Wednesday, November 1, 2017
A smart all-the-way win by Galactic Viper at start number 102 in last Sunday’s Produce Store Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway has seen the veteran greyhound take a narrow lead in the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year award.
Galactic Viper, who finished fifth in last year’s GOTY behind Old Jock, currently leads Baz’s Moment – also keeping himself in contention with an all-the-way win in the Williams Crane Hire Open Stake (400 m) – by one point, along with Big Rough who failed to pick up points last Sunday.
There are now 13 meetings left of the current season which will conclude on Sunday, December 31. However, five of these are time-graded fixtures and as such are unlikely to have much bearing on the GOTY result.
Barry Shepheard of Glencoe owns and trains Galactic Viper – who will turn five a few weeks into the new year – and he’s no stranger to getting older greyhounds over the line in GOTY awards, Rouse Flyer being a case in point.
Back in 2014 he had a keen tussle with Thanks Tubby throughout the year with Rouse Flyer virtually clinching the award with a win on December 5 which happened to be his fifth birthday.
By Velocette x Magic Elite, Galactic Viper was bred at Moorak by Robert Chuck who initially placed him with Lara trainer Dave Geall – no doubt still basking in the glory of last Saturday night’s Topgun win at The Meadows with Up Hill Jill.
Geall picked up races with the black dog at Horsham, Bendigo, Warrnambool and Sandown Park before winning the Group 3 Howard Ashton at Angle Park.
When Galactic Viper returned to Mount Gambier 12 months later, Shepheard soon took over his training, later purchasing the dog from Chuck. All told, he has now won 15 races (eight this year) since being kennelled at Glencoe.
Baz’s Moment, 2½ years younger than Galactic Viper, has given local owner Baz Bruce a successful re-introduction to greyhound racing. He races the son of Swift Fancy x Which Class in partnership with Tracie Price who trains the black dog.
Price also bred Baz’s Moment after obtaining Which Class on loan from Chuck for one litter which has since gone on to produce six individual winners. She now dominates the Leading Dams’ list with 37 wins – Scorpion and Galactic Fox, from an earlier litter by Superman, also contributing to this tally.
These days there’s not much likelihood of finding a locally-based stud dog among the Leading Sires – or anywhere else for that matter. Spring Gun currently leads the way with 51 wins, followed by Cosmic Rumble (48½) and Fabregas (40).
A far cry from back in 1979 when mechanical lure greyhound racing kicked off down here and local sires including Kori Arc (Eric Lewis), Courtoli (Bill Ward), Forest King (Tom Pearce), Invercoe Snow (Drew McFarlane) and Kevin Jason (John King) were prominently advertised in the race books of the day.
Meanwhile, Nicole Stanley, who currently has Fiorelli Rose, Stylish Pursuit and Old Jock sitting in the GOTY top 10, is on track to become the first trainer to land 100 winners at Tara Raceway in a season – Hit The Runway bringing up win number 94 for her last Sunday.