Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Long-time Geelong greyhound trainer Mick Vaughan, in Mount Gambier last weekend to attend to some family matters, also took the opportunity of racing at Tara Raceway on the Sunday afternoon.
This was Vaughan’s first time at Tara Raceway and while suitably impressed with the complex, track and grassed surroundings, he was quickly reminded by the locals just how hard it was going to be for his greyhound Shep to win first-up on a track that had brought about the demise of many “out-of-towners” in the past.
As it was, things hadn’t quite gone to plan for the “back yard” trainer after Shep’s litter sister Eily West – a winner of 14 races and close to $45,000 in prizemoney – was injured and didn’t make the trip after looking well drawn in box seven in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 metres).
Not that Shep didn’t have a fair sort of race record of his own – eight wins and more than $30,000 in earnings. The trouble was the grader hadn’t missed his record either, with the black dog finding himself in box eight against an Open field that by and large knew every granule of sand on the track.
“He’s never won from box eight and I reckon he’s going to struggle to get across from the outside today,” said Vaughan on his return from inspecting the boxes at the 512 metre start prior to the running of the first race.
But the rising four-year-old Shep, who has seen a few different tracks in his 71 race starts, made light work of the outside draw, putting himself in the race down the back straight when ranging up into third spot behind Swift Limes and Glenville Phil.
By the time the field hit the home turn Glenville Phil, at only his eleventh start, was in front and running the race of his life for a greyhound stepping out of grade five company for the first time.
In the run to the line, though, it was Shep who finished over the top of Glenville Phil to win the winningformula.net.au Open Stake by a half length with Fiorelli Rose working home along the rails to finish a further three-quarters of a length back in third spot in a near best of day 30.27 seconds.
The winner, who was also bred by the trainer, is by the English greyhound Westmead Osprey , imported to Australia by Queensland couple Dennis and Nina Uhrhane, and is out of Eily McMahon’s only litter.
Vaughan also owned and trained Eily McMahon, a daughter of Trewly Special x Shirazamatazz, who won 15 races, mainly over the middle distance, for prizemoney of more than $37,000.
All smiles following the win was fellow-Geelong travelling companion Brian Zinner, who shortly after the race was spotted making a beeline for the TAB. Obviously, he hadn’t taken any notice of the locals – or the trainer for that matter – when it came to Shep’s winning chances!