A last-minute decision by Tailem Bend trainer Bob Fletcher to return to Tara Raceway last Sunday with Springvale Anna and Dorrigo McLaren ended up being a good move for all concerned.
The week prior, Fletcher and Adelaide-based part-owners Kay Gillett and Darren Fulwood had brought the pair down for their first look at the Mount Gambier track.
“Considering it had been their first time here the runs hadn’t been too bad,” said Fletcher, still chasing his first win at Tara Raceway but whose involvement in greyhound racing goes back some 50 years – the past 16 on a regular basis.
“Springvale Anna had led in the distance race (732 m) before running fourth while we were pleased with Dorrigo McLaren’s effort to run third over 512 metres behind a couple of handy types in Bangor Lizzy and Maybe Wrong.
“Initially we weren’t coming down again this week but after their first-up efforts at the track we figured a quick turnaround might work in their favour.”
And it certainly did. Springvale Anna, dropping back to 600 metres, in direct contrast to the previous week found herself still at the rear down the back straight in the Greg Martlew Autos Mixed Stake before finishing powerfully for a 2¼ lengths win over Hot Diamond in 35.67 seconds.
By Worm Burner out of 18-race winner Springvale Cool, Springvale Anna is raced by Don and Helen Foster – well known for their long and successful involvement with the “McLaren” greyhounds – in partnership with Gillett and Fulwood.
Speaking after the race, a delighted Fulwood said the blue brindle bitch had been a good pick-up and given the four owners a lot of fun.
“She was purchased for $6400 a bit over 12 months ago after being advertised on line by her breeder Gavin Harris,” he said.
“At the time she had just strung together three wins in succession at Gawler and Angle Park over 643 metres and 600 metres. Since then she has won a further nine races for Bob, including three distance races at Angle Park and two over 680 metres at Murray Bridge.”
Dorrigo McLaren looked anything but a greyhound that had won only four races from 58 starts when leading all the way in the Metal Worx Stake (512 m) and defeating Galactic Anubis by three lengths in a best of day 29.78 seconds.
By Barcia Bale out of 16-race winner Zara McLaren, Dorrigo McLaren was bred by Helen Foster who also owns the black dog which has now been in Fletcher’s kennels for 12 months.
Interestingly, Zara McLaren’s sire was the Foster-bred Token Prince, a son of Malawi’s Prince and their terrific bitch True Temptation who was a granddaughter of the great stayer Bay Road Queen. This was certainly SA breeding at its best.
Token Prince retired to stud with a record of nine wins from 13 starts. His stud career was spectacular with more than 4000 offspring, many succeeding at Group level.
Fletcher’s double last Sunday had him thinking long and hard as to when his last training double had been.
“I reckon it was at Angle Park with Speedy Jabarck and Scorchin’ Lil. But I’ve got no idea when it was,” he said.
These, in fact, were the dogs and it was an Angle Park Wednesday meeting on December 21, 2016.