Thursday, August 2, 2018
Even though Horsham greyhound trainer John Weir-Smith has been involved in the sport for more than 50 years it wasn’t until last Sunday that he finally lined up with his first Tara Raceway runner – El Grand Richo.
And even then, it’s probably fair to say the only reason Weir-Smith opted for a run in Mount Gambier was because Clint Jonasson, based down the road at Warracknabeal, had nominated Rogue One so he decided to join him in the trip over.
As it turned out, Rogue One finished unplaced in the JB Irrigation Maiden Stake (400 metres) while El Grand Richo, after settling in second spot, ran out a length winner over a fast-finishing Brinza in The Border Watch Stake (400 m).
Weir-Smith must have wondered why it had taken him so long to finally make the 2½-hour trip.
By El Grand Senor out of Sandown Park and The Meadows winner Miss Ronny, El Grand Richo is raced by the Richo Syndicate which is managed by the winner’s breeder, James Dickson of Mount Eliza.
She’s now won five races, two of those since joining the “Lucky Kennels” of Weir-Smith, who is the fifth trainer for the black bitch which has also won in Hobart and Horsham.
Between 2010 and 2012 Weir-Smith put the polish on Jonasson’s smart chaser Kynan’s Express, who raced on 74 occasions for 24 wins, 21 minor placings and more than $67,000 in stakemoney.
In fact, prior to an injury sustained in February 2011, Kynan’s Express had raced 48 times for 22 wins – which included the Bendigo Young Star Classic and breaking the Shepparton 390 metre track record – and 13 minor placings.
These days, things are considerably less hectic, Weir-Smith, ably assisted by his wife Miriam, content with training a small team and certainly deriving plenty of pleasure from his first winner at Tara Raceway.