Thursday, September 8, 2016
It’s now been three years since Mount Gambier representative Moorak Hope won the SA Country Cup (531 metres) at Gawler for Moorak owner Allan Holmes and trainer Tracie Price of Compton.
This was the re-introduction of a series – albeit with considerably less country greyhound tracks to draw on – that had been spasmodically run over a number of years.
In fact, by the time 2013 came around the only real country tracks left had been Mount Gambier and Port Augusta. Long gone were tracks at Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Pirie, Kulpara and Barmera. As a result, Gawler and Strathalbyn were added to make up a working number.
But for all that, the Country Cup has added further interest to the SA racing calendar. With total prizemoney of $7375 and a breakdown of $5000, $1250, $625 and $100 for unplaced runners it’s a race well worth winning.
And while this is the SA Country Cup, conditions released this week by Greyhound Racing SA allow for non-SA trainers and their greyhounds to represent Mount Gambier provided the trainer has had starters at Tara Raceway on at least 15 occasions in the previous 12 months.
All greyhounds must have started at least twice in the past 12 months at the track they are attempting to represent and must not be above grade five at Angle Park (Monday and Thursday).
Mount Gambier’s qualifying heat/s will be run at Tara Raceway on Friday, November 4 with a maximum of two heats per club and the winners of each heat qualifying. If only one heat is run then the first two placegetters will advance to the final.
The SA Country Cup final, to be decided this year over 536 metres at Strathalbyn on Sunday, November 20, is rotated on an annual basis between Gawler and Strathalbyn and is run in conjunction with the clubs’ Cup nights.
Country Cup winners since 2013 have been Morgan McLaren and My Excuse with Price looking to play a strong hand in this year’s series.
Clashing in tomorrow’s more than handy Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway are two of his likely contenders in Real Moment and Fear The Rascal.
Having her first run back in Mount Gambier since the end of July, Real Moment impressed last Sunday in her all the way win over 512 metres in a best of day 30.16 seconds.
There will also be plenty of interest tomorrow in Price’s promising youngster Blazing Moment – already a winner at Tara Raceway and Angle Park – which will jump from box four in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) for grade six greyhounds.
ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW
Top racing, excellent on-course turnover and plenty of new faces made for a good day at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
One of the new faces was that of a gentleman from Wentworth, a small border town in the far south west of NSW.
He’d been holidaying with his wife in Mount Gambier and took the opportunity to take in a day at the dogs. A day, he assured club officials, he thoroughly enjoyed.
Not that greyhound racing was anything new to him as many years ago he had been involved in the introduction of straight track racing at Wentworth.
That was back in the 80s and a time when many owners and trainers used to make the thoroughly enjoyable trip to Wentworth over the June long weekend to take in the Wentworth Cup – heats on the Saturday, final on the Monday.
The Wentworth track is now also long gone but not so straight track racing in Victoria which continues to thrive on a weekly basis at Healesville, and beginning in November will race weekly on both Friday and Sunday.
And closer to Mount Gambier, discussions are now underway regarding a straight track at Horsham.