Meningie trainer Tim Richards’ involvement in greyhound racing goes back something like six years. Prior to that his sporting interest had been football, one highlight being the 2005 grand final in the River Murray Football League when he coached Jervois to a record-breaking premiership win over Tailem Bend.
These days it’s records of a different kind. Almighty Stripe’s 22.68 seconds for 400 metres at Tara Raceway last October the fastest recorded at the track. And Justice For All’s time of 29.59 seconds when winning yesterday’s Summer Classic (512 m) was a race record.
Richards won his first race at Tara Raceway just over three years ago with Allen Paul which he had purchased from NSW breeder Paul Wheeler for $500. At the time he had said he hoped to become further involved through breeding his own stock.
And this is where his involvement with Worm Burner’s owners Cameron and Yvonne Butcher, also based at Meningie, came into play.
“I’ve enjoyed success with a couple of their bitches that I’ve bred with – Spicy Peppa, a winner of 25 races, has produced Almighty Stripe, Contrail, Jervois Boy, Jervois Bruit and Meek And Mild from a mating to Fabregas,” Richards said.
“Then there’s Molly Be Nimble’s litter by Aston Dee Bee which we shared and includes Jack’s Well (14 wins and $40,000 in stakemoney) and Justice For All. She was recently mated for a third occasion, this time with Barcia Bale.
“I have to say, Cameron and Yvonne have been really helpful and very good to me. I certainly appreciate that they have given me an opportunity to become involved in their line which is highlighted by Little Looper, the dam of Worm Burner.”
Justice For All sounded a warning of bigger and better things to come when defeating Saint Rock by six lengths over 512 metres in 29.66 seconds at Tara Raceway on January 17. A week later, over 400 metres, he clocked a near record 22.71 seconds.
The Summer Classic, first run in 2015, is an age-restricted event for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1 two years’ prior. It looked an ideal race for Justice For All who was whelped in January 2019.
In the past the classic had served up some pretty handy winners – Cryer’s Ricky, Menzel Boys, Hutch and Galactic Panther – all reached the Mount Gambier Cup final the following month. This year also attracted a pretty fair line-up.
Justice For All made it through to the final after leading all the way and defeating first starter Boombox Hammer by 1½ lengths in 29.79 seconds. As it turned out this was the fastest of the three heats although Richards perhaps had hoped for a little more.
Maybe, but one thing’s for sure, he would have been more than happy with the black dog’s all the way win in yesterday’s final. He was never going to be beaten from box one, eventually running out a 6½ lengths winner over rank outsider Don’t Forget Kev and Crush Your Enemy – the winner’s litter brother and kennelmate.
Speaking after the win – his first to carry a presentation rug – the 56-year-old trainer was quick to acknowledge the efforts of his greyhound “checker”.
“Look, I don’t want to go into any details but I attribute much of the success I’m currently enjoying to the person checking my greyhounds on a regular basis.”
Richards said he was now looking at Friday’s Murray Bridge Cup heats (455 m) with Justice For All, a winner at the track over 395 metres in mid-February.
“All being well, I’d then like to have him back here for the Mount Gambier Cup,” he said. “At the moment Justice For All is referred to as Jack Wells’ brother. Who knows, a bit of success in the cups with him might even reverse the reference.”
Yesterday’s win was the start of another big day at Tara Raceway for Richards who finished with a running treble and 14 local wins this year after the classic winner’s sister Butter Up Again and Contrail were also successful.
Butter Up Again and Blue Bonnet slogged it out in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m), the former eventually winning by a neck in 23.47 seconds. And Contrail matched motors with Sianna Magic for much of the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) before running out a half-length winner in 23.49 seconds.
The running treble was the second this year for Richards at Tara Raceway. On Sunday, January 24 he won successive races with Two Hands George, Justice For All and Jervois Bruit who had staged a mighty effort to defeat Another Pick and kennelmate Almighty Stripe over 400 metres.
Meanwhile, Richards, assisted at yesterday’s meeting by Tanya Bialek, also had Sketchy Gun engaged in the Bourne Kennels Masters Stake (305 m).
At 6½ years of age, the son of Brett Lee and Motown Girl is one of the oldest greyhounds racing in SA. All told, he’s now raced on 167 occasions for 23 wins and 59 minor placings. His last win was at Gawler over 400 metres in September.
A winner of the Christmas Challenge at Tara Raceway in 2018, Sketchy Gun was purchased by Richards in May 2016 for $1000 from Allan Ivers of Newcastle after two unplaced runs at Muswellbrook and Tamworth. He has now won $43,000.