Portland trainer Robert Halliday’s early assessment of his greyhound Shady Past may well turn out to be spot on judging by the brindle dog’s maiden win at Tara Raceway on Thursday afternoon.
Raced by the trainer’s wife, Shirley, Shady Past led all the way from box six in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 metres). And on the line he had 5½ lengths to spare over Radioactive in a near best of day time of 23.13 seconds.
The win had been a while coming, though. His first start had been at the end of November last year when he finished down the line at Tara Raceway. Six further unplaced runs were to follow before last Thursday’s breakout performance.
Halliday broke-in Shady Past himself and had been very pleased with the end result.
“At the completion of breaking-in I thought he looked very promising,” he said. “But when I took him to the race track, initially he appeared to be overwhelmed by the whole experience.
“However, his three runs back since a four months break have all been much better and it looks like he’s now starting to come out of his shell.”
By Fernando Bale out of the unraced Cairnlea Shadow, Shady Past has been with the Hallidays since three months of age.
Bred by Lesley Sermon at Lewiston, the litter also includes Boombox Shelby and Boombox Cheeky who both won three races at Tara Raceway for Tracie Price before returning to Adelaide to race.
And another littermate is the Petar Jovanovic trained Boombox Hammer who ran a quick 30.69 seconds when winning a heat of the recent Group 3 Howard Ashton Classic (531 m) at Gawler.
Cairnlea Shadow is a daughter of Cairnlea Layla, a member of the successful Mogambo x Della Bale litter bred at Grassmere by Peter Hubbard who died after a heart attack in November 2016 at the age of 56.
Hubbard, who won the 2008 Mount Gambier Cup with Maxwell Stanley, had been involved in greyhound racing for 30 years.
He had also been involved with local football and gave Port coach Ken Hinkley his first coaching job at the Mortlake Football Club after he retired as a Geelong player. Their friendship and involvement in greyhound racing grew from there. And also involved with the pair was Robert Halliday.
“Ken was actually instrumental in me getting Shady Past as a pup,” Halliday said. “After Peter died there were plenty of loose ends to be tied up regarding the greyhounds. I have to say that Ken was very fair in all the dealings.”
It’s not often that Halliday doesn’t have a handy dog to race at his “home” track – Hutch and Rotate a couple of more recent examples. And Shady Past could be the next if last Thursday’s effort is anything to go by.