Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Merbein South trainer Jamie Quinlivian had done it all before, on several occasions, making the long trip to Tara Raceway without a lot of success and then facing what always seemed an even longer trip home.
Quinlivian travels thousands of kilometres every year with his greyhounds, due to the remote location of Merbein South (just down the road from Mildura) from a greyhound track point of view.
There was a time when he wouldn’t have been too badly situated – tracks being located at Robinvale (Victoria), Wentworth (NSW) and Barmera (SA). These days, though, his closest tracks are Gawler and Horsham, both four hours away.
In Mount Gambier last Sunday for heats of the Peter Rocket Summer Classic (512 metres) and the Metal Worx Feature Grade Five (512 m), the 46-year-old trainer clinched a final spot in the classic after Serene Machine ran fourth in the first heat.
And then in the second heat, Quinlivian pulled off one of the upsets of the day when Shot Thru, a $23 chance, finally gave him his first winner at the track and his second Summer Classic finalist – Serene Machine and Shot Thru later drawing boxes eight and four respectively for this Sunday’s final.
Shot Thru, a daughter of My Bro Fabio and Geelong maiden winner Lainey Bale, actually did a good job to win the heat in 30.50 seconds considering it was her first run on the track.
Away only fairly from box three, she still had plenty of work to do mid-race although off the back the black bitch had put herself right in the race, finishing too well in the home straight for Monarto South trainer Tony Hinrichsen’s pair of Breemelia Swift and Assertive Fury (a half-brother to his 2016 Summer Classic winner Menzel Boys).
Quinlivian said he believed Shot Thru – a litter sister to Tritt Tritt who has won seven races from 10 starts and prizemoney of more than $18,000 on Victorian tracks – had her share of ability.
“I actually reared her from nine months of age for Charles Mercieca and Mark Mihailovic, receiving in return a one-third share in her,” he said.
“And when she won first-up at Horsham over 410 metres back in September last year I thought she was probably worth sending to Melbourne to be trained but that didn’t work out and she was back home again by January.”
Later in the day, Quinlivian’s Bessie Belle went down by a nostril to Blazing Moment in the first heat of the Metal Worx Feature Grade Five although litter brother Signal Peak made amends in the second heat with an impressive 29.91 seconds win over perennial placegetter Chilly Kiss.
Both are into the final on Sunday, as is Monster Foxy – all being out of Quinlivian’s prolific producer Rustic Reeta who raced on only 19 occasions for two wins, both in the space of a week in mid-December 2012 at Ballarat and then Tara Raceway where she won over 400 metres in 23.90 seconds.
Some time later Quinlivian acquired her for breeding. Ask him what the attraction was and he’s got no idea. All he knows is that, after a mating with Cape Hawke, more than 100 winners followed with the rest now being history.
So the trainer, who has done pretty well for someone involved in the sport for only four years, left the track on Sunday with wife Lydia, along with a couple of winners and the prospect of having to do it all again this Sunday.
Mind you, the trip home from Mount Gambier last Sunday wouldn’t have seemed anywhere as near long as some of those of the past.
But Lydia Quinlivian could be missing this week as there’s plenty happening at the moment at Merbein South – Rustic Reeta has an 11-pup 10-week-old litter by Sulzanti while Sweet Savage, a litter sister to Signal Peak and Bessie Belle, whelped eight dogs and five bitches six weeks ago to Hostile.
And as if that’s not enough, well-performed staying bitch Tahlo is in pup to Worm Burner.
Time honours for the classic heats went the way of the Tracie Price-trained Dynamite Danger who led all the way from box seven, holding out Galactic Panther in the run to the line to win by a neck in 29.99 seconds.
Both dogs should be further improved, Dynamite Danger having only his second run over 512 metres and Galactic Panther his first race start since mid-December, although he had been trialling well.
While the former found plenty on his first-up effort over the distance at Tara Raceway a week prior, the improvement wouldn’t have come as any real surprise to Price who had been talking up the classic chances of the son of Dyna Double One x Mepunga Jayelle for several weeks.
What might have surprised him though was the effort of kennelmate Same Scenario who found something like a 16-length improvement on her previous 512 metre efforts when running a 1½ length third and clocking 30.10 seconds.
The nicely-bred daughter of Fabregas and Who’s Doing What, a distant third down the back straight behind Dynamite Danger and Galactic Panther, worked home well and will add even more interest to what should be a terrific Peter Rocket Summer Classic final on Sunday afternoon.