With only a length separating Sunday’s three Summer Classic heat winners at Tara Raceway, this Sunday’s final over 512 metres looks set to be one of the best in the age-restricted race’s seven-year history.
Setting the time standard, albeit narrowly, was Justice For All who shrugged off Aston Olenna going around the first turn in heat one before running out a 1½ lengths winner over Boombox Hammer in 29.79 seconds. A further 5½ lengths back in third spot and also into the final was George The First.
Giving away nothing in age, Justice For All is a January 2019 son of Aston Dee Bee out of Molly Be Nimble and is owned and trained at Meningie by Tim Richards.
The win was his third in the space of a few days at Mount Gambier after Molly’s Burner (an older half-sister to Justice For All) and Contrail had been successful at the Thursday meeting.
Later, on Sunday, Richards made it another double when Tara Raceway 400 metres record holder Almighty Stripe (a litter brother to Contrail) defeated Aston Hayato by 4¾ lengths in a quick 22.89 seconds.
Bred by Richards, Justice For All’s heat win in the classic for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2019, took his race record to eight wins from 19 starts.
First starter Boombox Hammer, a May 2019 whelping, gained a run as a reserve from box five and ran a terrific race when chasing Justice For All for much of the journey. In the end he clocked 29.90 seconds himself to give Compton trainer Tracie Price the first of two finalists.
Boombox Hammer, a son of Fernando Bale x Cairnlea Shadow, was actually reared by Price but was returned to the South-East by Adelaide owner Petar Jovanovic only a fortnight ago with the classic in mind. According to the trainer, it was a case of one trial and straight in.
Collateral found the front going out of the first turn in the second heat and from then on was never headed. On the line he had 1¾ lengths to spare over Crush Your Enemy with a further head back to Stella Warning in a time of 29.80 seconds.
Whelped in February 2019, Collateral is by Aussie Infrared out of Velocity Rose and trained for Steve Williams of Velocity Lodge by Price. In fact, the current leading Tara Raceway trainer will be the only local represented in the final.
The black dog went into the race from box one on the back of two quick 400 metres wins.
“I trialled him over 512 metres prior to the classic and said to Steve that I reckoned he had gone well enough to have a go. So he said put him in,” Price said.
Williams, who is based in Queensland, has in his care approximately 180 greyhounds, ranging from racing dogs to brood bitches, stud dogs, pups and retired racers.
He said Collateral had broken-in well in NSW but appeared to taper off prior to racing and as a result was sent to Adelaide where he won on debut at Gawler before later finding his way down to the Price kennels.
“This is turning out to be a nice little litter,” Williams said. “Patched won at Capalaba the same day as Collateral while Velocity Comet won a Juvenile at Angle Park last night.”
Their dam, Velocity Rose, was bred in SA and is a litter sister to Jury, a winner of 14 races and $305,000 in stakemoney.
Two-race winner Crush Your Enemy, a litter brother to Justice For All, ran a big race to give Richards his second runner in the classic final. With a personal time of 29.92 seconds, it’s perhaps a little surprising that his last win was in August last year.
Under Study, trained by Don Turner and owned by his wife Gail, found the front down the back in heat three before racing away to an eight lengths win over Don’t Forget Kev in 29.87 seconds.
Whelped in January 2019, Under Study is a daughter of Allen Deed x Roxy Rolla. Turner, who was the third trainer to end the day with two Summer Classic finalists, said litter sister Stella Warning was the pick of the pair.
On track with him was Wayne Verrall who picked up Roxy Rolla back in mid-2016 from NSW. She later ran fourth in a heat of the 2017 Summer Classic after having won a grade six final at Tara Raceway leading into the classic.
Under Study, who was bred by her trainer, was the second leg of a double for Turner who earlier in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) had been successful with All Show – his first local winner since Samprass in December 2018.
Purchased last October by Turner from Victoria for an “average” price, All Show has now won a further seven races. But, according to the trainer, the experience with the son of Barcia Bale x Blue Benzol has had its moments.
“When he came over there had been a couple of failing to chase convictions hanging over his head. And then he copped a marring suspension at Angle Park earlier in the year. To be honest, I just hold my breath every time he goes around.”
But there were no breathless moments on Sunday. All Show railed through on the heavily backed leader Tiger Time down the back before running out a two lengths winner over a strong finishing Slick Fernando in 29.86 seconds.
Turner said he would now look seriously at the Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) – to be run in early April – with All Show, a quick 30.68 seconds winner over 531 metres at Gawler in December.
The Lewiston trainer owned the 2013 Mount Gambier Cup winner Colville who was trained locally by Allen Williams.