Thursday, February 23, 2017
Lewiston-based trainer Robyn Mackellar will be hoping for a case of third time lucky when her star bitch Fabregal contests this year’s $10,000 ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres), heats of which will be run at Tara Raceway on Sunday.
From a greyhound racing point of view a fair bit has happened for Mackellar in the three years since she was at Tara Raceway and Dee Dee Corsair led the cup field down the back straight before running a gallant second to Veetee Express in a near race record 29.82 seconds.
She returned again the following year with another strong team, reaching the final with Barnes Bay and Lobo Loco who finished third and fourth respectively behind Lots Of Yap.
With a record of 56 starts for 32 wins and 18 minor placings and $150,000 in prizemoney, Fabregal will jump from box eight in the final heat as one of the best credentialled greyhounds to contest the Mount Gambier Cup since Banger Harvey was successful in 2011 for Robert Britton.
Owned by Terry McCallum of Tumby Bay, Fabregal is by Fabregas out of Allinga Aye Jay, a winner of only one race at Strathalbyn but boasting a superb pedigree and a pretty handy half-brother in Worm Burner.
Allinga Aye Jay was trained at Langhorne Creek by Yvonne King who also will be at Tara Raceway on Sunday for the cup with Harry Aztec who won the Eric Lewis Memorial (600 m) at Tara Raceway in 2015 when trained by Kevin Ashton.
The well-travelled Fabregal – she won the Queensland Futurity and was placed in the WA Oaks – will be having her first look at Tara Raceway, an unforgiving track at the best of times for newcomers.
And with record cup nominations, which necessitated eight heats, there’s no margin for error with only the winners advancing to Sunday week’s final while the “near-misses” will contest a $2000 consolation.
Leading local trainer Nicole Stanley, who reached last year’s final with Old Jock but is yet to win a Mount Gambier Cup, will be looking to upstage Fabregal with box three runner Hit The Runway, unraced on the track but reported to have recently trialled well there.
By Oaks Road x Full Noise Turbo, the January 2015 brindle dog ran a sparkling 29.49 seconds over 515 metres at Sandown Park in December and a repeat of that effort would put him right in the mix.
Moyston trainer Peter Franklin will return with Mojito Mayhem in a bid to claim consecutive Mount Gambier Cups – something that has never been achieved in the 36 years that the cup has been run.
Mojito Mayhem last raced in December when fourth in the Christmas Cup final at Tara Raceway but if he can recapture the form that saw him brilliantly win a heat of that event then he should be more than competitive from box three.
Lining up in the same race from box two is Nussin Much, a lightly-raced son of Kinloch Brae and Goldie Bale and trained at Cooke Plains by Paul Barry who 16 years ago won the Mount Gambier Cup with Explosive Doll in a then race record time of 30.24 seconds.
There’ll be plenty of interest in heat five of the cup with the Robert Halliday owned and trained youngster Hutch lining up from box one and facing a fair rise in class.
Whelped in April 2015, the son of Premier Fantasy x Cairnlea Elle was an impressive heat and final winner of the recent General Destini Summer Classic (512 m) but runs into Jeff Guy’s Tara Raceway 600 metre record holder Paraphernalia in box two.
Adding further interest to the heat is box eight runner Ruff State who has won 26 races and $47,000 in prizemoney for Lewiston trainer Ken Gill – no stranger to Tara Raceway at cup time.