Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Even though Horsham greyhound Smart Maxwell’s last win had been in a Veterans event over 410 metres at his home track last September, trainer Helen Hartigan wasn’t looking for a similar type of event for her November 2011 black dog at Tara Raceway last Friday.
As it turned out, there had been a veterans’ race in the form of a Masters Stake (400 metres) on the 12-race card and Smart Maxwell, at five years and three months of age, certainly wouldn’t have had any trouble gaining a start.
But Hartigan was back for a crack at another feature grade five after Smart Maxwell at his previous visit to Tara Raceway last November had run a close third to Glenville Jester in the Newman McDonnell Memorial final (512 m).
Lining up from box four in the last of four heats of the Metal Worx Feature Grade Five (512 m) on Friday, he found the front going into the back straight before running away to a comfortable four length win over fellow qualifier Lektra Munster in 30.43 seconds.
A son of Mogambo x Off Springer, the winner is raced by his breeder Len Jones, of Woodend, who was at Horsham for its cup meeting back in mid-2015 with Smart Maxwell and his litter brother Echelonic Action.
But when the pair failed to make the Horsham Cup final, Jones opted for the brothers to see out their racing careers with Hartigan and her husband Bill.
And some 18 months later, Smart Maxwell is still going strong – his success last Friday making him the oldest Tara Raceway winner since Malcolm Davis’s Hot Genetics in a Masters in August last year.
He’s now won 22 races and accumulated 45 minor placings from 149 starts for stakemoney close to $80,000 with Helen Hartigan, his fifth trainer, having won seven of those races.
Echelonic Action has been as equally durable – 145 starts for 16 wins, 46 minor placings and $91,000 in stakemoney – with a couple of smart 27.08 seconds and 27.15 seconds 480 metre Horsham wins coming since joining the Hartigan kennels.
The brothers are members of an outstanding litter which also includes Go Mobo, a winner of $98,000, Mechatronic ($50,000) and Sweet It Is ($945,000 – and that’s no misprint).
Master Tron continued his outstanding form at Tara Raceway when winning the second heat in a best of day time of 30.18 seconds and took his local record to three wins from four starts.
The son of Dyna Tron x Katie Racoon chased Crackerjack Pete until the home turn before taking over the running and holding out the under-rated Lyon Rose to score by 1¼ lengths with the early leader running an improved race to finish a further three-quarters of a length back in third spot.
Raced by Amanda Darmanin and Ralph Patzel, and trained by the latter in Mount Gambier, Master Tron was having his first Tara Raceway start over 512 metres although this was never really going to be an issue as the widely-travelled greyhound had previously won over 600 metres at The Meadows.
A winner of 11 races, along with 16 minor placings, Master Tron is one of the better local greyhounds going around at the moment, prompting the question to connections as to whether the forthcoming ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup was an option.
Not according to Darmanin who reckons the three-state winner isn’t running quick enough to warrant a cup start.
No comment, though, from Patzel who 20 years ago trained Ashanti Gem to win the first Mount Gambier Cup run at the Lake Terrace East venue.
Another impressive heat win was that of Wayne’s Error who railed through down the back before running out a 4¾ length winner over Gemma Eagle in 30.29 seconds.
Owned and trained at Lewiston by Don Turner, the fawn dog was having only his second start at Tara Raceway after running second in a Mount Gambier Cup heat 12 months ago to Mojito Mayhem.
Wayne’s Error, who boasts a pretty handy record of 22 wins from 87 starts and prizemoney of more than $30,000, is by Spring Gun out of Magic Castle, a bitch Turner won five races with at Angle Park along with one at Gawler and one at Port Augusta.
Friday’s win was the start of a couple of successful days for Turner and his travelling companion Wayne Verrall who on Saturday headed in the opposite direction to Port Augusta where they were successful with He’s Innocent and Another Mai.
Also through to Sunday’s final are Saint Flynn, owned and trained at Koroit by Robert Walsh, and Redda – Saint Flynn winning by 5¼ lengths in 30.42 seconds after taking the rails running down the back straight.
And following Tuesday afternoon’s box draw for the excellent 12-race meeting, it was Master Tron who came up with the one, although from 53 starts this will be only the second time he has drawn the inside.
Smart Maxwell has drawn box five, but he has a fair record from the yellow, while Wayne’s Error didn’t fare all that well when drawing box four.