For Christine Yourgules of Mount Gambier it all started a couple of years ago with the adoption of a retired racing greyhound. Then came a period during which time she fostered five greyhounds in readiness for adoption.
And during the past 12 months she has served on the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club committee and helped out on race days with the boxing and catching of greyhounds.
Yourgules has also spent time out at David Peckham’s Allendale East Bourne Kennels, no doubt picking up valuable pointers along the way. In fact, she even purchased a pup from the leading Mount Gambier trainer.
By Worm Burner, who is siring plenty of winners, out of Peckham’s former 512 metres Tara Raceway track record holder Thanks Tubby, the brindle pup is called Tubby’s Me Mum and, according to her owner, not far away from racing.
It’s now a couple of months since Yourgules casually mentioned to leading SA trainer Tony Rasmussen, at the time regularly boosting numbers at Tara Raceway with large teams of greyhounds, that she wouldn’t mind training a greyhound of her own.
“I’ve got just the dog for you,” he said.
The dog in question was Billie Burner, another daughter of Worm Burner, out of Ulala Bale, a winner of five staying races at Angle Park when trained by Rasmussen.
“Billie Burner had won a couple of races over 400 metres at Gawler mid-year and at the time Tony had mentioned her to me she had just run two seconds at the same track. As she was a giveaway, I figured I didn’t have too much to lose,” Yourgules said.
Since taking over the brindle bitch in late October a couple of placings had resulted. But Yourgules had still been chasing her first win as a trainer when Billie Burner lined up in Thursday’s Williams Crane Hire Stake, a time-graded 1-4 wins event over 400 metres.
Slowly away from box four, she still had plenty to do mid-race. But once turning for home it was a case of finishing strongly along the rails and grabbing victory by a half head over Conductor with a further neck back to Wilshire Girl in 24.08 seconds.
“Gee, I reckon it’s a bit of alright,” said Yourgules, after striking a blow for the “back yard” trainer and being asked what it felt like to train her first winner.
Thursday was the first time-graded meeting to be run at Tara Raceway since March. These meetings are always well-supported by Victorian trainers and with border restrictions recently lifted they were back in force.
Among those to be welcomed back with open arms by the MGGRC was Killarney owner-trainer Raylene Gavin who provided the quinella in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 m) with giveaway greyhounds Danny Creek and Bourne Maximum.
Having his first start at the track, Danny Creek virtually led all the way when defeating Bourne Maximum, who worked home well, by 2¾ lengths in 24.14 seconds.
By Aston Dee Bee out of Katie’s Creek, the winner’s granddam is Skye Creek who produced a couple of pretty handy Tara Raceway performers in Zuma Creek and Bomber Creek.
Danny Creek won his maiden at Warrnambool in November, Gavin saying that she had previously trained a quinella but that it was a rare occurrence.