There’s no doubting that the transfer of a number of Victorian greyhounds to local trainers after border restrictions were implemented has assisted the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club as it strives to continue its weekly race meetings at Tara Raceway.
Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell was one of the first to put up his hand, liaising with Koroit owner-trainer-come educator Peter Byrne who sent over some of his “Saint” dogs to race at the Thursday afternoon fixtures.
That was back in April, with litter sisters Saint Tess and Saint Caitlin – by Mepunga Blazer x Saint Jane – both having now won three races. And prior to Thursday’s fixture, Saint Maddie had won five races at Tara Raceway.
The meeting was run in ordinary conditions although it has to be said greyhounds experienced few issues in handling the track. Still, Fennell’s Saint Sunshine was anything but the omen bet of the day when leading all the way in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (512 metres).
It was Saint Sunshine’s first local win, the daughter of Mepunga Blazer x Mepunga Kirsty defeating Compton Suzy by 3¾ lengths in 30.82 seconds, a time that held up pretty well given the conditions.
Fennell followed up with a race to race double, Saint Maddie taking the lead down the back in the Rock’s Tavern Mixed Stake (512 m) before engaging in a keen tussle with Top Right which ended in a neck win in 30.93 seconds.
A daughter of Peter Rocket and Miss Lava, Saint Maddie only recently returned to Glencoe after a short stint of racing in Victoria. Her win gave Fennell, involved in the sport since Tara Raceway opened on Lake Terrace East in 1997, his sixth double at the track this year.
Kevin Bewley of Lewiston, one of the travelling trainers who have got right behind the Mount Gambier club in these different times, was rewarded with a double when Lektra Style and Night Glow were successful.
Raced by Adelaide owner Clint Alleway, Lektra Style sat in third spot in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m) until the home turn where she railed through, finishing the better to defeat Connor’s Choice by a half length in 24.20 seconds.
By US sire KC And All, Lektra Style is out of the pint-sized Lektra Kelly who successfully raced between 22 kilograms and 24 kilograms and was no stranger to Tara Raceway.
Lektra Kelly won the Fireball 600 at the 2016 Mount Gambier Cup carnival, narrowly defeating Danyo’s Tom, trained by Lauren Harris who at the time was based at Callington.
These days training out of Finniss, a few kilometres down the road from Goolwa, Harris was a long way from home last night when her star chaser Shadow Mist went around in a semi-final of the Million Dollar Chase over 520 metres at Wentworth Park.
An all-the-way win from box six now sees the 36 kilograms son of Dyna Double One and Diva’s Shadow lining up from box one in next week’s final which carries a million dollars first prize. Nice work if you can get it.
But back to Mount Gambier. Bewley won the final race, the Swallow Drive Meats Mixed Stake (400 m), after Night Glow led all the way to defeat a fast-finishing Double Vision by a neck in 23.64 seconds.
The well-bred daughter of Barcia Bale x Full Noise Turbo boasts a good record at Tara Raceway having now won four races from six starts over the 400 metres journey for the Rob Brown-managed BG Punters Syndicate.
“The syndicate has a trotting background but is enjoying its involvement with greyhounds. Currently they are racing three dogs but are always on the lookout for another one,” Bewley said.
Meanwhile, local representatives Hot Sambuca and Dyna Carnie enjoyed little luck when finishing fourth and sixth respectively in the SA Country Cup final which was run at Angle Park last night in conjunction with the Adelaide Cup.