Mount Gambier Weekly Wrap

Racing News

Cup winner’s progeny off to a flying start

As far as memorable Mount Gambier Cups go they don’t come much better than the 2019 Fairthorne Forestry sponsored Group Listed event.

That was when Robert Chuck and Steve Bartholomew’s local hope Galactic Athena defeated Robert Camilleri’s high-profile Victorian Slingshot Hammer by a neck in 29.43 seconds.

Run over 512 metres on Sunday, March 31, at the time the Chuck-bred daughter of Paddy Whacker and Galactic Rumball was barely 19 months old. She went into the final with five starts to her name and stake earnings of $3,140.

Slingshot Hammer, on the other hand, was pushing three years of age, had raced on 44 occasions and collected $104,120 in prize money. But reputations counted for nothing that day.

Fast forward to May 2022 and Galactic Athena whelped her first litter – one dog and two bitches by US sire Blazin Wildfire (Dragon Fire x Tin Nee Ann).

Bartholomew and his wife Lee, of Worrolong, retained a dog and bitch – still to race – while Compton-based Chuck kept the bitch that now races as Galactic Artemis.

And she made her debut at Tara Raceway last Sunday in the Hyland Fox Maiden Stake (305 m) when defeating Secret Wishes by three lengths in an impressive 17.69 seconds.

Meanwhile, speaking of Mount Gambier Cup winners, Lewiston trainer Don Turner, accompanied by granddaughter Decota Curran and four greyhounds, made one of his occasional visits down to Mount Gambier at the weekend.

Turner owned Colville, winner of the 2013 Mount Gambier Cup. By Collide out of Pampered and also bred by the owner, the black dog had been sent down to local trainer Allen Williams who celebrated long and hard after the win on Friday, March 15.

It has to be said that it’s not too often Turner goes home without a winner when he does eventually psych himself up to make the long trip down.

And last Sunday was no different when kennelmates Rolling Riot and Information fought out the finish of the finish of the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (512 m).

By Whiskey Riot out of Roxy Rolla – a winner of 10 races, including one at Tara Raceway at the end of January 2017 – Rolling Riot was chasing his third successive win after twice leading all the way over 455 metres at Murray Bridge earlier this month.

Once again the fawn dog turned in an impressive front-running display, bringing up his 10th win when holding out Information – a daughter of Zipping Garth x Lightcry – and scoring by a half-length in the tidy time of 29.80 seconds.

“Both dams are out of the unraced Enlightment – Roxy Rolla being by Cosmic Rumble and Lightcry by Lonesome Cry,” said Turner who currently has 14 greyhounds in work. “Actually, Lightcry was injured early in her career and I kept her specifically for breeding.”

Earlier in the day, Nevada Sally, trained by Turner for his granddaughter, finished third in a heat of the grade six series over 400 metres. That puts her into this Sunday’s final although the trainer is yet to personally commit so soon to another road trip.

From a Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup point of view, and on the back of a close-up third behind Malevolent Girl in the Newman McDonnell Memorial, Mister Banjo was certainly impressive when winning the Exchange Printers Open Stake (512 m).

Away well from box eight, the son of Zambora Brockie and El Rapido led all the way when defeating last year’s Christmas Cup winner Aston Ziebell by 2½ lengths in a personal best and best of day time of 29.69 seconds.

Raced by a Hamilton-based syndicate and managed locally by Damian Monaghan, Mister Banjo is trained at Compton by Tracie Price who will be chasing his fourth Christmas Cup (512 m) following wins by Who’s Doing What, Fear The Rascal and Golly Gumdrops.

First run in 2011, the Christmas Cup this year will carry prizemoney of $4500. Heats will be run on Sunday, December 10 and the final a week later.

Ashleigh makes a successful return

Tea Tree Gully hobby owner-trainer Ashleigh Kay made a successful return to Tara Raceway last Thursday when Techno Kelli scored an impressive win in the Williams Crane Hire TG1-4W Stake (305 metres).

At the Mount Gambier greyhound track for the first time this year, she had been chasing her first local winner since May 2022 when Oogway had defeated Mustang Molly and Shim’s Heart in the Winning Post Supplies Stake (512 m) in 30.56 seconds.

This time Kay was down with her whole team – Techno Kelli and Yarramundi Coco – a couple of females by Melbourne Cup winner Hard Style Rico. As it turned out, the pair happened to draw the same race at the time-graded meeting.

But it was Techno Kelli who made Kay’s day when quickly finding the front from box eight before running away to a 3½ length win over Compton Pebbles in a time of 17.92 seconds.

Actually, it was relocation to New South Wales by former Adelaide trainer Vadim Roz that resulted in Techno Kelli and Yarramundi Coco finding their way to Tea Tree Gully in August this year.

“Vadim was moving over Dubbo way and asked me if I would be interested in taking a couple of his greyhounds that had won maiden races over 400 metres at Gawler,” Kay said.

“And I was happy enough to give them a go. While Yarramundi Coco is still yet to win for me, Techno Kelli has since won up the straight at Murray Bridge, Angle Park and now Mount Gambier so it hasn’t worked out too badly.”

