The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s Summer Classic (512 metres), first run back in 2015, generally attracts a handy line-up of youngsters. This year’s event for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2017 was no exception.
However, the headline act, even before the series kicked off a couple of weeks ago, was always going to be Galactic Athena, a solidly-built 31 kilogram daughter of Paddy Whacker and Galactic Rumball that had won her maiden at her first start the week prior in a quick 29.74 seconds.
And she didn’t disappoint – winning her heat by 8¼ lengths in 29.61 seconds – not bad for an 18-month-old pup!
The front-running Banjo Bad Boy didn’t disappoint either, winning his heat by 6¼ lengths in 30.10 seconds after displaying plenty of early pace from box six.
So the stage was set last Sunday for another intriguing Summer Classic final, Galactic Athena drawing box two, Banjo Bad Boy in box four and Rose Ali, slow early but sure to be storming home, jumping from the five.
It was tight early, but Banjo Bad Boy, a $21 chance, coming out of the first turn in front and from then on never headed, running out a 2¼ length winner over Rose Ali with a further 2¼ lengths back to the $1.40 favourite Galactic Athena in 30.13 seconds.
Handled by Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell, the winner is owned at Compton by Karen Price who only recently said the March 2017 white and black dog, after initially being a nightmare in the kennel, was finally starting to mature and racing accordingly.
By Banjo Boy, he is out of Banjo Bewdy, a three-state winner of 10 races and $50,000 in stakemoney that in January 2018 whelped her second litter – two dogs and 12 bitches by Collision.
The Noel Mugavin owned Rose Ali, a beautifully bred daughter of My Bro Fabio and Born Ali, made up a stack of ground, when giving trainer David Peckham of Allendale East his second Summer Classic runner-up after Blitz And Bolt’s second to Hutch in 2017.
The locally bred, owned and trained Galactic Athena lost no friends with her gallant third, Moorak owner Robert Chuck and trainer Steve Bartholomew of Worrolong now looking to test the waters with her at Murray Bridge in a grade six event over 455 metres on Sunday night.
And Banjo Bad Boy and Rose Ali will clash again at Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting when they jump from boxes three and seven respectively in the JB Irrigation Stake (512 m), the second heat of a grade five series.
Meanwhile, in the following race last Sunday, the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), the Fennell-trained Little Lina, at start number 50, defied the opposition to run her down, holding out Kantilla to win by a head in 30.76 seconds.
While this was Little Lina’s second win, it was actually the first time the black bitch had crossed the line in first place, her maiden win coming after she had finished in second place but later awarded the race when the winner had been disqualified.
The winner is owned by 18-year-old Mo Canala who received the daughter of Fabregas x Guru Doll as a 16th birthday present from Cape Bridgewater owner-trainer Scott Blacksell who races the litter sister Rusty Sprocket.
Penola owner-trainer Damien Smith received a quick return on his investment when Trammel led all the way to win the Metal Worx Maiden Stake (400 m) last Sunday from Targeted Missile and School Report in 23.58 seconds.
By Magic Sprite out of Wentworth Park winner Pearl Irene, Trammel was purchased from Young in NSW by Smith after being advertised on Greyhound-Data for $1000.
“He’d run a couple of placings on tracks up that way so I actually purchased him with the intention of racing him at the time-graded meetings so it was a bit of a bonus when he was able to win at a Sunday meeting,” he said.
And Nicole Stanley’s double with Zambora Club in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 m) and No Song in the Produce Store Stake (512 m) wrapped up a successful few days for the Portland trainer after Dyna Quota had picked $3020 when winning over the 650 metre journey at Warrnambool on the Thursday night prior.