Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Glencoe greyhound Galactic Viper showed there is still plenty of life left in his 62-month-old legs when taking the time honours in last Sunday’s Ivor Dowdell Memorial heats (400 metres) at Tara Raceway.
Quite possibly the oldest greyhound to be currently racing – and winning – in SA, the son of Velocette x Magic Elite led all the way from box one in the first of three heats, eventually defeating Mahlo Blackhawk by 6¾ lengths in 23.45 seconds.
The win took Galactic Viper’s record to 120 starts for 25 wins, 26 seconds and 12 thirds, with Barry Shepheard taking over the ownership and training of the black dog in early 2016.
Five-year-old winners at Tara Raceway – or any other track for that matter – are not all that common, one of the last being back at the end of 2014 when another Shepheard-trained greyhound in Rouse Flyer won on his fifth birthday and clinched Greyhound of the Year honours.
But there have been some wonderful stories surrounding the longevity of racing greyhounds, perhaps none better than that of Green Lizard who raced on 223 occasions before being retired at the age of 86 months.
Named after a poker machine, Green Lizard was by Colonial Warrior, a winner of 24 races on SA tracks, out of Dixie Land who won her last race at Port Lincoln over 306 metres.
Whelped in March 1997, the Lizard was trained in SA’s north at Crystal Brook by local legend Trevor “Swami” Hendry whose association with the dog from a racing point of view commenced in May 1999 and concluded five years later with a record of 64 wins, 44 seconds and 31 thirds at Angle Park, Gawler, Strathalbyn, Barmera, Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla.
And speaking of local legends. Allendale East trainer Connie Miller’s terrific run this year with Chilly Kiss continued in the second heat of Sunday’s memorial when the daughter of Spring Gun x Chilly Babe quickly found the front from box one and then held out Eily West, a good run considering she was having her first run at the track for Geelong owner-trainer Mick Vaughan.
Chilly Kiss, who currently leads Hopalong by two points in the Greyhound of the Year, has now become one of a relatively few greyhounds to have won over 400 metres, 512 metres and 600 metres at Tara Raceway.
Azumi Swift, having only her second race start this year, kept out of trouble from box eight before finding the front and then never really looking like being beaten in the third heat of the memorial.
Trained at Worrolong by Lee Bartholomew, the daughter of Cosmic Chief x Azumi Touch defeated Mount Gambier Cup finalist Verev and the speedy Dimora Flash – all three through to next Wednesday’s ANZAC Day final along with Galactic Viper, Mahlo Blackhawk, Chilly Kiss, Eily West and Cheyenne Black.