Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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Young gun fires up in readiness for Border Challenge

Following an outstanding run in yesterday’s Hyland Fox Stake (512 metres) by El Banjo, Compton trainer Tracie Price now has his sights set on Sunday week’s heats of the Border Challenge (512 m) at Tara Raceway.

Lining up from box four in yesterday’s grade six event, the son of Zambora Brockie and Wentworth Park-winning stayer El Rapido, while only fairly away, was matching strides with Kevin Mugavin’s in-form Classic Moment as the pair went out of the first turn.

Down the back straight El Banjo then moved into top gear before running away to a 3¼ length win in 29.60 seconds – a personal best time at the Mount Gambier track for the 21-month-old black dog.

Tracie Price with El Banjo who is likely to tackle the Border Challenge after a terrific win yesterday at Tara Raceway.

He is owned in NSW by Andrew Varasdi, who also enjoyed much success on the track and at stud with Banjo Boy, the sire of El Rapido.

Speaking after El Banjo’s win, his second in 10 starts and a record that probably doesn’t really do him justice, Price outlined his plans for the dog that has already been the subject of some lucrative offers – all rejected.

“At this stage I’m looking at running him at Angle Park on Thursday night and then fronting up in the Border Challenge heats 10 days later. I’m also considering running Ebby Tok in the heats.”

Ebby Tok, a daughter of Aussie Infrared and Zipping Kelly, defeated El Banjo over 531 metres at Gawler at the end of last month. Yesterday, she brought up her fourth successive win when defeating kennelmate Rusty Zan in the Progreyhoundtips.com Stake (600 m).

Allendale East trainer David Peckham reports that Midnight Blast, fourth in last Friday night’s SA Country Cup final at Angle Park on Adelaide Cup night, may join Aston Marlon in the Border Challenge heats.

“I haven’t really got a lot to run in the Challenge,” he said. “Lochinvar Cahill, who was also unplaced in the Country Cup, is currently getting over an operation and one of my better dogs in Captain Larry is in Victoria with trainer Brendan Pursell.”

But yesterday was a better day for Peckham after Aston Rocket defeated Hello Keen in the Klaassens Contractors Masters Stake (305 m). And in the following race, the Produce Store Feature Maiden final (400 m), Bourne Bully turned the tables on Victor Alfred.

The son of Bernardo and Dusseldorp, after finishing second to Victor Alfred in the previous week’s heats, virtually led all the way from box one when scoring by 2¼ lengths in 23.36 seconds. The win was the litter’s 15th this year and has led to further expectations as far as Peckham is concerned.

“I retained four of the litter with so far Bourne Bully and Bourne Nancy being successful. The other two are yet to race but they’ve shown me a bit so I’m hopeful that they will also measure up.”

Bourne Bully brought up trainer David Peckham’s 100th Tara Raceway winner for the year when successful in yesterday’s Produce Store Feature Maiden.

And in another milestone for Peckham, Bourne Bully brought up Peckham’s 100th winner for the year at Mount Gambier. This is the fourth consecutive year that he has trained 100 or more winners at Tara Raceway.

Meanwhile, Moorak trainer Jason Newman was at Gawler last night with a team that included Departure Gate, winner of this year’s Group 3 Carlin & Gazzard MG Mount Gambier Cup at Tara Raceway.

And Newman wasn’t too concerned when Departure Gate, having his first start at the northern track in more than 14 months, was beaten 11½ lengths by Victa Grosso, the Mount Gambier 512 metre record holder at 29.18 seconds.

“Heats of the Group 3 Gawler Cup (531 m) will be run next Monday night so I was keen to give him another look at the track. Fair enough, he was well beaten but he should be better for the run and we’ll be back to try and win another cup.

“If he fails to make it through to the final I’ll still have time to nominate him for the Border Challenge heats which will be run on the following Sunday at Tara Raceway.”

Newman had to wait until last night’s final race to land a winner with kennel newcomer Nitrogen Outlaw who is trained by his partner Melissa Freitag and raced by Departure Gate’s owners, the Yeah Nah Syndicate.

Having his first start for the kennel, the son of Aston Dee Bee x Fantasy Skye led all the way from box seven over 400 metres and won well enough to warrant Newman taking him back for Monday night’s meeting.

“We’ll take him back for the heats of the Gawler Sprint Classic (400 m). He showed a bit of dash on Sunday night and should be better for that run.”

Heats (512 metres) of the Mount Gambier v. Warrnambool Border Challenge will be run locally on Sunday, October 23 and at Warrnambool over 450 metres on Thursday, October 20. The $5800 final will be run in Mount Gambier over 512 metres on Sunday, October 30.

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