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The drought breaks for “Smiley”
Monday, October 24, 2016
It’s been 16 months since Brian “Smiley” Gordon last saw one of his greyhounds cross the line in first place.
That was on June 14, 2015 when Sweeney Miss was successful in a 400 metre maiden at Tara Raceway for the hobby trainer from Millicent who races the fawn bitch in partnership with former horse trainer Gavin Watts.
As it turned out, that win had broken an 18 month drought for Gordon whose previous winner had been with Bruised Banana at Tara Raceway.
On Sunday afternoon, Sweeney Miss lined up in box two in the Gordon Refrigeration Final – a 400 metre Pathway final for greyhounds that had been running outside a specified time standard.
The sizeable 31½ kilogram bitch had shown her first glimpse of form in six months at the previous meeting when qualifying for the final with a splendid second behind Podium Bound although Gordon believed they would probably go too quick for her in the short-course final.
Not so, though. Sweeney Miss actually found the front early before veteran chaser Peter Benz took over the running and down the back looked a chance of giving Tarpeena trainer David Williams a double after Lektra Ash had been successful earlier in the day.
Chasing Peter Benz until off the back, she took advantage of him shifting out and worked home solidly along the rails for a two length win in 23.66 seconds – a time that will now see Sweeney Miss out of the Pathway class for at least her next four starts.
Strictly speaking, it’s been 12 months, not 16 months, since Sweeney Miss won her last race. That was on October 4, 2015 when she ran second to Banger Regis but was later elevated to first spot when the winner was disqualified.
According to Gordon, that’s not the same as going over the line in first place.
Whelped in March 2013 and by El Grand Senor x Ren Shen, Sweeney Miss is Watts’ first involvement in greyhound racing.
He trained Royal Blevic to win the 2008 Mount Gambier Gold Cup at Glenburnie but has enjoyed his switch to the longtails and a day at the dogs.
And one could be excused for thinking Brian Gordon had won a Mount Gambier Cup and not a non-penalty Pathway on Sunday afternoon such was his enjoyment with the win.
For sure, they don’t call him Smiley for nothing.
ANOTHER TREBLE FOR STANLEY
Portland trainer Nicole Stanley landed her second treble this month when Amazing Gumball, Fiorelli Rose and Berry Bling were successful on Sunday and took her number of Tara Raceway wins this year to 56.
On October 2 Stanley had been successful with Rowchester Star, Berry Bling and Mr Caudo at Tara Raceway.
Stanley now looks set to play a strong hand in the forthcoming SA Country Cup heats with Fiorelli Rose finding winning form at the right time after three months without a win and Berry Bling winning her second race this month.
Away well from box three in the Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (512 m), Fiorelli Rose opened up a big break mid-race before defeating an improved Supreme Deal by three lengths in 30.28 seconds.
By Premier Fantasy out of Sandown Park winner Tarks Jewel, Fiorelli Rose has now won five races at Tara Raceway over 512 metres since joining Stanley’s kennels in late May.
Berry Bling, an excellent 2¼ length third behind Gawler Cup aspirant Galactic Viper and Cryer’s Fred at the previous meeting, ran right up to that form in The Border Watch Mixed Stake (512 m).
Away fairly from box seven, the daughter of Lochinvar Marlow x Lady Bling was in a forward spot going out of the first turn before taking the lead going into the back straight.
It was left to Cryer’s Fred to do the chasing but Berry Bling always looked to be travelling like a winner, eventually crossing the line with a length to spare in a best of day 30.11 seconds.
Amazing Gumball, a February 2015 son of Cosmic Chief and Our Vera, could develop into a Summer Classic hope judging by his impressive Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m) win.
Having only his second race start, the black dog quickly rounded up first starter Judge Jed before finishing the race off strongly to defeat the early leader by 5½ lengths in 23.67 seconds.
Amazing Gumball is a half-brother to Rowchester King (by Premier Fantasy) which won 13 races in a 67-start career for Stanley.