It’s only 18 months since Moorak-based Jason Newman trained his first winner at Tara Raceway – the $34 chance Like A Slug.
And leading into Sunday’s Category 2 meeting he’d trained 17 winners – collectively a few more than that if partner Melissa Freitag’s contribution was also added to the tally.
But yesterday Newman took things to a new level at the local track when leading in his first treble with Boogie Woogie, Beatific and Departure Gate.
Even better, Beatific and Departure Gate won the two heats of the Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 metres). Better still, Lektra Violet ran second to Beatific and gave Newman three runners in this Sunday’s final.
Raced by Steve Williams’ Velocity Lodge, Beatific has done well since joining Newman’s kennels last month when he won two 400 metre events in sub-23 seconds.
He stepped up to 512 metres for the first time yesterday but with a 30.76 seconds 531 metres Gawler win earlier in the year when trained at Lewiston by Troy Murray the distance was never going to be a problem.
The son of Fabregas x Velocity Willow duly led all the way from box seven with Lektra Violet doing the chasing from box one. In the end he had 4¼ lengths to spare in a time of 29.92 seconds which turned out to be the faster of the two heats.
Departure Gate, having his first start at Tara Raceway, was always on the pace in heat two, eventually holding out Victa Jess to win by a half-length in 30.16 seconds.
By Fernando Bale x Tarks Nemesis, the black dog is a litter brother to Jepara, a winner of 16 races and $125,000 in stakemoney.
Raced by Mick and Sharyn McSorley of Morphett Vale, Departure Gate had previously been trained at Trott Park by their son-in-law Damien Bates who is currently in WA for three months due to family commitments.
Boogie Woogie, another recent addition to the Newman kennels, was having her first start in the Swallow Drive Meats Maiden Stake (305 m).
And the Nick Cutri owned daughter of Fabregas and former smart chaser Dubovka led all the way from box five when defeating Hulky Boy by 3½ lengths in 17.90 seconds.
For Newman, who relocated to his 20-acre property from Tennant Creek in 2015, it is now a case of starting to reap some reward for effort.
“From an ownership point of view I’ve already made some valuable contacts within the industry,” he said. “And days like today certainly help to repay in some small way the faith these owners have shown in me.
“To have three runners going into my first feature final is terrific. To be honest, I also thought the unlucky Lektra Violet, which I race with Adelaide owners Brad Lees and Alex Coombes, was once again really super when running second.”
The 39-year-old Newman’s involvement in the sport goes back some years to when he owned greyhounds in Tasmania. But it was a couple of days spent at Tara Raceway race meetings early last year that reignited his interest.
“After giving up active sport I had been looking for something to become involved in. It took only a couple of trips out to the track and I knew what I wanted to do,” he said.
“Mind you, it did involve a fair amount of work. Kennels were required to be built, along with the erection of pup yards. Then there was a van to be fitted out in order to transport the greyhounds.”
Newman has also put his hand up for club duties at Tara Raceway. He’s a member of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club committee. As well, he is the club’s Industry Consultative Group (ICG) representative which requires trips to Adelaide for periodic meetings.
He was also one of the driving forces behind the club’s successful submission for the MGGRC to take on Category 2 status at its Sunday meetings and, stakemoney-wise, put it on an equal footing with Gawler and Murray Bridge tracks.
“Greyhound Racing SA got right behind us on this one and the introduction of Category 2 racing has been a tremendous boost for the club.
“There’s a lot that has happened at the track this year. And next year we look forward to the refurbishment of the clubrooms.”
Last year Newman was a part-owner of Midnight Daisy who won the time-honoured McDonnell Memorial. But this year, in what will be the 36th running of the event, the rookie trainer will line-up with three of the major chances.
And for Jason Newman that will be a whole new ball game.