Saturday, December 23, 2017
It took Edenhope greyhound Shaniqua a while to win her first race – 29 starts in fact.
However, the win did come in the Royal Fashion Maiden final (512 metres), a feature event sponsored for the past 10 years by Milla Laddrak who, as it turns out, lives “just down the road” from Shaniqua’s trainer Cap Abbott at a place called Ozenkadnook.
Actually, Abbott now has quite an affinity with the Royal Fashion Maiden, having won the race in 2009 with Mundarra Express and again in 2013 with Manila Express prior to Sunday’s success at the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s Christmas meeting at Tara Raceway.
Mundarra Express, a litter sister to Abbott’s former top bitch White Arrow, was by the imported sire Tinas Jo – Manila Express recently whelping a litter of two to the same sire.
Sunday’s feature races were kicked off by the Royal Fashion Maiden and while Shaniqua couldn’t match Kinnky McPhee’s pace down the back she railed through on the home turn to hold out the early leader and another Tracie Price trained runner in Shine On Shannah, scoring by a half length in 31.06 seconds.
As far as Abbott – who has trained Shaniqua for all but her first three starts – was concerned it was the end of a frustrating year for the daughter of Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze, the win coming after she had spent close to six months on the sidelines due to injury.
Raced by Shane Leach, the February 2015 black bitch is from a repeat mating that also includes Barry Bomber, a winner of 10 races and $26,000, and recent Tara Raceway winner Usain Insane while the first mating included 2016 Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year Old Jock.
And Sunday’s Royal Fashion Maiden win topped off a successful few days for the widely-travelled Abbott after Mo Town Roy’s 600 metre victory at Angle Park last Thursday night prior to Run Razor Run winning at Tara Raceway on Friday.
Penshurst owner-trainer John Cameron still remembers his first winner – it was Camo’s Dollars, successful on March 8, 2008 at Tara Raceway over 732 metres.
He’s been making the two-hour trip across to Mount Gambier on a regular basis ever since, going so far as to reckon that Tara Raceway is his home track.
Never frightened to purchase a young pup, rear it himself and then take his chances, Cameron’s decision four years ago to purchase a tiny black bitch by Hutmaker out of 24-race winner Spellbound has paid dividends and kept him interested over the past two years.
Racing as Fascinated, she won her maiden at Tara Raceway two years ago in a heat of the Royal Fashion Maiden before running third in the final behind Cairnlea Lewis.
At last year’s Christmas meeting, Cameron was back with Fascinated who ran second in the Rock’s Retreat Christmas Challenge (600 m) to Homer.
Now in the veteran class and with a Tara Raceway record of 43 starts for seven wins and 19 minor placings, Fascinated returned to the local track on Sunday for her third Christmas assault, this time taking on the Milla Laddrak-sponsored Fashion D’Or Ladies Bracelet for grade five bitches over 600 metres.
Quickly finding the front from box six, she could never really shake off Rising Girl who was still well and truly in touch at the home turn, even more so when Fascinated rolled out to give her the inside running.
But this was going to be Cameron’s day, his 25 kilogram bitch digging deep and holding on to win by a nose in what was a terrific race.
“Don’t ask me what sire I’m going to use, because I’ve got no idea, but I’m going to breed a litter with her so that I have my own pups,” the delighted owner-trainer, who won the 2012 Newman McDonnell Memorial with Camo’s Lucky, said after the race.
So, it was third time lucky for Fascinated at the Tara Raceway Christmas meeting. And another feature race win for John Cameron at his home track.