A couple of 10-hour round trips from Tylden (over Kyneton way) to Mount Gambier for its race meetings last Thursday and Sunday made for a busy week for long-time greyhound trainer Dale Bunn.
“It was a case of being up at 3.30 in order to attend to the dogs that were staying home and then heading to Mount Gambier,” he said.
Bunn had last been at Tara Raceway back on April 13 when he had won for the first time at the track with Scarsdale Tiger. Also on that day he had litter brothers Calzaghe and Ramelius engaged in a maiden stake.
By city-winning stayer Taken King out of five-race winner Winlock Rapido, the pair finished second and third behind another first starter in Ever Hoping, at the time trained at Allendale East by David Peckham.
By the time Calzaghe returned for last Thursday’s time-graded meeting he had won a maiden over 450 metres at Ballarat back in June.
But Bunn, as had been the case back in April, left no stone unturned and recently made the trip over to trial Calzaghe prior to the second heat of the Cadillac Racing Fast Forward Mixed Series (400 m).
And it was Gypsy Tony who took up the early running before Calzaghe assumed control off the back and finished strongly for a 5½ length win in 23.53 seconds – ultimately the fastest of the three heats.
For Trevor Whitford, his first time at Tara Raceway was back in July. Then, at his fourth visit to the track – last Thursday – he struck it lucky with his first local winner, Mt. View Barkley, and followed up with a running double with giveaway greyhound Tenerife.
By Dyna Chancer out of Jacey Allen, he also bred Mt. View Barkley who settled in second spot in the Commercial Hotel Maiden Stake (305 m) before finishing over the top of Gregor The Brute for a length win in 18.25 seconds.
Giveaway greyhound Tenerife, a winner of one race prior to Whitford taking over the daughter of Smooth Fancy and Bago Gem, brought up her second win when quickly finding the front in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (305 m). She then finished strongly for a 3½ length win in 18.01 seconds.
Based at Willow Grove (situated in the vicinity of Moe), Whitford faces a 13-hour round trip every time he races at Mount Gambier.
According to the easy going trainer he was always destined to be involved in greyhound racing. “Both my grandfathers had been involved in the sport so I guess there was always a fair chance that I would end up with a greyhound.”
It was eight years ago, after quitting his job, that he became involved with greyhounds on a full-time basis.
“Together with my wife Sharlen we built a house on five acres and currently have about 40 greyhounds on the property – 10 of those awaiting breaking-in,” Whitford said.
He rates his best greyhound since being involved on a full-time basis as Mt. View Emma, a daughter of Bewildering and Greysynd Emma who won 11 races on Victorian tracks, including The Meadows, for $18,000 in prize money.
Meanwhile, last Thursday’s other two Fast Forward heats resulted in wins for Moe Them Down for Jason Newman of Moorak and Yadillah Son, trained at Portland by Robert Halliday.
By Orson Allen out of Wynburn Geri, the Mick McSorley owned Moe Them Down led all the way in the first heat – the Exchange Printers Fast Forward Mixed Series – eventually defeating Cawbourne Dior by three lengths in 23.77 seconds.
And in the third heat – the Produce Store Fast Forward Mixed Series – Yadillah Son finished over the top of early leader Aston Jerry for a neck win in 23.68 seconds.