Wednesday, December 21, 2016
The finish line frivolity was once again in full play at Tara Raceway last Sunday after Cilla Brown kicked off the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s Christmas Cup meeting with a win in the Royal Fashion Maiden final (512 metres).
And while the Tara Raceway finish is “famous” for its across-the-line celebratory moments that are beamed around Australia via Sky Racing it’s doubtful that any have matched that of the winner’s trainer, David Williams.
Williams, quite simply, had been overjoyed to win the race with Cilla Brown who is owned by his 16-year-old daughter Angela. “That’s my biggest win,” he said. “And believe me, it felt like it!”
Cilla Brown did the job pretty well when winning a heat the previous week but even Williams had conceded that the other heat winner, the Bea Bryant trained Carry On Elvis, was going to be very hard to beat.
Lining up in the final from box three, the 28 kilogram black bitch jumped fairly in what was the 10th running of the feature maiden and was in front going out of the first turn.
Into the back straight Carry On Elvis loomed ominously, overcoming a check and then looking hard to hold out as he gave the leader a couple of lengths start.
But this was going to be Angela and David Williams’ day. Cilla Brown still had two lengths to spare on the line when running 30.63 seconds.
By little-known sire Ivan Brown out of Surfing Blonde, Cilla Brown found her way down to Tarpeena late last month after she had run a couple of minor placings from seven starts at Angle Park for Lewiston trainer John Spoolder.
To be fair though, she had been contesting some handy SA-bred features, with Spoolder happy to give the bitch to Angela Williams, believing she would be better suited down here.
The 39-year-old David Williams will now be hoping to wrap up what’s been a productive final three months of racing and add to his eight winners at Friday’s final meeting of the year.
Cilla Brown has drawn box eight in the first heat of a grade six 512 metre series – the Allestree Holiday Units Stake – while Carry On Elvis is also back and will contest the second heat – the South Eastern Hotel Stake – from box seven.
Quite conceivably, the pair could clash again in the final which will be run at the 2017 season opener on Sunday, January 1.
Also impressing in the Royal Fashion Maiden final was the Steve Bartholomew trained Azumi Spice who finished a half head behind Carry On Elvis in third spot – her sixth minor placing from only seven starts.
The black bitch worked home really well and now looks well placed in Friday’s second heat of a maiden series over 512 metres – the Berringa Park Stake.
By Cosmic Chief out of former local short-course specialist Azumi Touch, Azumi Spice is a February 2015 whelping and looks ideally suited to February’s Summer Classic (512 m) at Tara Raceway.
Making his debut on Friday will be Azumi Spice’s brother, Azumi Shadow, who will jump from box eight in the second heat of a maiden 400 metre series – the JB Irrigation Stake.
HALLIDAY’S HOMER ANSWERS THE CHALLENGE
Homer, owned and trained by Robert Halliday, has come a fair way since his debut at last year’s Christmas Cup meeting at Tara Raceway.
Twelve months ago in the South Eastern Hotel Open Maiden (512 m) the well bred son of Fear Zafonic and Flawless Tears ran a 10½ length third behind Lektra Goose and Southwood Hazel in 30.87 seconds.
As it turned out, it was another six months before Homer opened his winning account but after his win in last Sunday’s Rock’s Retreat Christmas Challenge (600 m) he’s now been successful on eight occasions this year.
Well back early from box six, the white and black dog was giving the tearaway leader Shannah’s Might a fair start down the back straight before finishing powerfully to defeat a fast-finishing Fascinated by 3½ lengths with a further 1¼ lengths to the early leader in a time of 35.60 seconds.
Homer’s win was the first leg of a running double for the Portland trainer with Redda taking over the running off the back in the Trackside Meats Stake (512 m) and holding out Penny Eagle to win by a length in 30.37 seconds.
The double came on the back of a treble at the previous meeting and gave Halliday 13 winners for the final three months of the year.