Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Early indications are that 2020 could be a big year for greyhound racing in Mount Gambier.
Already, Sweet On Me, a January 2018 daughter of Barcia Bale and Call Me Gee has set the track alight over 512 metres at Tara Raceway, stringing together three wins in December in times of 29.86, 29.78 and 29.67.
The black bitch is raced by Warrnambool breeder-owner Noel Mugavin and trained at Allendale East by David Peckham, the pair having combined 12 months ago to win five races at Tara Raceway with Rose Ali prior to her being sold to Rockhampton.
Sweet On Me is one of a number of locally-based young greyhounds able to take advantage of recently-introduced Juvenile racing, Peckham working the grades well by having her in one such race on Sunday – the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake (400 m).
An example as to the definition of a Juvenile greyhound is a January 2018 whelping will remain eligible for that grade until the end of January 2020. However, non-SA bred dogs are permitted to win only two Juveniles while SA bred dogs can win six.
And connections of greyhounds whelped on or after January 1, 2018 are now looking at next month’s Summer Classic (512 m), first run in 2015 and boasting a fair sort of honour roll – Cryer’s Ricky (Tom Cryer), Menzel Boys (Lisa Rasmussen), Hutch (Robert Halliday), Galactic Panther (Steve Bartholomew) and Banjo Bad Boy (Dean Fennell).
Interestingly, Banjo Bad Boy defeated Rose Ali and subsequent Mount Gambier Cup winner Galactic Athena in last year’s final while the previous four classic winners had all reached the Mount Gambier Cup final the following month.
Local legends Michael Robinson and Willie Vossen have put their faith in the local product and already have reaped some rewards with their purchases of SA bred stock from Tracie and Karen Price of Compton.
Of particular interest is the Price-trained Tandiki, a May 2018 daughter of Peter Rocket and Headline, a bitch with plenty of strength that won over 595 metres at Sandown Park, 600 metres at The Meadows and 660 metres at Ballarat.
Tandiki won her maiden over 400 metres on Boxing Day at Tara Raceway, taking over the running from Banjo Bliss off the back and, despite using plenty of the track, running home strongly to win by 5¾ lengths in a quick 23.10 seconds after posting a first split of 10.86 seconds.
She’ll be back over 400 metres again on Sunday, having drawn box one in the Swallow Drive Meats Stake, while Robinson and Vossen’s Vossy, an April 2018 daughter of Dyna Double One x Miss Freelove, will take on Sweet On Me in the Juvenile.
Vossy’s litter sister Perseverance, owned outright by Robinson and trained at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, is another one that looks well placed from a Summer Classic point of view, the black bitch winning in a best of day 29.76 seconds over 512 metres at Tara Raceway last month.
Connections should get some idea of where they’re at when Perseverance lines up from box two in Sunday’s New Year Open Stake (512 m) and takes on Squishy Pea and Smart Knocka who recently ran the quinella in the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup.
The Fennell-trained General Max, a January 2018 whelping and another perfectly-aged classic contender, will also take on Sunday’s Juvenile, the brindle dog now well-seasoned after having raced on 23 occasions for six wins.
Raced by Ebony Janz and Hayden Fennell, the Victorian-bred General Max is by Worm Burner out of Miss Hodge. The couple also races litter brother Beat Max Bazza, a Tara Raceway winner last Sunday and another one to contest this Sunday’s Juvenile.