Sunday, September 9, 2018
Talented local chaser Smart Knocka, winner of last month’s Tara Raceway Peter Rocket Winter Classic (512 metres) in a race record time of 29.85 seconds, will travel to Adelaide on Thursday to contest a heat of the SA BGC Industrial Cleaning Supplies SA Derby (515 m) at Angle Park.
Compton trainer Tracie Price’s decision to tackle the Group 3 classic with Smart Knocka comes after the September 2016 son of Knocka Norris and Who’s Doing What scored an impressive 515 metre win at the city track last Thursday night.
Only fairly away from box seven, the blue dog quickly mustered pace to take the lead going into the back straight before running out a comfortable 3¼ length winner in a quick 29.92 seconds, the effort perhaps even surprising Price.
“To be honest, my original thought from a Derby point of view was that it might have been a bit rich for him. It still might be but after last Thursday night’s win I reckon he’s done enough to warrant having a go.
“The bottom line is that Smart Knocka has raced on only six occasions for four wins – two at Angle Park – so he should continue to improve, and be well-suited in the age-restricted series.”
Originally, the traditional Derby age was for dog pups whelped on or after July 1, in the period two years prior to the running of the event, however the Derby now caters (in the case of the 2018 classic) for whelpings on or after June 1, 2016.
Interestingly, with Angle Park not commencing racing until 1972, the inaugural SA “Derby” was run as a Listed event at Strathalbyn over 535 metres on September 13, 1971 when it was known as the “Willows”, Laurie King’s North Kinta successful in a time of 32.6 seconds.
The time-honoured classic has come a fair way since then, Price now hoping Smart Knocka can make his way through to Thursday week’s final which will carry $35,000 in prizemoney.
Meanwhile, Price’s winning run continued into the next day when Andrew’s Gift finally broke through for his first win at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting.
Raced by the trainer’s daughter, Sarah, Andrew’s Gift, who had been trying since January to open his winning account, went into the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (512 m) with a record of 24 starts for 14 minor placings.
Most punters had given up on him long ago but this turned out to be his race, the son of Paradise Madison and Black Traminer proving much too good for his kennelmate Scully with an effortless 5½ length win in 30.54 seconds.
Tim Richards, who regularly makes the trip from Meningie for Mount Gambier’s time-graded meetings, continued his good run with Sketchy Gun when the black dog was a convincing 5¾ length winner of the South Eastern Hotel Mixed Stake (600 m).
Sketchy Gun, by Brett Lee out of Motown Girl, had failed to run a place at his only two previous Tara Raceway starts but went into Friday’s race with wins over 600 metres at Angle Park in June, July and August.
Rupanyup trainer Kath Brooks brought up win number 16 for the year at Tara Raceway when Kracka Barcia was successful in the Gambier Vets Stake (512 m).
A give away greyhound after failing to measure up to city standard, the son of Barcia Bale x Imani Bale is raced by the Michael Blake-managed Krackatinnie Syndicate and is the first winner for the 10-member group.
Tony Hinrichsen took training honours for the day after Natural Fury opened his winning account at Tara Raceway in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m) while Spring Leesa gave the Monarto South trainer his 13th local winner this year when successful in The Border Watch Stake (400 m).
Billy Moran’s 1¾ length win – his fifth – in 30.34 seconds in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m) gave Ararat trainer Doug Hammerstein his first success at Tara Raceway.
By 37-race winner Al Moran out of Moonshine Whippy, Billy Moran was purchased as a pup by Hammerstein who described the black dog as “good little grade five dog”.
Earlier in the day, Hammerstein and his son Paul had combined to run second to Kracka Barcia with Jacobite Joseph who turned in a big effort at his first look at the track and looks a coming winner if connections opt to return to Tara Raceway.
And Koroit trainer Garry Anders ended a frustrating injury run with Billy Deeds when the son of Oaks Road x Mepunga Lana ran a best of day 23.14 seconds to win the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (400 m).
Billy Deeds returned to racing only last week after being sidelined for five months, Friday’s win his first this year after a promising start to his career in 2017 when he won four races at Geelong and Sandown Park.
The winner is a litter brother to Anders’s Wilbur Deeds who has won eight races and $34,000 in stakemoney.