Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Spicing things up at Tara Raceway

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

It was back in September 1977 that high profile greyhound dam Dark Debutante whelped a litter of two fawn bitch pups to the legendary sire Temlee.

One of those pups would later be named Val Matese and prove to be the foundation of an incredibly successful line for Kevin Mugavin and later Kevin Mugavin jnr of Killarney.

Part-owner Tim Manterfield with Azumi Spice after her impressive 512 metre win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Winners still continue to be spread far and wide, including Tara Raceway where Mugavin won the 2006 Mount Gambier Cup with Poetic Magic (winner of the 2005 Maturity) and six years later with Rich Shiraz.

And at the local track last Sunday a couple of Val Matese descendants – litter sisters Azumi Touch and Galactic Rumball – produced the impressive winners Azumi Spice and Galactic Panther.

On an ordinary day, weather-wise, and on a track that had copped plenty of rain, Azumi Spice went into the Trackside Meats Stake (512 metres) still yet to win over the distance from 15 starts but well boxed in the eight.

By Cosmic Chief, the 28 kilogram black bitch was away quickly, found the front going out of the first turn and then held out a pretty handy type in Gateway To Eden to win by 1¾ lengths in a best of day 30.11 seconds.

Azumi Spice is trained at Worrolong by Steve Bartholomew who races her in partnership with his wife Lee, daughter Elysia and her partner Tim Manterfield, the Tara Raceway track man.

According to connections, the forthcoming SA Country Cup is now an option for Azumi Spice and probably her litter sister and kennelmate Azumi Swift, a quick 29.84 seconds 512 metre winner at Tara Raceway last month.

One-off heats of the Mount Gambier division of the Country Cup will be run over 512 metres on Sunday, October 1 with two runners joining representatives from Gawler, Strathalbyn and Port Augusta in the 515 metre final at Angle Park on Adelaide Cup final night (Friday, October 13).

Galactic Panther, winner of the maiden 400 metre final, with owner-trainer Robert Chuck.

Earlier in the day, Galactic Panther, a son of Milldean Panther, created a fair sort of impression when winning the Gambier Vets Stake, a maiden final run over 400 metres.

Having only his second start after winning a maiden heat the week prior, the January 2016 whelping was only fairly away from box three but railed through on Jan’s Star and Which Moment down the back straight, before powering away to a 5¾ length win in 23.44 seconds.

“This is a good dog,” called Ray Fewings, well-versed in all things greyhound racing.

And the Sky race caller could well be right with Moorak breeder-owner-trainer Robert Chuck continuing to reap the rewards through a well-planned breeding programme which also includes a soon-to-be whelped second litter out of Galactic Rumball (by Paddy Whacker).

Incidentally, that other fawn bitch whelped all those years ago, was called Soextra who when mated to Dusty Progress produced Extra Progress.

Extra Progress was the start of a long line of outstanding success which still continues today for the Sinnott family – Solitary Lad and Lone Star, who ran the quinella in last month’s John Reid Memorial, being part of that success.



Charlton trainer Kevin Ashton is keen to have a crack at this year’s Metal Worx Iron three distance series at Tara Raceway with Cullquin Nikki.

Jan Neil and Kevin Ashton with Cullquin Nikki who is likely to line up in next month’s Iron Dog series at Tara Raceway.

This follows the brindle bitch’s big effort in last Sunday’s Gordon Refrigeration Mixed Stake (512 m) when she chased Galactic Viper for much of the journey before grabbing him in the shadows of the post for a neck win in 30.18 seconds.

The win was Cullquin Nikki’s fifth since Ashton took her over in February for Rushworth owners Peter Cullie and Shara Quinlan after they had been unable to place her as a give away.

By Nolen out of Shiraz Monelli, she’s a granddaughter of Joanne Monelli, a winner of 30 races and more than $187,000 in stakemoney.

The Iron Dog will kick off on Sunday, September 10 with a 600 metre round, followed by round two over 400 metres, with the leading eight pointscorers then contesting the 512 metre final on Sunday, September 24.

Cullquin Nikki should be suited by the format, having also won over 400 metres at Tara Raceway and placed over 600 metres.

Later, last Sunday, litter brother Cullquin Frank, trained by Quinlan, was beaten less than a length at Sandown Park (515 m). Brother and sister are now set to clash at Horsham on Saturday over 485 metres.

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