Saturday, October 12, 2019
Close Encounter, a reserve in last Thursday’s Greyhound-Data.com Stake (512 metres) was always going to be hard to beat if she happened to gain a start in the Novice (1-4 wins) time-graded event at Tara Raceway.
After all, the July 2017 black bitch had won at the track early in the month in a best of day 30.00 seconds for the 512 metre journey and had then followed up with a win at Sandown Park (515 m) in a respectable 29.85 seconds.
As luck would have it, Close Encounter, trained at Parwan by Debbie White, gained a start from box seven and never looked in any danger of defeat, running out a comfortable four length winner over Delusional Fab in 30.11 seconds, the faster of the two 512 metre events.
By Cosmic Rumble, she’s out of 10-race winner Starlight Blush, who is a daughter of Starlight Delly, a member of the outstanding Bombastic Shiraz x Winsome Bluebird litter that includes former super stayer Miata.
Close Encounter was purchased in July by Brian and Peter Wilson after she had a won a maiden event at Bathurst in NSW, the Victorian-based father and son owners having previously had greyhounds trained by White.
And the laid-back trainer was keen to talk up the 25 kilogram bitch that has now won three races since the purchase.
“She’s the best dog I’ve had for a while and it will be interesting to see how she handles herself on Sunday when she steps up in class to a Mixed 4/5 (515 m) at Sandown Park.
“Subject to how she goes, I’m also looking at next Friday’s Geelong Cup heats (460 m). I know it’s a long way from a Tara Raceway time-graded meeting to a Group 2 at Geelong but sometimes you have to have a go.”
Close Encounter was the second leg of a double for White – her second this year at Tara Raceway after Crazy Summer and Loroupe had won on July 4 – with Loroupe successful for the first time over 600 metres when she defeated China Catch ‘Em in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake.
This was the second consecutive week that a greyhound with more than 100 starts had been able to win over the middle-distance journey, Noosa Parade successful at the previous time-graded meeting.
Rachel Baulch, of Geelong, trained her first winner last Thursday when giveaway greyhound Ugo Girl led all the way to defeat Maximum Lisa by two lengths in 23.57 seconds in The Border Watch Stake (400 m).
But the 32-year-old Baulch, due to work commitments, missed out on witnessing her first win, husband Shaun handling the white and fawn daughter of Fernando Bale x Amercia Bale.
For Shaun Baulch, 36, a Thursday regular at Tara Raceway and involved in the sport for three years, 2019 has been his most successful with four winners.
“It’s certainly an improvement on last year when there were no winners forthcoming,” he said. “But we really love greyhound racing and are now looking at relocating, perhaps to an area such as Mortlake, where we can further our involvement.”