Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Octogenarian trainer still has spring in his step

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

For Tom Cryer, the 80-something greyhound trainer from Apsley, it was back in 2012 when weekly TAB racing was introduced at Tara Raceway that he and his wife Margaret decided it could be a good time to breed a litter with their 2011 Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year Cryer’s Midget.

Tom Cryer with Cryer’s Spring after his maiden win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

All told, Cryer’s Midget had won 11 races, Cryer deciding to use Spring Gun for the mating. At the time Spring Gun, winner of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic at Wentworth Park, had just been retired to stud.

As it turned out, the mating was so successful – Cryer’s Fred the standout with 36 wins – that Cryer went back to Spring Gun for a repeat mating when Cryer’s Midget was next in season.

And as things stand at the moment, Spring Gun has sired more than 6500 winners, including SA chaser Gun McBain (68 wins) and New Zealander Wheelchair Norm who won 67 races. Cryer hasn’t done too badly, either, brindle offspring he’s kept from the two litters having now won 144 races.

So back in early 2018 when he had been looking for a couple of pups to maintain some semblance of continuity it was a litter out of Grimsby Girl, a finalist behind Mojito Mayhem in the 2016 Mount Gambier Cup, which attracted his attention.

“The litter was out at Compton with Tracie and Karen Price and to be honest I knew very little about Grimsby Girl. But the fact there was a couple of brindle dog pups in the litter and that they were by Spring Gun was enough for me,” Cryer recalled this week.

Fast forward 16 months or so and the pups are now racing as Cryer’s Spring and Cryer’s Yappy, the former lining up in the Swallow Drive Meats Maiden Stake (400 metres) for his fourth start at Tara Raceway last Sunday on the back of two previous third placings.

The race didn’t start off all that well for Cryer’s Spring, a $1.95 favourite, when he missed the start from box eight by three or four lengths.

But by half-way down the back straight Cryer’s Spring had rounded up his rivals and then quickly put the issue beyond any doubt when storming home for a six lengths win over Flash Marcia in 23.84 seconds.

Zara (left) and nine-year-old birthday girl Tessa pictured at Tara Raceway last Sunday with 600 metre Saint David.

Cryer’s Spring will step up to 512 metres on Thursday in the Produce Store Stake. He will also be stepping up to grade six company and racing against considerably more experienced greyhounds.

This anomaly, however, may be offset to some extent as from next week when the Thursday meetings will take on a revised format – maiden, 1-4 wins and 5+ wins.

And Cryer’s Yappy, a last start third placegetter at Tara Raceway, will attempt to win his first race at start number four when he lines up from box five in this Sunday’s Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 m).

Meanwhile, the affable Peter Byrne of Koroit, back at Tara Raceway with Saint David for the first time since running a 2½ length fourth to Lektra Brandy in July’s Anniversary Cup final (512 m), was chasing his first win with the black dog since a low-grade win at Ballarat over 545 metres in April.

“He should be suited by the bend start (600 metres) and the smaller field (five runners),” Byrne had said prior to the running of the South Eastern Hotel Stake last Sunday.

Byrne, the breeder-owner-trainer, got it pretty right when the son of Cosmic Rumble and Mepunga Kirsty led all the way to defeat Spring Spinner by a half-length in 35.53 seconds.

Saint David is the greyhound that hit the headlines last year when clocking a quick 29.31 seconds to win a Launching Pad semi-final over 515 metres at Sandown Park prior to injuring himself in the final a week later.


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