MOUNT GAMBIER Greyhound Racing Club president Noel Perry’s address to participants at last week’s Tara Raceway meeting in regard to Apsley trainer Tom Cryer came after his wife, Margaret, had recently made contact with the club.
Her call had been to relay the message that her husband, now well into his eighties, had been placed in aged care. And also to sincerely thank fellow participants for their help and support on race days, particularly in recent times.
And while the call came as no real surprise, it wasn’t all that long ago that he trained his last winner at Tara Raceway – on March 22 – with Cryer’s Spring, purchased as a pup from Compton breeder Tracie Price.
Tom Cryer had been involved in the sport for more than 50 years but the past six years or so had been a real rollercoaster ride for the couple after greyhound racing underwent considerable change in Mount Gambier.
Back in 2012, with the club preparing to run TAB meetings on a weekly basis, Cryer figured the time was probably right to breed another litter.
He reckoned he had the right brood bitch, the appropriately named Cryer’s Midget who had cost $500 as a pint-sized pup and in 2011 won the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year award.
As a sire of choice Cryer settled on Spring Gun, a relative newcomer to the stud dog ranks but one that had already shown plenty of promise as a producer after having won 18 races from 27 starts.
Three brindle dogs, whelped in February 2013, and later to be named Cryer’s Fred, Cryer’s Ricky and Cryer’s Jack, duly found their way to the track – collectively going around 297 times for 78 wins.
Later, Cryer’s Midget was again mated with Spring Gun, subsequent January 2015 whelpings Cryer’s Bob, Cryer’s Jed, Cryer’s Plugger and Cryer’s Sid racing on 400 occasions for 71 wins.
A service to the Group 1-winning Spud Regis, picked up by Cryer’s Ricky after winning the 2015 Summer Classic, was used for Cryer’s Midget’s third and final litter which included 22-race winner Cryer’s Harper.
Mount Gambier had become the Cryers’ home track, the couple regularly stopping for breakfast at Penola on a Sunday morning as they made the weekly 110 kilometres trip to Tara Raceway.
But for them, after the SA-Victoria border closed, somehow greyhound racing just wasn’t the same anymore.
And when Sunday afternoon racing does finally return to Mount Gambier, things won’t be the same either. Missing will be the feisty Tom Cryer, his lovely wife Margaret and the “Cryer” greyhounds – all previously an integral part of racing at Tara Raceway.
MEANWHILE, leading Tara Raceway trainer David Peckham of Allendale East looks to hold a strong hand at Thursday’s nine-race meeting which includes barbecue and bar facilities but no on-course TAB.
Much interest will centre on his Bourne Kennels Mount Gambier Cup contenders when they go around for a final time in readiness for the cup heats on Sunday week (August 23).
Still looking to emulate his father, Allen, who won the event in 1994 with Argyle Sally, Peckham’s cup hopefuls include Zipping Dodge, Dyna Virion, Silent Jacko, Dyna Carnie and Sweet On Me.
Kennel newcomer Zipping Dodge, who impressed on debut last week with a best of day 29.83 seconds win in a heat of the grade 5/6 series (512 m), has drawn box five in the final.
A winner of 17 races, the son of Barcia Bale and Tricky Rose boasts a strong pedigree, tracing back to Al Fresco, the dam of Mantra Miss, a former Tara Raceway 512 metres and 732 metres track record holder.
After a stint in Adelaide where she won nine races, Sweet On Me returns to Tara Raceway for the first time since February when she defeated Bay Me in the Summer Classic.
She’ll jump from box six in the Greyhound-Data.com Mixed Stake (512 m) and clash with Silent Jacko and Dyna Carnie who finished second and fourth respectively behind Galactic Athena in last week’s Tara Trackstar.
And Dyna Virion, the big boy of local greyhound racing, impressed last month at his first run for Peckham with a dashing display when defeating Jervois Boy in a best of day 29.67 seconds (512 m).
Weighing in at around the 40 kilograms mark, the dark brindle dog has drawn box three and looks well placed in the Gordon Refrigeration Mixed Stake (512 m).