It was only a few weeks ago that Grand Warrior won her maiden at Tara Raceway for Cundare trainer Kevin Quinn and Cristina Gason who race the daughter of El Grand Senor and Bel Air Mist under the guise of the Windy Plains Syndicate.
On that occasion the win came at her 35th start, the giveaway greyhound having been in Quinn’s kennels prior to making her racing debut in April last year. Grand Warrior’s second win came up somewhat quicker although punters obviously had yet to be convinced.
Three starts later and back at Tara Raceway, she was a $23 chance when leading all the way in last Thursday’s Progreyhoundtips.com Stake (400 metres), defeating Cawbourne Move by 2½ lengths in a personal best 23.52 seconds.
“She seems to be really appreciating being back at Tara Raceway again on a regular basis after missing much of last year due to border closures,” said Quinn who has now trained six winners at Tara Raceway this year.
“And don’t forget my two third placings,” chipped in Gason.
Speaking prior to making the 300 kilometres trip back to Cundare, Quinn obviously still harbours fond memories of his introduction to greyhound racing in the early 2000s.
There was his first dog, Diego’s Ghost and the first dog he actually trained, Dark Raider. Then there was Commander Rush, purchased from a Dapto auction and, of course, Gaquinn Flyer, a son of Fortified Speed x Merlene Banner that he won in a raffle.
Meanwhile, a few races later, Grand Warrior’s litter sister Grand Giveaway led all the way at $21 in the Bourne Kennels Stake (400 m), holding out Banjo Bliss to win by a half head in a personal best time of 23.24 seconds.
Grand Giveaway, also a giveaway, is raced by husband and wife team Shaun and Rachel Baulch who relocated to Mortlake eight months ago with their five-year-old daughter Scarlett.
Handling the winner on Thursday was Shaun Baulch, 36, involved in the sport for four years and now working with four dogs in the town that includes fellow trainers Peter Crawley, Peter Franklin and Paul Herry, all well-known at Tara Raceway.
The Baulchs took over Grand Giveaway after she had won a maiden at Healesville in June last year at odds of $35. Since then she has won a further five races.
Baulch, who won his first race at Tara Raceway in June 2019 with Nick’s Never, said he originally became interested in the sport in order to try and shed a few kilograms.
“I figured walking a couple of greyhounds might assist me in losing some weight and it certainly did help.”
Impressing in the South Eastern Hotel Stake, the only 512 metres race on the day, was Billie Burner who is trained in Mount Gambier by Christine Yourgules.
Billie Burner is the dog that gave Yourgules her first winner as a trainer back in December when finishing hard over 400 metres to grab a narrow victory in a steady 24.08 seconds.
While not a lot had happened since then, the brindle daughter of Worm Burner and city-winning stayer Ulala Bale really turned things around last Thursday after overcoming a slow start in the 1-4 wins time-graded event.
In fact, she was a clear last early and still had plenty of work to do mid-race when giving tearaway leader Mediation a fair start. But she was simply too strong in the run home, defeating Joey Mac by 2¾ lengths in a very tidy 30.01 seconds.
Yourgules said Billie Burner, yet another giveaway, was bred to run further and as such she was now looking at the forthcoming Tankman 600 (600 m) which will be run on Mount Gambier Cup final day on April 18.
“I certainly don’t think I’m flying too high,” she said. “Actually, her past three runs prior to today had all been fair efforts. Two of those runs were at Angle Park and then she ran 30.29 seconds behind Golly Gumdrops in a heat of the Michelle Niele Memorial at Tara Raceway.
“I’m putting an improvement in her form down to the fact that I’ve changed her diet and also I’m now giving her the run of the place. And that’s something she’s really enjoying.”