Big day for the Lenehan boys
The day the cup opposition was stung by a Drone
It was on Wednesday, April 8, 2009 that The Border Watch sports journalist Rod Morris penned the back page lead story “Cup sting by Drone”.
Morris was covering the $3000 South Aussie Hotel Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres) which had been won the previous Saturday afternoon at Tara Raceway by Drone, a well-named son of US sire Kiowa Sweet Trey and Beekeeper.
Trained at Portland by Brian Weis, Drone went into the final as second favourite. And he stung his opposition when jumping well from box five and leading all the way for a three length win over Deep Prince in 30.45 seconds.
Morris also suggested that Weis – “he came and conquered” – and owner Robert Britton would probably target some major metropolitan races with Drone.
Actually, the 2009 Mount Gambier Cup turned out to be a pretty good meeting for Portland trainers. Robert Duncan won the Super Sprint over 277 metres with Ballistic Token and Robert Halliday was successful with Balmoral Jill who won a Cup Consolation.
Halliday also bred three other winners on the day – Our Rule, Lisa’s Rule and Carry On Bond.
The Mount Gambier Cup, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s longest-running race, has come a fair way since inaugural winner Tara Topar out at Glenburnie in 1981.
The time-honoured event, which this year will celebrate its 44th running with heats on April 7 and the final on April 14, now carries Group 3 status with total prize money amounting to $36,000.
Meanwhile, Compton-based Tracie Price, leading Mount Gambier trainer in 2022 and 2023 – but yet to win a Mount Gambier Cup – is off to another flying start this year after having already trained 20 winners at his home track.
Last Sunday, for the second time this year, he landed four winners at a Tara Raceway meeting – this time with Wild Star, Compton Buster, Compton Wink and Honey Rocks.
Wild Star, a daughter of US sire Need My Moneynow and Wild Marilyn, looked particularly impressive when leading all the way in the Klaassens Contractors Stake for grade six greyhounds.
Having her first start over 512 metres, the black bitch never looked like being beaten when defeating kennelmate In The Bug by 5¼ lengths in a quick 29.54 seconds.
Price has done well with members of the George Kairouz-owned litter – other winners including Wild Milly, Wilder and, of course, Wild Banker who was a sensational winner of last month’s $10,000 Summer Classic.
Toolong-based Phil Lenehan is another trainer still chasing his first Mount Gambier Cup. There’s been family success, though, with his father Brian winning the 1993 Mount Gambier Cup with Immortal Flash.
Brian also received Greyhound Racing Victoria Hall Of Fame recognition through his legendary brood bitch Sydney Gem. And Phil came close in the 2018 Mount Gambier Cup with Lektra Stomp, who at the time held the Mount Gambier 512 metre track record at 29.45 seconds.
The son of Walk Hard and Lektra Angie was one of the favourites in the final but finished a three-quarter length second behind Xtreme Caution. For Weis, it was a case of coming and conquering a second time.
Lenehan’s treble last Sunday at Tara Raceway with Yesterday’s Hero, Lektra Fred and Lektra Tinsel was his second in as many weeks.
And Moorak trainer Mel Freitag landed a double with Nitrogen Outlaw and Send It Blue.
Nitrogen Outlaw, a son of Aston Dee Bee and Fantasy Skye, brought up his 25th win at start number 97 when leading all the way in the Cadillac Racing Open Stake (400 m) and defeating the ultra-consistent Mister Cadillac by 1¼ lengths in 22.79 seconds.
In the Rocks Tavern Stake (512 m), Send It Blue, in what was a big run, made it five wins in succession. The son of Cosmic Rumble and Mossy Girl was last early before finishing powerfully out wide in the home straight for a 2¾ length win over Judiciary in 30.18 seconds.
Earlier in the day in the Gambier Vets Maiden Stake (305 m), Freitag’s partner, Jason Newman, was successful with Zipping Shakira. The daughter of Superior Panama and Zipping Bailey quickly found the front from box seven before running away to a 5¾ length win in 17.58 seconds.
Big day for the Lenehan boys
Toolong trainer Phil Lenehan enjoyed his most successful day at Tara Raceway in 2½ years when Pengin Pat, Lektra Tony and Lektra Tinsel were successful at the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s recent Sunday meeting.
Penguin Pat, who had finished second back in December at his only other start over 600 metres at the track, went one better when holding out Ethanol Tank for a three-quarter length win in the Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake in 35.47 seconds.
By Ritza Lenny out of eight-race winner It’s A Shame, the NSW-bred white and black dog was part of a package deal which saw Lenehan purchase two of the 14-week-old litter for $900 each.
In the Greg Martlew Autos Juvenile Stake (400 m), Lektra Tony led all the way and defeated Mostly by three lengths in a very tidy 23.04 seconds.
Twice a winner last month at Warrnambool over 390 metres, Lektra Tony is by Houdini Boy out of the Victorian city-winning sprinter Lektra Jena.
And bringing up a treble was Lektra Tinsel, a daughter of Dyna Chancer and Uptown Funk, who defeated a smart field in the Hyland Fox Mixed Stake (512 m).
Opening up a big break early over Lektra Tinsel was Mister Cadillac, still chasing his first win over 512 metres. But the Lenehan owned and trained fawn bitch was too strong in the run home, scoring by 1¾ lengths and bringing up her 13th win in a personal best time of 29.67 seconds.
The treble was the long-time trainer’s first at Tara Raceway since July 18, 2021 when he had been successful with Lektra Violet, Where’s Goose and Lektra Moon.
Making it a big day for the Lenehan boys was Santa Barbara who scored an impressive win for Portland-based brother Neville when leading all the way in the Exchange Printers Stake (400 m) and defeating Victa Bob by 5½ lengths in a close to best of day 23.00 seconds.
By Bernardo out of Boomer Hargen, a litter sister to Pamela Rocks, the 2023 Mount Gambier leading brood bitch, Santa Barbara had been chasing her second win at start number 20 – her maiden win coming at Warrnambool in April last year.
Meanwhile, last Thursday’s time-graded first time two-heat Fast Forward series for 1-4 wins over 400 metres didn’t go quite to plan.
Designed to cater for the “bottom end of the scale” 1-4 wins greyhounds, the first heat – in theory the slower of the two – resulted in Lakeview Heather running out a 16½ length winner in a best of day time of 23.02 seconds.
And with the fastest eight runners from the two heats, irrespective of finishing positions, advancing to this week’s final what this meant was that Lakeview Heather finished up the only finalist from the first heat – the Commercial Hotel Stake.
Cadillac Burns, trained at Edenhope by Captain Abbott, pretty well led all the way in the second heat – the Metal Worx Stake – when defeating Gypsy Tony by a length in 23.47 seconds.
So in the end, how it all worked out was Quantum King, second placegetter in the first heat, clocked 24.17 seconds while the seven runners in the second heat ranged in finishing order from 23.47 seconds to 24.01 seconds.
By Fernando Bale out of Lakeview Grace, Lakeview Heather has now won two races from three starts for trainer Tracie Price and his daughter Sarah at Tara Raceway after winning her maiden at Sale back in October.
Previously, Price had won six races at Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge with the Mo Canala-owned Lakeview Jet, a son of Bernardo and Lakeview Maisey, a litter sister to Lakeview Grace.
And Koroit trainer Peter Keane finally broke through for a maiden win at start number 19 with Can Get Thirsty in the Winning Post Supplies Stake (305 m).
A litter sister to recent Tara Raceway winner Moonlight Sid, the daughter of Shima Shine and Lulumon virtually led all the way from box two when defeating Aston Jack by 1½ lengths and clocking a personal best time of 17.91 seconds.