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Stunning season-opener for Stanley
Monday, January 2, 2017
Portland trainer Nicole Stanley kicked off Tara Raceway’s new season in stunning fashion on Sunday with five winners on the 12-race card.
Standing in for Stanley, unable to attend the meeting due to work commitments, was Scott Blacksell who strung together an early running treble with Evening In Paris, Travel Ticket and Stylish Pursuit before rounding off a memorable day with a running double from Fiorelli Rose and Old Jock.
Evening In Paris, out of the winner’s list since August, appreciated the drop back to the Masters class for older greyhounds when leading all the way in the ClassicBet Stake (400 metres).
The rising four-year-old daughter of Collision and 20-race winner Sassy Sprite was having her 88th start for her 13th win when holding out Dark Nemesis and Pocket Kings to win by a length in 23.65 seconds.
Travel Ticket, who had been struggling for several months to find winning form, maintained his Pathway status with a 2½ length win over Galactic Fox in a time of 23.70 seconds for the 400 metre journey.
The 36 kilogram fawn son of Where’s Pedro found the front from box five after a brief tussle with Galactic Fox, then just managed to stay outside the Pathway time standard of 23.69 seconds.
The Trackside Meats Stake, the first of the 0-4 wins special events to be run for 600 metre greyhounds, attracted a handy field of middle-distance chasers.
Stylish Pursuit, after a quick 600 metre win over Another Mai in 35.35 seconds at the final meeting of 2016, did look the one to beat although Penny Eagle was expected to throw out some sort of challenge on the strength of two recent fast-finishing seconds over 512 metres.
That’s the way the race panned out with the pair matching motors early before Stylish Pursuit found the front but was unable to really shake off Penny Eagle who came again in the home straight to go down by only a neck in 35.70 seconds.
Stylish Pursuit is owned in Victoria by Nic Beltran who also bred the daughter of Mogambo and 715 metre Sandown Park winner Butterfly Bling.
Beltran also races littermate Elusive Jewel who has won four races from 14 starts in Victoria, including running a 29.41 seconds over 515 metres at Sandown Park and 29.92 seconds for the 525 metre journey at The Meadows.
And earlier in the day, another Beltran-owned littermate in Flying Flutter, trained at Compton by Tracie Price, created a huge impression when winning the Laser Electrical Open Maiden final (512 metres).
The black bitch went straight to the front from box three, opening right up down the back before powering home for a 10½ length win over Gee She Roks in 30.03 seconds – and they didn’t run any quicker than that all day.
But back to Stanley and her winning day.
Fiorelli Rose, looking to make amends for a narrow second at Warrnambool last week, did well to find the fence down the back after jumping from box eight in the Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (512 m).
The daughter of Premier Fantasy x Tarks Jewel then railed through on the front-running Slipper’s Shadow to ultimately score a 2½ length win over the consistent Bushman’s Faith in 30.37 seconds.
After a wonderful 2016, which saw him win the Greyhound of the Year, Old Jock was lining up for start number 100 when taking on a pretty fair field in the Produce Store Free For All (512 m) from box one.
Stanley’s fifth winner never looked in doubt. The four-year-old veteran son of Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze went straight to the front, eventually running out a 2½ length winner over Glenville Jester in 30.17 seconds.
Her great start to the season follows on from her best year ever in 2016 when she trained 66 winners at Tara Raceway to finish second behind Tracie Price on 78.
Needless to say, Sunday was her most successful day on a race track with a treble being her previous best – the most recent being back in October with Berry Bling, Rowchester Star and Mr Caudo.
Others to have trained five winners at Tara Raceway in recent times include David Peckham, Tracie Price and Jeff Guy.
MAKING THE MOST OF HER OPPORTUNITIES
Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott reckoned he was a fair chance of being in the money with Irka Jakit in the Allestree Holiday Units Stake (512 m) – not a bad call considering, due to a variety of reasons, only four runners took their place in the grade six field.
But Irka Jakit, who gained a run as a reserve, ended up grabbing the major share of the prize when leading all the way to defeat Left Moment by 9¼ lengths in a personal best 30.29 seconds.
By Fabregas out of Another Request, a middle-distance winner at Sandown Park and Albion Park, Irka Jakit appreciated her return to Tara Raceway after a torrid time at Angle Park where she had found trouble at her past three starts.
The win completed a couple of good days for Abbott who last Friday had been successful with Mo Town Roy at Strathalbyn in the Christmas/New Year Cup (536 m).
Third approaching the home turn, Mo Town Roy gained a rails run to finish strongly to defeat Fayette by a length in 31.85 seconds.
The win followed a recent win at Angle Park over 600 metres with Abbott now likely to tackle a distance event at The Meadows on Saturday night with the son of Razldazl Jayfkay x New Year’s Punch.