Never look a gift horse in the mouth

VALUE FOR MONEY: Giveaway greyhound High Kings made an impressive debut at Tara Raceway last week for Allendale East trainer David Peckham.

By David Lewis

AS local greyhound Squishy Pea’s racing career draws to a close, Allendale East trainer David Peckham and the Nineofus Syndicate, who have won 16 races with the son of Fernando Bale x Secret Spell, will hope High Kings can fill the void.

Squishy Pea, having won 10 races on Victorian tracks, was picked up last year as a giveaway by the syndicate after previous owners Peter and Cheryl Sutcliffe looked to make room for some younger stock.

Needless to say, syndicate manager Ross Schurgott was more than interested after receiving a text out of the blue last month from Cheryl Sutcliffe informing him of another giveaway they were looking to move on.

“It turns out the dog in question was High Kings and while his recent form had not been anything special, he had won eight provincial races in Victoria including a couple at Sandown Park,” Schurgott said.

Anyway, we figured we didn’t have much to lose.”

He is by Barcia Bale out of the Spiral Nikita bitch Fantastic Blaze who raced on only seven occasions for maiden heat and final wins over 535 metres at Richmond (NSW).

A litter brother to Fantastic Blaze is Fantastic Spiral, a winner of 24 races and $204,000 in stakemoney.

High Kings stepped out for the first time at Tara Raceway last week in the 400-metre JB Irrigation Stake, with Peckham anything but confident after saying the black and white dog had trialled “only fairly” leading up to the race.

However, for all that and despite chasing his first win in six months, High Kings was able to lead all the way from box four, holding out kennelmate Connie’s Entity in the run to the line to win by three-quarters of a length in 23.82 seconds.

The win at the nice odds of $7 was the second leg of a running double for Peckham after Keen One led all the way in the 400-metre Greg Martlew Autos Open Stake – his fifth consecutive win at Tara Raceway after being interspersed with second placings at Angle Park and Murray Bridge.

Keen One’s four lengths win over kennelmate Our Man Zed took his overall tally at the local track this year to 10 wins, six seconds and one third for a total of 53 points in the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year award.

He is now only one point behind the leader Perseverance.

Purchased as a pup by Malcolm Keenan of Tarpeena, the win was the 11th overall – all at Tara Raceway – for the black son of Dyna Villa and Precious Prize.

For Keenan and his wife Nuran, the self-confessed groupies of Keen One, it had been a case of clocking up plenty of kilometres in a bid to see him also win at either Angle Park or Murray Bridge.

So far it had not happened.

But they were back at Murray Bridge last Sunday night when he looked well placed in a grade six event over 395 metres, especially after drawing box one.

Keen One made a real mess of the start, though, Keenan probably immediately thinking of that long drive home down the never-ending highway.

However, in the end it was his class which won out with the sizeable 37-kilogram chaser finishing strongly when defeating Flying Clarice by 1¼ lengths in 22.73 seconds.

Finally, the Keenans had their away win and all of a sudden the drive home was going to be a breeze.

While last week’s Klaassens Contractors Stake was only a maiden 400-metre event, the race did have special significance for Gifford Hill trainer Tony Rasmussen after Kakariki was successful.

Kakariki handled herself well in what was a rough-house affair, the white and black bitch grabbing Fiddly in the shadows of the post to bring up her first success at start number four.

Raced by the Razza Racing Syndicate, the win was a real family affair, wife Lisa breeding the Hukanui x Keely Allen litter – the first to be sired by their 2018 SA Sprint Champion.

By US sire Kelsos Fusileer out of SA bitch Daddy’s Muffin, Hukanui was a terrific race dog for the Rasmussens, going around on 103 occasions for 26 wins and close to $100,000 in stakemoney.

Meanwhile, with border restrictions by and large still in place, racing continues on Thursday afternoons at the Lake Terrace East venue with canteen and bar facilities.

However, there are no TAB facilities on track.

Account holders can place bets via phone, laptop, etc. with TAB and other corporate bookmakers.