Shaking off her injury woes at Tara Raceway yesterday was Galactic Athena, having only her sixth start since last winning on August 6 at Tara Raceway when defeating Silent Jacko in the Tara Trackstar (512 m).
Back in the boxes for the first time since January 31, and with connections’ sights set firmly on Sunday’s Commercial Hotel Mount Gambier Cup heats (512 m), she lined up in the eight in the AVM-D Easter Gift (512 m) which comprised a handy field of open class greyhounds.
As it turned out, it was pretty much a case of litter sisters fighting out the race, Galactic Athena displaying great pace from the boxes and leading the pack around the first turn while Galactic Horizon was left to do the chasing.
But in the run home, Galactic Athena was much too good, running out a 4¾ lengths winner in 29.64 seconds over Galactic Horizon – both greyhounds owned by Robert Chuck of Moorak and trained at Worrolong by Steve Bartholomew.
Back in 1981, Bartholomew had handled Tara Topar, the inaugural Mount Gambier Cup winner, for his mother-in-law Joan Cruise. Then, 38 years later, he handled his own winner – Galactic Athena who ran down Slingshot Hammer to score a terrific win in a then race record 29.43 seconds.
At 19 months of age she was the youngest greyhound to win the cup. Now, two years later, Chuck and Bartholomew are chasing further cup history as the daughter of Paddy Whacker and Galactic Rumball attempts to become the first winner of dual cups.
Sunset Milo, now in the Allandale East kennels of David Peckham, will be chasing consecutive cups after last August running down kennelmate Kipling in the Covid-interrupted 2020 Mount Gambier Cup.
By My Bro Fabio out of Jewel Action, Sunset Milo was trained by part-owner Tim Aloisi when winning the cup in a race record time of 29.42 seconds after having gone close to a track record in his heat the previous week.
Off the scene between September and December, the black dog has won four races since the cup, his last win being at Cranbourne a month ago.