The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s Winter Classic final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Thursday afternoon could well result in another win for Compton trainer Tracie Price.
First run in 2014, the classic is for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1 two years prior to its running. Price won the inaugural event with Stylish Moment and has since been successful with Cee Me Burst and Smart Knocka.
His representation on Thursday will comprise Our Boy Thommo, Proud Fernando and maiden performer Compton Peggy, with the former likely to improve on his first-up second in a heat last week.
A July 2018 son of Fernando Bale x Scarp Missile, Our Boy Thommo chased Heckle Me throughout, finishing strongly for a neck second in 30.21 seconds, the faster of the two heats.
Proud Fernando, a half-brother to 2018 Winter Classic winner Smart Knocka, found himself well back in the first heat before finishing powerfully along the rails in the home straight to defeat Frodo Baggins by 2¼ lengths in 30.37 seconds.
Whelped in November 2018, the son of Fernando Bale and Who’s Doing What is raced by Price’s wife Karen in partnership with long-time kennel supporters Andrew and Peter Haines of WA.
Compton Peggy, a March 2019 whelping and giving away plenty on the age-scale, snuck into the final on the strength of a solid 3¼ lengths fourth behind Heckle Me. The 31 kilograms bitch is by Worm Burner out of Flying Flutter which in itself will make for an interesting story at a later date.
Gifford Hill husband and wife training team Tony and Lisa Rasmussen have a finalist each, the former with Heckle Me, winner of last month’s Produce Store Feature Maiden (512 m) at Tara Raceway.
Purchased as a pup by Razza Racing, Heckle Me, a November 2018 whelping by Aston Dee Bee, is out of She’s A Looper who is a litter sister to Worm Burner.
Frodo Baggins, another well-bred pup by Oaks Road x Allinga Val, is also owned by Razza Racing and trained by Lisa Rasmussen. The January 2019 black dog did a good job to finish second in his heat after finding early trouble.
His trainer will be chasing her second Mount Gambier classic after Menzel Boys defeated Cairnlea Lewis in the 2016 Summer Classic at Tara Raceway.
Allendale East trainer David Peckham’s Double Vision wasn’t beaten all that far when finishing third behind Heckle Me and Our Boy Thommo in last week’s second heat. The July 2018 dog will go into Thursday’s race from box one and as one of the most seasoned finalists. He’ll also go into the race as one of four runners by leading sire Fernando Bale.
Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield’s Glenville Rose gave plenty of cheek in last week’s first heat, opening up a big break early before being collared by Frodo Baggins on the home turn and finishing a 5½ lengths third behind Proud Fernando.
It’s hard to see the December 2018 daughter of Aston Dee Bee and Majestic Tale winning this race but she’s there and her trainer did win the 2017 Winter Classic with Solitary Lad.
2020 WINTER CLASSIC BOX DRAW: 1 Double Vision, 2 Proud Fernando, 3 Frodo Baggins, 4 Glenville Rose, 5 Midnight Daisy, 6 Our Boy Thommo, 7 Compton Peggy, 8 Heckle Me. Res. Rough In Vegas, Smokey River.