Meanwhile, Murtoa owner-trainer Josh McDonald, who reappeared at Tara Raceway back in June, brought up his seventh win this year at the local track when Ragnar Boy was successful in the TG1-4W Stake (400 m).

By My Redeemer out of Run Ronnie Run, a winner at The Meadows, Ragnar Boy led all the way when defeating Lorelle Soldier by 1¾ lengths in a time of 23.65 seconds.

Later, McDonald recalled the circumstances surrounding Ragnar Boy coming into his kennels back in April.

“Two other trainers had previously had a go with him but by the time I got him he was pushing 3½ years of age and still hadn’t raced.

“Anyway, I started him off in a 305 metre maiden at Mount Gambier in May and while he’s certainly no champion I’ve had a bit of fun with him at Tara Raceway where he’s now won three races.”

McDonald won his first race at the local track back in December 2019 with Magnet Force. The win resulted in 25 per cent of the prize money being donated to the Wimmera Southern Mallee Rural Outreach program.

By Peter Rocket out of Maisy Mac, Magnet Force was purchased as a pup by McDonald who later named the black bitch in memory of Brad “Magnet” Hall, a mate who had died 12 months prior at the age of 42.

Thinking back to when he first became involved in greyhound racing, McDonald said all he ever really wanted was a winning photograph to hang on the wall.

“Now there’s no shortage of photographs, just a lack of wall space.”

Perseverance pays off for a couple of buddies

The Pereis Syndicate – comprising Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president Noel Perry of OB Flat and Portland-based Brian Weis – were quick to come up with a plan after Rough Boy Buddy’s first-up win back on May 1, 2022.

That was the day that the brindle dog, then trained by Perry, won a 305 metre maiden event at Tara Raceway by 6¾ lengths in a smart 17.58 seconds.

By the following month the son of Worm Burner and Xtreme Gift had found his way to Victoria and joined the powerful Britton kennels at Lara. And by the end of June he had registered two second placings at The Meadows provincial meetings over 525 metres.

Subsequently, two provincial wins followed at The Meadows. Then the rot set in.

“He was sidelined for three months after his last win in August,” Perry said. “But, upon returning to the track, Rough Boy Buddy finished well down the line – once again at The Meadows – and soon after he returned to my kennels.

“On the back of another three-month break, he resumed again, this time at Tara Raceway over 400 metres. Still no joy, though. Rough Boy Buddy injured a hock which required an operation in Adelaide.

“Then, about four months ago, Brian took him back to Portland where he was sea walking him.”

Fast forward close to 10 months since the hock injury and Rough Boy Buddy, now being trained by Weis, resumed at Tara Raceway on Sunday, November 5 over 400 metres.

“He settled in third spot behind Silk Sonic and worked home well to finish in third spot when beaten a bit over five lengths in 23.04 seconds,” Perry said. “We were really happy with the run. I just didn’t need a phone call that night from Brian.”

But Rough Boy Buddy was back the following Sunday – chasing his first win in 15 months. This time he never looked like being beaten when leading all the way and defeating Aston Butters in 23.19 seconds.

“I reckon you could say that was a win for the ages,” said Weis, who now has the “comeback kid” engaged at Horsham on Tuesday in a heat of a VicBred Series over 410 metres.

Meanwhile, another president in Rob Gore of the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club, also enjoyed success on the same day at Mount Gambier with Moonlight Storm.

Having her first start at Tara Raceway, Moonlight Storm led all the way from box eight in the Trackside Pet Meats Pick 6 Stake (512 m), running out a 6¾ length winner over Mr. Tandiki in 30.17 seconds.

“We actually brought her over for a confidence-boosting run and it really worked out well given the way the race panned out for her,” said Gore, involved in the sport for more than 30 years.

Bred by the owner-trainer, Moonlight Storm is by Mepunga Cruzer out of Colden Star, a daughter of Collision and the US-bred Express Links who won two races prior to relocating to Australia where she won a further six races.

Colden Star won 18 races, 10 of those wins being at Tara Raceway between 2016 and 2018 for Heathmere-based Roger and Bea Bryant who these days reside at Marrakai in the Northern Territory.

Colden Star’s first litter was by Mepunga Cruzer’s older full brother Mepunga Blazer (Barcia Bale x Mepunga Nicky) and bred by Bea Bryant.

This was a litter that turned out to be pretty successful and included Carry On Angel (23 wins, $185,000 in prize money), Carry On Liam (8, $56,000), Carry On Maxwell (8, $45,000), Carry On Star (12, $120,000) and Colden Dayto (14, $44,000).

“So when I was looking for a sire for Colden Star’s second litter I decided on Mepunga Cruzer, given his pedigree. Then it was a matter of hoping that she could come up with more of the same,” Gore said.

“I kept a dog and a bitch from the litter. Moonlight Storm has now won four races and as I’m pretty keen on the breeding side of greyhounds in due course I’ll be looking to breed a litter with her.”

Other winning members of the second litter include Carry On Jack (6, $22,000), Colden Mandella (8, $25,000), Colden Mina (8, $21,000) and Dinner’s On (6, $16,000).