Dual cup finalist back from the brink - Mt Gambier Recap

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Dual cup finalist back from the brink

For part-owners Jason Newman and Melissa Freitag of Moorak and Murray Bridge-based Derek Anderson it’s been a long road that has no turning as far as their luckless greyhound Mr. Anderson has been concerned.

A son of Bernardo and Dusseldorp, the red fawn dog was a finalist in last year’s Group 3 Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres) won by Titan Blazer after defeating Wharfie in a heat in a time of 29.41 seconds.

Then, later in the year Mr. Anderson, who was bred at Allendale East by David Peckham, defeated Mac’s Damage in a heat of the Group 2 Bendigo Cup (425 m). The final was ultimately won by Alpha Zulu in 23.49 seconds.

Not long after was when the rot set in. He won at Horsham over 485 metres in 27.24 seconds but in doing so earned the displeasure of the stewards with a failing to chase suspension.

“At the time Mr. Anderson was being trained at Avalon in Victoria by Danny Gibbons,” Newman said. “And while he quickly passed a satisfactory trial at Geelong it wasn’t long after that he injured a back leg muscle.

“All told he was off the scene for something like seven months. And, to be honest, when he did finally return to the trial track he looked to be a broken dog when running 24.40 seconds over 400 metres at Tara Raceway.

“But by the time he resumed over 342 metres at Angle Park early this month he had lowered his trial times by a considerable amount.”

When Mr. Anderson stepped out at Mount Gambier last Sunday from box one in the Metal Worx Open Stake (400 m) it had been his first time at the local track under race conditions since the 2023 Mount Gambier Cup final on April 2.

And he’d come a long way in that seven months. Leading all the way, he held out Tracie Price’s smart pair of Wilder and Myall Jack to win by 2½ lengths in 22.91 seconds – an equal personal best time.

“He’s now an SA dog and will see out his racing days here at Moorak. But after what he’s been through we’re more than happy with that,” said Newman.

For Mortlake owner-trainer Peter Franklin it’s not quite like his halcyon days at Tara Raceway when greyhounds such as Ireland’s Oyster, Mojito Mayhem and McIvor Verna were carving out track records for over 400, 512 and 600 metres.

Also, thrown in for good measure were a Mount Gambier Cup and a couple of Anniversary Cups won by Mojito Mayhem.

But for all that, Franklin is doing pretty well at Tara Raceway with his giveaway greyhound Moonlight Kiss, a daughter of Orson Allen and Mepunga Fame, a winner of 16 races and $92,000 in prize money.

Drawn in box one, the white and black bitch was chasing her eighth win at Tara Raceway when taking on a handy field of grade five greyhounds in last Sunday’s Gambier Vets Stake (512 m).

Settling in second spot, the rising 4½-year-old Moonlight Kiss railed through on Saint Tommy off the back before running out a 2½ length winner over Honey Rocks in a best of day 29.75 seconds.

In Franklin’s kennels since August 2022, this is another story of patience and perseverance.

“She had raced in August 2023 before tearing a hip support – not once but twice. Finally, I opted to relocate her to where she would be housed in a long run and continue to be active.

“All up, this turned out to be a nine-month exercise with Moonlight Kiss resuming at Horsham in May 2024 and her win on Sunday coming at her fourth start back.”

Franklin said he was now giving serious consideration to breeding with Moonlight Kiss, given her strength and bloodlines.

“As far as a sire goes, I’m looking at Silver Brute, a son of Aston Dee Bee and Weeping Lass and still racing for Cape Clear owner-trainer Gary Peach.

“All told, Silver Brute has raced on 99 occasions for 63 wins and close to $300,000 in prize money. He’s predominantly a short-course dog but with Moonlight Kiss possessing plenty of strength I thought it could be an interesting match-up.”

Meanwhile, Just Alfie, raced by the Bartholomew family of Worrolong and trained at Finniss by Lauren Harris, strung together his third successive win at Angle Park on Monday night.

Stepping up to 595 metres for the first time, the son of Hooked On Scotch and former top stayer Miss Bellawood never looked in any danger of defeat when scoring a 7½ length win over $1.90 chance Baez Jinx in 34.56 seconds.


Long-time trainer put to the test

Long-time Koroit trainer Peter Keane probably thought he was doing his five grandkids a favour when he purchased a three-month-old greyhound pup for them back in February 2022.

But the Keane kids, Jai 14, Byron 12 and Freya 10, along with Clay and Grace McKenzie, 10 and 8, have had a few birthdays since grandpa purchased the daughter of Shima Shine and Lulumon from Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club president Rob Gore.

The 2¾-year-old black bitch was having only her sixth race start when lining up in last Thursday’s Todd’s Photographics Maiden Stake (400 metres) at Mount Gambier’s time-graded meeting.

