Sunday, February 5, 2017
Uptown Man and Blitz And Bolt kicked off a memorable day for Allendale East trainer David Peckham when winning the first two heats of the General Destini Summer Classic (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Friday.
A $20 chance, Uptown Man was slowly away from box four but quickly mustered pace to be well placed in third spot going out of the first turn before taking over the running off the back.
Having his first start over 512 metres, the black dog turned for home in front of former kennelmate Goldie’s Run, now trained by Tracie Price, and finished full of running to score by 1¾ lengths with a further head back to Peter Franklin’s McIvor Neville who was doing his best work at the finish.
Bred and raced by Ben Murphy, of Adelaide, Uptown Man is by El Grand Senor out of Irish Fantasy, also the dam of Peckham’s Tara Raceway 512 metre record holder Thanks Tubby.
Uptown Man went into Friday’s race with only six starts to his name and having never been any further than 400 metres, winning a maiden over that distance at the local track in a pretty handy 23.36 seconds at the end of December.
And no one was more surprised than his trainer at the manner in which the 32 kilogram dog, whelped in February 2015, handled the step-up in distance.
“To be honest, I’d always thought he would struggle over 512 metres but with him being a good age for the classic I thought I’d put him in and see what happened. For sure, I was pleasantly surprised with the effort and the time – 30.51 seconds,” Peckham said.
Blitz And Bolt looked well placed from box two in the second classic heat and was always going to win after finding the front going out of the first turn, ultimately running out a 4¼ length winner over Quan’s Flash with Ima Caravan a further 1½ lengths back in third spot in 30.45 seconds.
Breathing a sigh of relief after the race was part-owner Connie Miller who still had recollections of Blitz And Bolt, a January 2015 whelping, taking a tumble on the first turn in a race at Tara Raceway on January 15.
“This was his first run since the fall and I was just hoping that he wouldn’t have any issues going into the first turn. Fortunately, all was good,” she said.
With Cairnlea Olly and Cairnlea Kenny winning at Angle Park on the Monday night, Hutch rounded off a good week for the April 2015 Premier Fantasy x Cairnlea Ellie litter with a win in the third and final heat of the Summer Classic.
Owned and trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, Hutch, at only his fourth race start, went straight to the front from box seven and was never headed, running out a 6¼ length winner over the Cap Abbott trained Irka Jakit in 30.21 seconds.
The win was Hutch’s second in succession with Halliday believing he may have been a little hasty with the 32 kilogram black dog.
“I was really keen to have a crack at the Sims Memorial with him early last month but in hindsight I probably rushed things a bit.
“I have fond memories of my many clashes with Col (Sims) on the track and the coursing fields and as such I’m still very keen to win that race at some stage.
“But at the moment the Summer Classic is the priority. I was really pleased with Hutch’s heat win and look forward to what should be a terrific final,” he said.
The three placegetters from the first two heats, along with first and second from heat three, will now clash in the $3000 General Destini Summer Classic final on Sunday afternoon.
This will mark the third running of the Summer Classic – Cryer’s Ricky (Tom Cryer) successful in 2015 in 29.96 seconds and Menzel Boys (Lisa Rasmussen) last year in 30.01 seconds.
Meanwhile, Peckham’s day ended as it had begun – with a running double – Thanks Captain successful in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) and Sweeney Miss in the ClassicBet Masters (400 m).
Thanks Captain, an enigmatic chaser at the best of times, was looking to make it two wins in a row for a second time in his 48-start career – successful on consecutive Sundays last September – when lining up from box eight in last Friday’s mixed stake.
He quickly put himself in the race before taking over the running down the back from Marcling and then, after tracking wide in the home straight, holding on to defeat that greyhound by a head in 30.42 seconds.
By Fabregas x Zadar Belle, nine-race winner Thanks Captain completed a good day for Happy Valley owner Ross Schurgott who is also a part-owner of Blitz And Bolt.
A change of kennels seemed to do the trick for Millicent owners Smiley Gordon and Gavin Watts after Sweeney Miss, whose last win had been at Tara Raceway back in October in a Pathway (400 m), landed the final event.
Based at Allendale East for a month, the March 2013 daughter of El Grand Senor x Ren Shen settled in second spot from box two in Friday’s veterans’ race before taking over on the home turn and running out a 1½ length winner over Tank Tank in 23.91 seconds.
Peckham’s four winners gave him his biggest day at the track since Sunday, April 3, 2016 when he was successful with Blazin’ Vicky, Cousin Ann, Dark Nemesis and Any Silvers Bro.
Previously, Dash Dash Dot, Cool And Amazing, Young Gunner and Bourne Again had also given him a bag of four winners on Sunday, September 7, 2014.
And on Sunday, February 12, 2012 Peckham established a then Tara Raceway record of five winners with Many Of Mystery, Baurna Paddy, Hesket Harrier, Flako and Too Good Road.