With six runners in Sunday’s Formula 400 final, it was no real surprise that the winner came from David Peckham’s Allendale East Bourne Kennels.
And while Minnie Banjo, the 400 metre track record holder and litter sister to dual record holder Giant’s Flash, jumped the favourite it was the Peckham trio of Dundee Reactor, Out Of Gas and Aston Marlon who shared the early lead.
Then, turning for home, it was Aston Marlon who pushed his sizeable 38 kilogram frame through on the rails to find the front before running out a 1½ length winner over Out Of Gas in 22.94 seconds. A further 1½ lengths back in third spot was Minnie Banjo.
By Aston Dee Bee out of Aston Regas, the Ray Borda-owned black dog joined Peckham’s kennels back in October last year and quickly strung together seven wins by the beginning of January.
However, according to Peckham, it was soon after that the rot set in following an incident at an away track.
“He certainly showed some ability, winning at Murray Bridge and also at Mount Gambier where he broke 23 seconds and 30 seconds over 400 metres and 512 metres respectively.
“But in late January he suffered a setback at the track and was off the scene for a couple of months. He scrambled into the Formula 400 on the back of a fourth placing which had been his third run back and obviously topped him off for Sunday’s final.”
Aston Marlon gave Peckham his second Formula 400 success after the Malcolm Keenan-owned Keen One won the event in 2020 in a time of 22.96 seconds.
Sponsored by Peter Bryce of Winning Post Supplies, the Formula 400 was first run at the 2015 Mount Gambier Cup meeting when it was won by Tom Cryer’s terrific dog Cryer’s Fred in 23.00 seconds.
In the race prior, the Commersh Masters (305 m), Peckham won his first of two feature events for the day when Denzell Bale led all the way to defeat Mediation by 4¾ lengths in 17.47 seconds.
For the Peckham-owned Denzell Bale, a January 2018 son of Barcia Bale and Houston Bale, his 20th overall win came at start number 108. It was the black dog’s second feature race success since transferring to Allendale East in late October.
“Actually, his was a bit of a rough start at the kennels,” Peckham said. “Soon after he arrived he injured himself in a training mishap. I then purchased him after the owners decided they wanted to move him on.
“However, no sooner had he got over that injury and he copped a spider bite which held up his progress for a bit longer.
“But he’s been a handy dog for me, having now won five races, including last month’s Murray Bridge Cup Consolation over 455 metres.”
Programmed for older greyhounds, Sunday’s Commersh Feature Masters also included Seaside Shuffle (Oaks Road x Tarks Nemesis) who turned five years old in January and was going around for the 172nd time.
Later in the day, his half-brother, Departure Gate, raised the bar when winning the Carlin & Gazzard MG Mount Gambier Cup.
Peckham said he was now looking at running Denzell Bale in a Grade 5 Masters over 342 metres at Angle Park on Monday week.
Meanwhile, down from Adelaide for the Mount Gambier Cup meeting were members of the Nineofus Syndicate, hoping like hell they could finally win the cup, this time with the Peckham-trained Midnight Blast.
It wasn’t to be, but their day still ended well when $17 chance Midnight Daisy won the Swallow Drive Meats Mixed Stake (400 m).
Always on the pace from box five, the beautifully bred daughter of Fernando Bale x Midnight News took over the running upon entering the home straight before going on to a 1¼ length win over Victory Chase in 23.28 seconds.
The win also gave Peckham his fourth winner of the day after Earn The Blur had earlier won the Commercial Hotel Stake (400 m).
Syndicate manager Ross Schurgott, of Happy Valley, said it was their intention to breed with Midnight Daisy when she’s next in season.
“Today was her first win since she was last in season so we’ll keep racing her until the next time around,” he said. “She’s now won 15 races for us and with her bloodlines we’re hopeful that she will be able to leave something better than average.”
Schurgott said the syndicate had already purchased a Hooked On Scotch straw in readiness for the mating.