After settling in second spot from box four, Tested, as she is now known, finished strongly in the home straight when running down Moon Stroller for a 1½ length win in 23.54 seconds.

“I reckon she’s well named,” said Keane. “She didn’t start racing until she was 2½ years old after requiring two operations for grass seeds. To be honest, I was starting to wonder whether she would ever hit the track. For sure, she did test me.”

Other members of the litter to have recently won at Tara Raceway have been Handy Molone for Gore and his wife Linda and Peter Franklin’s Moonlight Sid.

Thursday regulars Julie Green of Parwan and Michael Niele of Berringa ended the day with doubles when outsiders Lorelle Soldier and Big Deb Osti won the Fast Forward heats over 400 metres.

Lorelle Soldier, a daughter of Zipping Garth and Speculate, won her maiden for Green at Tara Raceway in August last year over 400 metres in a steady 24.44 seconds.

And it would be a further 38 starts before she won again last week when leading all the way from box one in the Trackside Pet Meats Pick 6 Fast Forward TG1-4W Stake. On this occasion she defeated Tony Hinrichsen’s kennelmates Bomber Fury and Wrong Way Fury in 23.71 seconds.

Big Deb Osti and Gracie Pacey staged a great battle early in the second of the two heats, the Produce Store Fast Forward TG1-4W. But in the run home it was Niele’s daughter of Bernardo x Eureka Osti who held out Moe Them Down for a 1¼ length win in 23.62 seconds.

The first leg of Green’s double was in the Gambier Vets Maiden Stake (305 m) when Sisters New never looked like losing after flying the start and then running out a seven length winner over Harpooned in 18.07 seconds.

Raced by NSW owner Frank Cremona, the pint-sized Sisters New is a nicely bred daughter of Fernando Bale and Front Page News and opened her winning account at start number nine.

The double was Green’s third at Tara Raceway this year. Previously, Sudoku Shirley and Sweet Julie had been successful on May 9 and Sudoku Jade and Gracie Pacey on May 30.

For Niele, last week’s winning day kicked off with an impressive Bridgewater Bob leading all the way from box four in the Greg Martlew Autos TG5+W Stake (400 m) for a 2½ length win over Bourne Nancy in 23.12 seconds.

A winner at his previous start at Warrnambool, Bridgewater Bob has now won 10 races. By Bernardo, the black dog is out of Spirited Bingle who is one of Mount Gambier’s leading dams this year.

Niele has now trained 16 winners at Tara Raceway this year. This includes a treble and three doubles.

Velocity Lotus, last successful at Tara Raceway in November, was back among the winners last week when knocking over a handy field in the Icon Signs 5+W Stake (512 m) for Moorak owner-trainer Jason Newman.

Chasing her 15th win, the daughter of Keybow and Velocity Charm opened up a handy early lead and never really looked like being beaten when defeating Warringah Bale by 1¼ lengths in 29.93 seconds.

“It’s been a while between drinks for her,” Newman said. “But I’m putting her lack of winning form down to an extended season which certainly didn’t do her too many favours.”


When you’re on a good thing, stick to it!

Branxholme owner-trainer Laughlan McLean’s decision back at the end of 2021 to purchase a three-month-old pup by Sennachie out of four-race winner Won’t Stop Her from Kilmany breeder Justin Bowman didn’t work out too badly.

Costing $1500, the black bitch subsequently raced as Malevolent Girl. And in a racing career cut short by injury, she won eight races from only 24 starts at Mount Gambier, Warrnambool and Horsham for more than $22,000 in prize money.

It was at Mount Gambier’s Tara Raceway that she went particularly well, defeating Top Cadillac in last year’s age-restricted Winter Classic (512 metres). A couple of months later, she then beat Federal Flash in the long-running Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 m).

In November 2022, Won’t Stop Her – a daughter of Fabregas x Never Ask – whelped a second litter, this time to Zack Monelli. And McLean was quick to jump in and purchase a couple more pups.

Recently, the two black bitches – Identify As and Condah Express – kicked off their racing careers at Tara Raceway with the former opening her winning account in the Carlin & Gazzard Maiden Stake (400 m) on Sunday, June 2.

Having her third start, Identify As found the front in what was a roughly-run race and held on to beat Bungaloo Bruiser by a half-length in a time of 24.11 seconds. But McLean’s not getting too carried away just yet.

“Look, she’s got a fair way to go yet. But she’s still very young and has kicked off her racing career with very little field experience so hopefully there’s still plenty of improvement in her.

“And as far as Malevolent Girl is concerned, I’m now looking to mate her with Bernardo, whose bloodlines of KC And All and Surfonic I believe will match up really well.”