Following the recent Fast Forward heats (400 metres) at Tara Raceway’s Thursday time-graded meeting, it appeared likely the consistent Lubbock Lad would miss a place in the $1400 final which was run last Thursday.
The 1-4 wins final field in these recently-introduced once-a-month events comprises the eight greyhounds that run the fastest times in the heats, regardless of their finishing position.
So when Lubbock Lad was narrowly beaten in his heat – the Gambier Vets Stake – by Jeff Guy’s War Of Words in 23.56 seconds he ended up as the first reserve in the final.
But, as luck would have it – well, for 24-year-old Terang owner-trainer Christian Roberts anyway – War Of Words was scratched from the final and Lubbock Lad took his place in box four.
And the black dog quickly rounded up the early leader Striking Holly before running away to a four length win in a quick 22.99 seconds.
By Aston Dee Bee out of Louisiana Lil, a winner of nine races and $26,000 in stakemoney, Lubbock Lad was picked up by Roberts as a giveaway after four unplaced runs at Geelong in December last year.
Mark Roberts, who stood in for his son at Tara Raceway last Thursday, said the dog had been a model of consistency since being taken over by Christian.
“He hasn’t been out of a place in his 14 starts for him – three wins in Mount Gambier plus 11 minor placings here, Warrnambool and Geelong.”
Roberts said his son had received a solid grounding in greyhound racing at an early age after catching at Geelong race meetings.
Meanwhile, in the following race, the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), another giveaway greyhound in Saint Ellie finally broke through for her second win for Hamilton trainer Tony Harding.
Not that there is anything wrong with her breeding, the 30 kilogram bitch being by Banjo Boy out of Strongbeth, an eight-race winner and a litter sister to Zambora Brockie, a winner of 31 races and more than $500,000 in stakemoney.
And while it took only a month or so for her to win her maiden for Harding at Warrnambool over 390 metres, that had been back in July 2020. The second win was proving far more elusive.
In fact, when Saint Ellie lined up from box one in last Thursday’s 1-4 wins 512 metre event, her record stood at one win from 108 starts.
But on the back of minor placings at her past three starts, this was going to be her day. After an early tussle with Arby’s Phoebe, she ran away in the home straight for a two length win in a personal best time of 30.20 seconds.
For Harding, while Saint Ellie’s last win had been almost two years ago, he was still full of praise for the four-year-old.
“Look, you only have to look at the form guide to see how consistent she’s been of late and that she had been knocking on the door. What I really like about her, though, is that she always tries.”
It’s been a good month at Tara Raceway for the 76-year-old trainer. Saint Ellie was his fourth winner and followed on from Penshurst Lass and Flatty Hunter (twice).