Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Riding home a winner at the dogs

Nathan McKay, based over Bendigo way at Toolleen, made a successful return to Tara Raceway last Thursday with first starter Likoni in the Carlin & Gazzard Maiden Stake (305 metres).

Always on the pace from box four, the white and black bitch railed through to take the lead off the back before running away to a 2½ length win over Melody Bay in a handy 17.99 seconds.

Nathan McKay with Likoni, an impressive maiden winner for high-profile jockeys Jason Maskiell and Damian Lane.

By Fernando Bale, Likoni is out of Mombasa, a winner of four races at Sale and a litter sister to Adelaide Cup winner Hooked On Scotch. This is a repeat mating with the first litter including Nyali King, so far a winner of 15 races and more than $67,000 in prize money.

And for Melody Bay, a pint-sized 21½ kilogram daughter of Worm Burner and Zipping Melody, it was her fifth consecutive second placing at the track for Koroit trainer Gerald McKenna.

McKay took over the training of Likoni and her still unraced litter sister Bamburi about a month ago for high-profile jockeys Jason Maskiell and Damian Lane.

“They had both been trialling when I got them but to be honest I wasn’t sure how Likoni would handle herself at a new track. We were just hoping – and she didn’t let us down,” he said.

“This was my first involvement with Damian but back in July I had been successful here with another one of Jason’s greyhounds called Riverside Lily who won over 400 metres.”

Once again, the McKay family was out in force with wife Natalie and children Daniel and Alyssa in attendance to also watch Burdock and Mad Brax fill third placings.

First involved as an owner in 2009, McKay has been training greyhounds since 2019. His first Tara Raceway winner was Mad Brax in June 2022.

Meanwhile, Mount Cottrell owner-trainer Paul Cusack landed at Tara Raceway last Thursday with several “Quantum” greyhounds bred in SA by Daniella Madalinski at Freeling.

Quantum Leap with Paul Cusack who is chasing maiden bonuses with his SA-bred greyhounds.

Lining up in the first race, the Winning Post Supplies Maiden Stake (400 m) were litter brothers Quantum Leap, a first starter, and Quantum King who had run two seconds at the track.

By Sennachie, they are out of Springvale Diva, a maiden greyhound but well bred, being by Kinloch Brae x Footluce Diva. A couple of her littermates include Axel Footluce (21 wins, $155,000 prize money) and Jack Get Back (18, $71,000).

And it was Quantum Leap who picked up the maiden SA-Bred Bonus when leading all the way from box one and defeating Cawbourne Kiki by a length in 24.15 seconds.

“The maiden bonus for SA-bred winners is certainly a real plus,” Cusack said. “I’ve got a few SA-bred maidens in the kennels at the moment so I’ll certainly be bringing them over to try and pick up the extra incentives.”

Quantum Leap’s win was Cusack’s first local success since Aston Knox in May last year. However, his involvement in greyhound racing at Mount Gambier goes back to November 2018 and Gin Lee’s Pride who was his first winner at Tara Raceway.

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