Monday, October 31, 2016
There’s not too many weeks go by that Hamilton trainer Tony Harding doesn’t call into Bernie Rogers’ Tahara property, picks up the “travelling foreman” Shane Flink and then heads over to Tara Raceway with a few greyhounds.
Rogers is still hands-on at Tahara but rarely makes the trip to Mount Gambier on a race day, leaving that to Flink who earlier in the month had been successful with Fu Ling Shen.
For Harding, his last winner had been back in May when $30 chance Jen Shen (a litter sister to Fu Ling Shen) had opened her winning account at Tara Raceway at start number 32.
She’s the bitch Rogers had given Harding after the pair had been at a trial track one morning and Jen Shen, prior to the start of her racing career, had trashed his trailer.
Some 38 starts later, and still looking for her second win, Jen Shen lined up from box two in last Friday’s Rock’s Retreat Mixed Stake (600 metres) as a $40 chance – perhaps not all that surprising considering the black bitch had raced nine times over the middle-distance journey and had yet to run a place.
But after jumping straight to the front she was never headed in what turned out to be a rough race, eventually running out a 2½ length winner over long odds-on favourite Berry Bling in 36.42 seconds.
“Fair enough, she’d never run a place over 600 metres but she had copped a bit of trouble in some of the runs,” said a delighted Harding as an explanation to what on paper looked to be a pretty ordinary statistic.
Later in the day Flink boxed the Rogers-trained Ming Men Shen in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m) with a pleasant trip back over the border being assured after the white and black dog led all the way to defeat Rico Jakit by a length in 23.66 seconds.
Jen Shen and Ming Men Shen are by Fear Zafonic out of Ren Shen which won eight races in Tasmania and Victoria. Besides Fu Ling Shen, others in the litter include Billy Congo, a winner this month at Rockhampton, and Roarsome, which has won eight races over 400 metres, 512 metres and 600 metres this year at Tara Raceway for Mount Gambier trainer Ralph Patzel.
Ren Shen is also the dam of Sweeney Miss (by El Grand Senor) which was successful at Tara Raceway’s previous meeting for Millicent trainer Smiley Gordon.
WILSON PAIR STEPS UP TO THE PODIUM
Training honours at last Friday’s Tara Raceway meeting belonged to Mumbannar mentor Monty Wilson who landed his first double in a 10-year involvement after give away greyhounds Podium Time and Podium Bound were successful.
A $13 chance, Podium Time kicked the meeting off with an impressive maiden win in the JB Irrigation Stake (512 m) when leading all the way from box seven, eventually running out a six length winner over odds-on favourite Brinza in 30.65 seconds.
Having her 21st race start, the first win came on the back of a couple of handy 600 metre efforts with her trainer now likely to step her up again in distance in the forthcoming weeks.
“I thought her past two starts over the middle-distance behind Rowdy Richard and Blazin’ Vicky were fair enough and now that she’s over her seasonal issues I’m confident her recent good form will continue,” Wilson said.
Podium Time, which landed at Mumbannar late last year via Jason Thomson of Boolite, is beautifully bred, being by Dyna Tron out of So Faithful, a daughter of Spiral Nikita x Leprechaun Yap, and a winner of eight races from 25 starts.
Littermates to So Faithful include Casey’s Angel, Bo Frazier, Talk’s Cheap and Glamorous (the dam of Magic Sprite).
Podium Bound, another Wilson pick-up from Boolite, hadn’t won a race in almost 12 months prior to 400 metre success a couple of week ago in a grade five heat.
And while the white and black daughter of Big Daddy Cool x Wadelock Sal failed to fire in the final, it took Wilson and his wife Jen only a fortnight to bring up another win – this time in the Metal Worx Masters (400 m).
Masters races, introduced at Tara Raceway earlier this year with a view to keep racers in the system longer, are non-penalty grade five events for greyhounds aged 3½ years and older – the older the better from a grading point of view with the concept having attracted five and six-year-olds.
As it turned out, in last Friday’s event it was the youngest and oldest runners – Podium Bound (February 2013) and Bourbon Club (June 2012) – which fought out the finish.
Podium Bound appeared to appreciate plenty of galloping room out wide and off the back worked into the race, throwing out the challenge to Bourbon Club before gaining the verdict by a head in 23.90 seconds.