito Mayhem certainly deserves a place on the top shelf.