Mortlake greyhound trainer Peter Crawley and his Heywood-based brother-in-law Ken Creece – Sunday regulars at Tara Raceway – could probably be described as the “odd couple”.
And it appears to be a case of the flamboyant Creece at times going out of his way in an attempt to steer his mild-mannered brother-in-law in the right direction as far as his greyhounds are concerned.
However, it has to be said Creece did enjoy his fair share of success on Victorian tracks back in the 1990s, especially with a couple of greyhounds called Blitzem Bootsy and Iceni Brave.
Blitzem Bootsy, a son of Pop Gun and Leggy Waitress, was a winner of 25 races while his younger half-brother Iceni Brave (by Eaglehawk Star) was a 34-race winner.
“These days, I like to think of myself as Peter’s manager,” Creece joked. “But, to be honest, most of the time he takes absolutely no notice of me.”
Currently, Crawley is training several greyhounds for Queenslander Steve Williams, one of Australia’s most prolific owners.
One of the more successful dogs has been Pursuit, the son of Catch The Thief x Velocity Anifrid back last Sunday for heats of the inaugural Cadillac Racing Cannonball. This is a 305 metre series that is being sponsored by Captain Abbott and Kerry Hawker of Edenhope.
Pursuit lined up from box seven in the first of two heats on the back of a 17.39 seconds win last month – that time faster than any of the other Cannonball contenders.
And the fawn dog led all the way, eventually running out a three length winner over Two Fifty Three with a further 2¼ lengths back to Texas Alexis in a smart time of 17.47 seconds. Also through to the final was Federal Flash.
Crawley has now chalked up 17 wins this year at Tara Raceway. And the brothers-in-law will be hoping Pursuit can make it 18 with a win in the Cannonball.
In the second heat, Bad Move, a daughter of Shima Shine and Slinky Inky, resumed after a five-week break for Compton trainer Tracie Price – already represented in the final with Texas Alexis – and owner Nick Lalli.
Bad Move was always going to be hard to beat after finding a forward spot early before finishing strongly for a 1¼ length win over Fend Them Off in 17.56 seconds. Buster Banjo’s third placing gave Price three finalists while early leader All Damiro also made it through.
The Cadillac Racing Cannonball is the first Open series to be run at Tara Raceway over 305 metres. Previously, only Maidens, Juveniles and Masters events had been conducted.
Meanwhile, long-time racegoers at last Sunday’s meeting were struggling to remember the last time an eight-dog race over 732 metres had been had been run at Tara Raceway.
In a bid to promote distance racing, Greyhound Racing SA (GRSA) had been prepared to frame four-dog races at Angle Park and Mount Gambier. And this was acceptable provided there were no scratchings. But two-dog races had become a worry.
Leading the capacity field around to the Progreyhoundtips.com Stake 732 metre start were handler Jarrad Williams and Redshift Uniform, the daughter of Barcia Bale and Taylor Made Star chasing her fourth consecutive win over the distance. A great start to the Cadillac Racing Cannonball heats day.
And Redshift Uniform settled in second spot behind the tearaway leader Ebby Justice before taking up the running off the back. On the line she had 6¼ lengths to spare over Zipping Jazz with a further 1¼ lengths back to Send It Blue in 43.60 seconds.
Cadillac Racing sponsors Hawker and Abbott also came out winners on the day with Cadillac Lloyd in the Hyland Fox Stake (400 m) and Top Cadillac a terrific winner of the Exchange Printers Mixed Stake (512 m).
Cadillac Lloyd, a son of Fernando Bale and Pamela Rocks, currently this year’s leading local dam, was always on the pace from box two before finishing strongly when defeating Compton Lass by 2½ lengths in 23.29 seconds.
Top Cadillac, a 21-month-old son of Feral Franky and Establish, chased kennelmate Nero Valentino until the home turn before finishing strongly for a 2¼ length win over Four Longnecks and the early leader in 29.64 seconds.
The win was the black dog’s sixth from 10 starts, with Abbott now setting his sights on a city start with the half-brother to former champion stayer Sir Truculent.
“I know he’s still very young but I’m now seriously looking at trialling him at either The Meadows or Sandown Park. And subject to how he trials I will then weigh up my options with him,” he said.