Mount Gambier Week in Review

Racing News

Club member recognised with inaugural service award

Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club member Shane Flink was presented with the inaugural Connie Miller Club Service award at last Sunday’s race meeting at Tara Raceway.

It was during the week of last year’s Mount Gambier Cup that long-time local greyhound racing stalwart Connie Miller passed away after a long illness at the age of 76.

The timing was significant given that she still remains the only trainer to have won consecutive Mount Gambier Cups – in 1987 and 1988 with Durafi and Mitchell Boy.

But from a local greyhound racing point of view, Connie’s contribution certainly went much further than training a couple of cup winners out at the Glenburnie track.

In 1983-1984 she assumed the role of secretary of the South East Greyhound Racing Club, later to become the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing & Coursing Club Inc. With the exception of 1996-1997 she filled the position until 2002-2003.

Connie received Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club life membership in 1994 and was also recognised by the SA greyhound racing industry with an Outstanding Service to the Industry award.

Shane Flink’s involvement in greyhound racing has been long and varied. It started when he was 16 years old and living in Adelaide with one of the sport’s local identities in Veronica Talbot.

Later, he moved to Bernie Rogers’ greyhound property at Tahara in Victoria before relocating to Mount Gambier close to 10 years ago.

And he still holds fond memories of Connie Miller.

“When I first moved over here Connie took me under her wing and made sure I was looking after myself,” he said. “Believe me, I will always treasure this award.”

Shane, 58, has raced a few “Gypsy” dogs – Gypsy Shane one of his favourites. By Addis Boy out of Camo’s Prinny, winner of the 2013 Mount Gambier Anniversary Cup for Rogers, he raced on 91 occasions for one win – a maiden in 2018 at Tara Raceway.

These days living only a stone’s throw from the Tara Raceway track, Shane assists trainers with handling and catching duties on race and trial days. Always one of the first to arrive on race days, he also helps out around the club.

The Connie Miller Club Service award was instigated by the Miller family – at Tara Raceway at the end of March for the running of a race in her memory that was won by the David Peckham owned and trained Captain Rosie.

Abbott sets sights on another Anniversary Cup

Captain Abbott, who runs Cadillac Racing at Edenhope in partnership with Kerry Hawker, looks likely to take on the heats of Sunday week’s Exchange Printers Anniversary Cup (512 metres) with Top Cadillac.

This follows the run of the black son of Feral Franky and Establish in last Sunday’s Commercial Hotel Stake (600 m) which saw him rail through on Zipping Shakira down the back and defeat her by two lengths in a quick 34.88 seconds.

“Recently, he did trial very quickly here over 512 metres so I’m more inclined to lean towards the Anniversary Cup in preference to stepping him up in distance for the first time over 732 metres in the Eric Lewis Memorial,” Abbott said.

And the long-time trainer has previously tasted Anniversary Cup success with White Arrow who he has long touted as his best-ever greyhound.

By Tinas Jo out of Cape Arrow, the Abbott-bred white and fawn bitch won 25 races and close to $60,000 in prize money. She defeated Cryer’s Midget, later a prolific producer at Mount Gambier, by a length in the 2012 Anniversary Cup.

White Arrow had also been a finalist the year prior in the cup won by the Richard Clayfield trained Glenville Maggie.

Meanwhile, Redshift Uniform, sold to Tony Mallia of WA a couple of months ago after the wheels fell of distance racing in SA, is back with former trainer Jason Newman of Moorak.

“Unfortunately she wasn’t firing a shot on the WA tracks and Tony got in touch to see if I would be interested training her back in SA,” Newman said.

A pipe-opener at last week’s time-graded meeting over 512 metres in which she ran third was followed up with a run in last Sunday’s Exchange Printers Open Stake over 732 metres. Only four runners but a smart field all the same.

And Redshift Uniform obviously enjoyed being back in Mount Gambier when leading all the way to defeat Osprey Diva by a length for her 13th win from 17 starts at the track and distance in 43.70 seconds.

Never one to die wondering, Newman said the daughter of Barcia Bale and Taylor Made Star would now be set for the Eric Lewis Memorial (732 m) on Anniversary Cup final day on July 21.

Great Scott! Trainer’s big day out

It’s now been 12 months since Kyneton trainer Scott Millard made his first five-hour trip over to Tara Raceway for a Thursday time-graded meeting. And as luck would have it, he went home a winner.

Back then he had been training greyhounds for 2½ years but said he was still a work in progress and trying to figure things out for himself.

Fast forward a year and Millard was back last Thursday with five runners. And it seems as though he’s figured a few things out for himself in that time given that he ended the day with four winners – Small Heath, Stand For Me, Skull and Marionvale Gal.

A son of Tommy Shelby and Victorian city winner Snooky, Small Heath was only fairly away from box eight in the Commercial Hotel TG1-4W Stake (305 metres) but quickly rounded up the field before running out a 4¼ length winner over Cadillac Racer in 17.95 seconds.

“He’s owned by a fellow Kyneton trainer in Jimmy Holt who has been most helpful to me along the way,” Millard said. “He had suggested Small Heath could be a good fit for Mount Gambier and as I make the occasional trips over here would I be interested in having a go with her.”

Millard is the fifth trainer for Stand For Me who led all the way from box one in the TG1-4W (400 m) when defeating Oscar Deeds by 3¼ lengths in 23.57 seconds.

By Fernando Bale, the black dog is out of Mayfair Miss who did the majority of her racing up the straight at Healesville.

“He’s now won two races since joining the kennels a bit over 12 months ago. But there have been quite a few minor placings and what I like about him is that he always puts in 100 per cent for me.”

The third winner of the day for Millard came in race nine, the Produce StoreTG5+W Stake (400 m), when Skull scored an impressive six length all the way win over Stormin’ Frank in the tidy time of 23.18 seconds.

Having his first start at Tara Raceway, Skull, a son of Fernando Bale and former handy chaser Sarah Swift, has now won 11 races, three of those since relocating to Kyneton at the beginning of the year.

And bringing up Millard’s best ever day at the track was Marionvale Gal who led all the way in the Exchange Printers TG1-4W Stake (400 m) and defeated Moon Stroller by two lengths in 23.42 seconds.

A year earlier when Millard had made his first trip to the Mount Gambier track he won the Gambier Vets Maiden Stake (305 m) with Marionvale Gal, a daughter of My Redeemer and Victorian city winner Moneypenny.

On that occasion she had chased Rose Of Terang for much of the journey before grabbing her in the shadows of the post for a head win in 18.20 seconds.

The maiden win had come at Marionvale Gal’s 30th race start, Millard having purchased her for $1000 after she had raced on five occasions for two minor placings at Shepparton.

Incidentally, it took Rose Of Terang another 12 months to open her winning account for Terang trainer Paul Herry. At last Thursday’s meeting she defeated Hotfoot Cuddles by three lengths in the Klaassens Contractors Maiden Stake (305 m).

“I purchased the daughter of Tommy Shelby and Zipping Navy for $2000 after she had been broken-in and her first win was certainly a while coming,” Herry said. “She does possess early dash but any distance further than 305 metres seems to find her out.”

Ararat trainer Paul Hammerstein, whose last Tara Raceway winner had been with Limiting in last year’s Tankman 600 on Mount Gambier Cup day, found himself on solid ground in the Greg Martlew Autos TG1-4W Stake (400 m).

Away well from box six, his greyhound Solid Ground, a recent purchase from Toolleen trainer Daniel Pell, led all the way for a 2¾ length win over Knight Vader in a best of day 23.08 seconds.

“I’ve now had two wins with him and while he’s no superstar he certainly tries his heart out,” said Hammerstein.