Monday, March 18, 2019
As far as this week’s Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier heats are concerned, Melton-based greyhound trainer Simon Payne couldn’t have hoped for a better trial for Molly Coaster at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
This was long-time participant Payne’s first trip to the Mount Gambier track and he liked what he saw – even more so after the running of the Produce Store Stake (512 metres).
Lining up from box four on the back of a handy effort at The Meadows on March 8 when running fourth behind Fabwik in a grade five final (525 m) in a personal time of 30.12 seconds, the only query regarding Molly Coaster was probably her lack of early pace.
But for a greyhound that has raced on Victorian city tracks in all but one of her 29 starts, Sunday’s five-dog field was a decided drop in class, so much so that the black bitch was in front at the first turn.
And despite running wide rounding the first bend she soon found her bearings, eventually running away to an 8¾ length win over Pool Hall in a best of day 29.70 seconds, Payne confirming soon after that Molly Coaster would be back for Sunday’s cup heats and he for the Saturday night Calcutta at the Tara Raceway clubrooms.
Later, when her trainer brought her out from the kennel house for a swab, Molly Coaster looked a “million dollars”, on her toes and giving steward Stan Bright the real run around as he sought, ladle in hand, to secure a urine sample.
There’s been a buzz around the track in recent weeks surrounding the “Galactic” youngsters, all members of the Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball litter and raced locally by Robert Chuck and Steve Bartholomew.
August 2017 whelping Galactic Mojo, having only her fifth race start in the Gambier Vets Stake (512 m), after a maiden win last week made the step up to grade six class – something not a lot of greyhounds are able to do – when leading all the way to defeat a gallant Candy Chimes by 4¼ lengths in 29.92 seconds.
The brindle bitch is owned and trained at Moorak by Chuck who said Galactic Mojo, after her sub-30 second win, would now be nominated for Sunday’s cup heats as would Galactic Athena, trained for him at Worrolong by Bartholomew.
Galactic Athena, who has raced on only four occasions, won a heat of last month’s Summer Classic (512 m) in a brilliant 29.61 seconds before running third in the final behind Banjo Bad Boy and Rose Ali. She is reported to be trialling well.
Usain Insane, unplaced in a heat of last year’s Mount Gambier Cup behind Print The Money in 29.68 seconds, will be back on Sunday for another crack for Allendale East trainer David Peckham after a solid win in the South Eastern Hotel Mixed Stake (512 m).
Chasing his first win this year, the son of Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze barged his way to the front going out of the first turn, eventually running out a two length winner over another cup contender in Big Casey in a time of 30.03 seconds.
Big Casey, trained at Edenhope by Cap Abbott, was having his first run at Tara Raceway since December 21 when he defeated Azumi Striker in a quick 29.84 seconds. His last win was in early January over 515 metres at Angle Park.
Hutch, trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, looks likely to be back for his third Mount Gambier Cup after an impressive official trial at Tara Raceway prior to last Sunday’s race meeting.
Returning after a two-month injury break, the four-year-old son of Premier Fantasy x Cairnlea Ellie solo trialled over 512 metres, looking good when stopping the clock at 29.91 seconds and pleasing Halliday who declared Hutch a cup starter provided all goes well this week.
Hutch first contested the cup in 2017 on the back of winning the Summer Classic, defeating Paraphernalia in a cup heat before finishing unplaced in the final behind Fabregal in race record time.
And last year, the black dog was unplaced in Print The Money’s heat before defeating Henry in the Mount Gambier Cup Consolation in a best of day 29.56 seconds.
Last Sunday didn’t turn out to be a bad day for Halliday, Molly’s Wally appreciating box one in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m) when leading all the way to defeat a fast-finishing Dusty Pearl by 2½ lengths in 30.15 seconds.
Then, in the following race, the Swallow Drive Meats Open Stake (400 m), Spirited Bingle, back after a two-month break, led all the way to defeat Speedy Scar by 6 ¾ lengths in a best of day 23.13 seconds.