Monday, January 20, 2020
For Mount Gambier greyhound owner Michael Robinson, Sunday’s win by Rocketline in the Sims Family Memorial Maiden (512 metres) at Tara Raceway was certainly a far cry from those frustrating trial mornings with the black youngster not all that many weeks ago.
Raced in partnership with Worrolong-based Willie Vossen who had also reared the son of Peter Rocket x Headline, Robinson said he had resorted to trips to the Tara Raceway trials after Rocketline had returned from breaking-in with little to recommend him.
“Initially, he just stood there, showing no inclination whatsoever to chase the lure,” Robinson said. “But with perseverance he gradually came good, to the extent that in the end he was chasing really keenly.”
Headline had been acquired for breeding by Karen and Tracie Price of Compton from Lisa and Keith Hellmuth of Pearcedale, the beautifully bred daughter of Barcia Bale x Raya Riot having won 16 races on Victorian tracks.
Placing their faith in the local breed – in particular pups from Compton – Robinson and Vossen purchased two of the Headline litter (Rocketline and two-race winner Tandiki) as well as another Sunday winner in Vossy (Dyna Double One x Miss Freelove).
Support of the local breed also paid dividends on Sunday when connections of the feature race winner collected an SA-bred $1000 maiden bonus to be shared between the owners and breeder (Tracie Price).
Price took over the training of the trio in late November, Rocketline lining up in the Sims Memorial from box eight and looking to be one of the top chances after an impressive second on debut over 512 metres the previous week.
And he quickly put himself in the race, chasing Confession down the back before once again finishing strongly in the home straight to run down the leader for a 1½ length win in 30.16 seconds, giving Price his first success in the event since 2014 when winning with Benara Cosmic.
“Ours is a real family operation out at Compton as had been the case with Col Sims and his family at Carpenter Rocks,” said Price who last month won the Peter Whitehead Memorial at Tara Raceway with Elle Limes.
A delighted Robinson, who had been associated with the Sims family back in the Glenburnie days of racing when he was Chief Steward, said both Rocketline and Tandiki were now likely contenders for next month’s Summer Classic.
Success in the Sims Memorial continues to elude long-time Portland-based owner-trainer Robert Halliday who went close this year after Confession gave it his best shot.
“This is one race that I would really love to win before hanging up the collar and lead,” he said. “I still have some terrific memories of competitive times with Col at coursing meetings in South Australia and Victoria.”
The Sims name is synonymous with greyhound coursing and track racing in the South East. Col Sims, assisted by his wife Val and son Ian, enjoyed great success on the coursing fields, later adapting to mechanical lure racing when it was introduced in Mount Gambier in 1979.
He was on the South East Greyhound Racing Club committee when racing commenced at Glenburnie, a year prior having become the first life member of what is now known as the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club Inc.
Once again, the family was well represented at Sunday’s meeting – Col Sims’ sister Margaret Lindner on track to celebrate her 85th birthday while the Sims’ daughter, Lorraine Webber, pledged continuing support for the time-honoured event.