Monday, December 31, 2018
For Tracie Price, the 2018 leading trainer, the busy year at Tara Raceway ended as it began – a double with Kinky McPhee and Same Scenario all those months ago on January 7 and a litter double on Sunday with Sophie’s Moment and Dimora Flash.
And in between there were 16 doubles, 11 trebles, four winners on six occasions and four days when he trained five winners – all contributing to a record 137 wins, 124 seconds and 102 thirds at the Mount Gambier track.
Sunday’s double with the litter sisters by Cosmic Rumble out of Stylish Moment was perhaps a fitting way to end his season as the pair is part of an intensive breeding program put in place by Price and his wife Karen.
Stylish Moment, who won the 2014 Winter Classic at Tara Raceway, was one of the forerunners of the current breeding program and earlier this month was mated with Peter Rocket.
Indicative of the influence the Price breed is having on racing at Tara Raceway is that Who’s Doing What, Hey Sexy Lady and Lucy’s Moment all figure in the 2018 Leading Dams’ list.
Sophie’s Moment put in a terrific run in The Border Watch Stake (600 metres), giving kennelmate Cilla Brown a big start down the back before finishing strongly to run her down to win her first middle-distance event.
And Dimora Flash, after a great battle with Midnight Rage in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m), hung on for a neck win in 23.28 seconds.
For Price, Sunday was the culmination of a big few days. At Warrnambool on Thursday night where he won with Maunganui Magic over 390 metres, then Tara Raceway on Saturday morning for the trials before a five-hour trip to The Meadows at Broadmeadows in Victoria for the meeting that night.
He had Smart Knocka engaged in a semi-final of the Silver Chief classic (525 m), disappointingly out of the race on the first turn after suffering severe interference, Price later saying that the son of Knocka Norris x Who’s Doing What would return to The Meadows this Saturday night.
“At this stage I’m looking to take him back for a grade five event and then leave him in Victoria to be trained by Seona Thompson.”
Smart Knocka has raced only three times at Tara Raceway for a heat and final win in the Peter Rocket Winter Classic (512 m) and later a win in 29.72 seconds over Springvale Alysa.
Away from his home track, he ran a great second in the SA Derby (515 m) at Angle Park although Price was quick to nominate his win in the Adelaide Cup Consolation (515 m) as the highlight of his year.
But from a Tara Raceway point of view, surely the highlight of the leading trainer’s year would have been the runs of Rockoon in mid-June and early July.
Group 1 winners don’t go around the Mount Gambier track too often so when the big white and black son of Peter Rocket x Raya Riot found his way over to the Price’s Compton kennels and duly lined up in a 600 metre mixed stake on June 17 there was a real air of expectancy around the track.
And Rockoon lived up to all the hype, running out an 11 length winner over a fair sort of greyhound in Hit The Runway in a time of 34.86 seconds, only a whisker outside of McIvor Verna’s track record.
He was back on July 1, this time over 512 metres and this time he defeated another fair sort of greyhound in Cryer’s Plugger by 9½ lengths in track record time of 29.28 seconds – a time unlikely to be lowered any time soon.
The Mount Gambier leading trainer award is now to be known as the Ian Badger Leading Trainer, in recognition of the South East Greyhound Racing Club’s first leading trainer in 1979-80, the trophy now on display in the club’s memorabilia section.
Badger was also on the committee when racing commenced at Glenburnie on Saturday, July 21, 1979. He was club secretary for the following season and president between 1984 and 1986 and again from 1988 to 1990.
In 1996 he was awarded posthumous life membership of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club after having died on March 31, 1995 at the age of 46.
Price was last leading trainer in 2016 with 78 wins, his best performer being Real Moment with 11 wins.