Monday, November 12, 2018
Leading trainer Tracie Price, of Compton, will hold a strong hand in this Sunday’s 33rd Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 metres) after four of his greyhounds – Lika Missile, Sophie’s Moment, Shae’s Magic and Banjo Lass – qualified at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon for the time-honoured final.
But his headline act was definitely the two-year-old Lika Missile, a son of Nitro Burst and Oh Cee Ya, which makes him a full brother from a later mating to Smart Missile, a winner of 12 races from 26 starts and $64,000 in stakemoney.
Lika Missile, who resumed last week with a fast-finishing second to Cool Number over 400 metres after a two-month break, led all the way from box six in Sunday’s first of three heats, running out a 5½ length winner over Lady Pippa in 29.78 seconds, a time that ultimately would be the best of the day.
Sophie’s Moment won her first 512 metre race in five months when leading all the way from box two in the second heat, eventually holding out kennel newcomer Shae’s Magic who got a long way back early before powering home and going down by a neck in a smart 29.94 seconds.
Giving Price the trifecta was Banjo Lass, assured of a spot in the final after running a 3½ length third and clocking 30.17 seconds.
Sophie’s Moment’s win also gave Price his fourth winner on the day, Maunganui Magic scoring a big win over Luca Flyer in a personal best 23.11 seconds in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 m) while Swift Limes edged out Springvale Alysa to win by a nose in the Winningformula.net.au Mixed Stake (512 m) in 29.88 seconds.
However, shortly after the running of the second heat of the memorial at 3.18 p.m., a power outage in Mount Gambier saw the final heat – and last race of the day – in danger of not being run, stewards deciding that if power had not been restored by 4 p.m. then the meeting would be abandoned.
This would have meant a blind draw to determine the final spots for the memorial but fortunately the power was back before 4 p.m. – not by much, mind you – and Brinza, trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, finally had a change of luck when finishing strongly to defeat Lone Star by 1½ lengths in 30.36 seconds.
Price last won the Newman McDonnell Memorial eight years ago with Teddy La Plume who defeated the Cass Billington trained Lisa’s Rule and Good Luck Chuck in 30.64 seconds on September 5, 2010, Billington winning the memorial the following year with Going Home.
And Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield, successful on Sunday with an impressive Mulan in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), will also be chasing his second memorial, this time with Lone Star, after Glenville Jester won the event in 2016 in what was part of a barnstorming two months of racing – seven wins and two seconds – for the black dog.
Brinza was the second leg of a double for Halliday, his first since June 7 when Brinza and Sudden Call were successful, after Spirited Bingle, always on the pace, stormed home for an outstanding win over the ultra-consistent Ramified in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m) in a rarely-run 22.92 seconds.
Halliday picked up the beautifully bred daughter of Collision and Kokoda Spirit (a litter sister to Guru Doll, the dam of Brinza) back in March after an out of the blue call from Junortoun breeder Mark Morrissey to see if he was interested in training her – the only catch being that she had failing to chase convictions hanging over her head from Bendigo and Horsham.
But Halliday has now won eight races, including one at Angle Park, with the black bitch, the only downside being a dropped back muscle that saw her off the scene from the beginning of July to mid-September.
“Sandown Vet Clinic veterinarian Alistair Smith did a terrific job of getting her back on the track but Mark and I are now looking at breeding with her, Fabregas possibly the sire of choice,” he said.
Meanwhile, Greyhound of the Year leader Oh No Beta failed to add to his tally of 52 points when finishing fifth behind Spirited Bingle.
However, Paraphernalia edged to within a point when running third behind Swift Limes, staging a big effort after being last down the back straight before finishing strongly to go down by 2½ lengths.
And Swift Limes has issued a late challenge, moving into fourth spot on 47 points (eight wins, six seconds and three thirds) after Sunday’s meeting.