Monday, January 21, 2019
Portland greyhound Twisted Missile ran right up to her quick heat win of last week when successful in Sunday’s Val and Col Sims Memorial Maiden final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.
Having only her second race start, the Neville “Nifty” Lenehan trained daughter of Nitro Burst x Harper Seven burst out of box eight, cutting down sharply soon after and then chasing School Report into the back straight before taking over the running.
From then on the 24.9 kilogram black bitch never looked in any danger of defeat, eventually running out a 3¾ lengths winner in 30.50 seconds over School Report while Rooster and Oshkosh Nar both worked home well for third and fourth respectively.
It was an emotional weekend for the Sims family with the funeral of Ian, a son of Val and Col Sims and also a life member of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club Inc., having been conducted in Mount Gambier on the Saturday.
But on Sunday the family came together at the greyhound track like never before.
Handling the presentation was Kevin “KD” Douglas, who recalled a long-time association with Ian Sims while Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president John Woodland spoke on behalf of the club.
“We thank you for your attendance today during this difficult time and look forward to seeing you again next year – in happier circumstances – for the Sims Memorial Maiden,” he said.
And Sims Memorial co-ordinator, daughter Lorraine Webber, made the presentation to Twisted Missile’s handler Nicole Stanley who stood in for Lenehan, a name synonymous with greyhound racing in Western Victoria.
It was also an emotional day for the winner’s trainer. But Stanley, who won the memorial in 2016 with Rowchester Star and trained this year’s runner-up, did him proud in her acceptance speech.
For Lenehan, Sunday’s win was his second feature race success at Tara Raceway – King Obama successful in the Blue Lake 600, a middle-distance event that complemented the 2017 Mount Gambier Cup carnival.
On that occasion, King Obama, who gained a run in the final off the reserve bench, led all the way to defeat Jasmine Lilly by six lengths in 35.60 seconds.
Lenehan, who still has six unnamed littermates of Twisted Missile – whelped in November 2016 – to put through their paces, is undecided at this stage where Sunday’s front-running winner will head next.
“To be honest, I’m not really sure. We’re heading to The Meadows on Wednesday so I might even give her a trial there and see how she handles the track,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s Sims Memorial final has also thrown up a few contenders for next month’s Summer Classic, a Special Event run over 512 metres for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2017.
Second, third and fourth placegetters in the final – School Report, Rooster and Oshkosh Nar – all fit the bill from age point of view, as do other finalists Cleansing Ale, Candy Chimes and Bourne Thanks.
Heats of the Summer Classic will be run on Sunday, February 17 with the final the following Sunday.