Wednesday, November 2, 2016
With two strong six-dog heats to be run at Tara Raceway on Friday afternoon, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club looks set to be well represented in this year’s SA Country Cup final.
The two heat winners will then head to Strathalbyn on Sunday, November 20 and join representatives from Gawler, Strathalbyn and Port Augusta to contest the $7375 final over 536 metres.
Representing Gawler are Memory Assassin, which has since clocked 29.99 seconds for the 515 metre journey at Angle Park when winning a grade five final, and Jokowi, which followed up with a fourth at Gawler the week after the Country Cup heats.
And local trainer Tracie Price has already booked his ticket to Strathalbyn after Lyon Rose won the right to represent that club with a stirring win over Scottish Thistle in 31.99 seconds.
Lyon Rose, which continues to race well, turned in a top effort at Tara Raceway last Friday when leading until the home turn in The Border Watch Mixed Stake (512 m) before going down by only a couple of lengths to local Country Cup aspirant Homer.
The Port Augusta representatives were decided at the club’s Melbourne Cup meeting with the first two placegetters to make the trip to Strathalbyn.
In the first heat of the Mount Gambier division, two of the main hopes look to be box four runner Berry Bling and Cryer’s Fred, well drawn in the eight, which fought out a mixed stake over 512 metres at Tara Raceway on October 23.
On that occasion the Nicole Stanley trained Berry Bling quickly found the front from box seven and was never headed, eventually holding on to win by three-quarters of a length in a best of day 30.11 seconds.
Cryer’s Fred, trained by Tom Cryer, raced again last Friday, finishing fourth to Homer after finding plenty of trouble on the first turn, while Berry Bling also returned, stepping up to the 600 metre journey and running second after experiencing little luck throughout.
Fear The Rascal, Homer and Breakwater Bay – all winners at last Friday’s meeting – will clash in the second heat.
Fear The Rascal comes into the race on the back of two 400 metre wins at Tara Raceway and being beautifully drawn on Friday in box eight Price looks a great chance of lining up at Strathalbyn with representatives for two clubs.
He will also be attempting to win another Country Cup after Moorak Hope defeated Perfect Life in 2013 at Gawler in a time of 31.24 seconds for the 531 metres.
Portland trainer Robert Halliday is also chasing another Country Cup after Tickets Please had won at Gawler in 2008.
Halliday has had the Country Cup earmarked for a while now with Homer, which has drawn box four tomorrow, and the white and black dog couldn’t have been more impressive when running down Lyon Rose in 30.35 seconds last week.
Breakwater Bay did the job well when leading all the way last Friday in the ClassicBet Stake (512 m), bringing up his third win from 11 starts for Portland breeder-owner-trainer Andy Graham who now has his sights set on a first-time trip to Strathalbyn.
The fawn dog has drawn box two in what will be a decided step up in class for the promising youngster although being an on-pace runner he should be able to put himself into the race early.
The last Country Cup run at Strathalbyn was in 2014 when David Peckham’s kennelmates Thanks Tubby and Bourne Again represented Mount Gambier in the final won by $30 chance Morgan McLaren.
Last year the cup was back at Gawler with Peter Franklin’s Future Past and Thanks Tubby the local representatives finding the going pretty tough against long odds-on winner My Excuse.