Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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One-dog trainer making up for lost time

Warrnambool-based Kevin Finn, one of the real gentlemen of greyhound racing, is finally making up for lost time with Orson Gift, the only dog he has in work.

Finn, and his daughter Marita (Byron), were over on Thursday with the son of Orson Allen x Mepunga Fame who was engaged in the Stake over 400 metres.

And the black dog, after an ordinary start from box five, quickly worked into second spot behind Zambora Jade before finishing strongly in the home straight for a two-length win in 23.56 seconds.

Kevin Finn and Marita Byron pictured with Orson Gift after his win at Tara Raceway on Thursday.

The win – Finn’s first at Tara Raceway since Blackjack Cruise was successful there three years ago –was Orson Gift’s second for the month after he won his maiden over 390 metres at Ballarat on June 4.

Speaking after the win on Thursday, Byron said Orson Gift – a half-brother to the Group 1-winning Untapped – had come via Mepunga East-based breeder-owner Barry Smith, the man behind the “Mepunga” greyhounds.

“Barry had known that Dad was looking for a greyhound to train. So when one of the black dog pups from the litter didn’t appear as though he would measure up to city class it was suggested that he could be worth having a go with,” Byron said.

Come the end of November and Finn was dusting off the collar and lead in readiness for yet another return to the training ranks. And runs at Geelong and Horsham in December kicked off the career of the Smith-bred youngster that had been appropriately named Orson Gift.

“Things were going along pretty well but at his third start, this time at Warrnambool, he fell and suffered metacarpal damage. It would be five months before he returned to the track,” said Byron.

“Dad enjoys the involvement at the country tracks and likes to keep active so it’s been really pleasing that he has been able to get Orson Gift back on the track again and win a couple of races.”

He also enjoys the family involvement, Finn training him for the Three Gen Syndicate which comprises his wife Lorraine, daughter Marita and grandson Anthony Laing-Smith.

And Orson Gift was in for a well-deserved treat on the way home. Byron said there was always a stop at Heywood to purchase a Dixie Cup ice cream for the greyhound on board when returning from Tara Raceway.

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