By David Lewis
IT is anyone’s guess just how the Exchange Printers Anniversary Cup final, run at Mount Gambier’s Tara Raceway, would have panned out but for severe interference going out of the first turn.
What we do know is that by the time the dust settled, three greyhounds – Maximum Refusal (David Peckham), Close Your Eyes (Nicole Stanley) and Tandiki (Tracie Price) – were going to fight out the finish of the 512-metre event.
Allendale East-based Peckham was chasing his first Anniversary Cup, Stanley, of Portland, her third after Fiorelli Rose and Ben Nevis in 2017 and 2018, while Price, who trains out at Compton, won last year’s event with Spring Cuervo.
Down the back Tandiki was last of the trio but given her customary powerful finishing burst she was always going to be the one to beat.
In the race that celebrated 42 years of greyhound racing in the South-East, she was simply too strong in the run home.
On the line she had two lengths to spare over Maximum Refusal, with a further 4½ lengths back to Close Your Eyes in a time of 29.75 seconds.
Price, in recent times twice Mount Gambier’s top trainer, leads the way in this year’s Ian Badger Trainer of the Year award with 72 wins at Tara Raceway.
By now, well and truly versed in presentation race procedure, he expressed his thanks to Kath Matthias and her crew at Exchange Printers for their valued sponsorship of the cup.
He thanked the South East Greyhound Racing Club/Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club which conducted the first race meeting at Glenburnie on Saturday, July 21, 1979.
He also thanked his wife Karen and his team at the Compton kennels for their untiring efforts.
Price also touched briefly on Tandiki and the setbacks she encountered that resulted in her being off the scene for the first three months of this year.
In fact it was not until May 9 she opened her winning account for the year when defeating Rough Pearl in a grade five final over 512 metres.
Since then she has raced on a further nine occasions for seven wins and two seconds at Tara Raceway.
Without doubt, Tandiki has been one of the real feel-good stories to come out of local greyhound racing this year.
By Peter Rocket out of Headline, Tandiki was also bred by Price.
Taking a liking to the breed and looking for a dog and a bitch were local owners Michael Robinson and Willie Vossen who previously had combined to race Bekim Lucy’s, a winner of 11 races and also bred and trained by Price.
As far as the dog was concerned there was only a black male left – later to race as Rocketline.
But in relation to the females there were three white and black ones to choose from.
Sometimes you get lucky.
Robinson’s involvement in greyhound racing goes back to that first meeting in July all those years ago at Glenburnie where he was a spectator.
A couple of years later he was training some of Newman McDonnell’s lesser-light “Tara” greyhounds in partnership with Steve Bartholomew.
Incidentally, in the 1990s, both Robinson and Bartholomew were awarded Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club life membership.
In 1982, Robinson joined the greyhound stewards’ panel at Glenburnie before becoming the chief steward in 1987.
This was a role he then held until retiring from the position six months prior to the introduction of TAB racing at Tara Raceway in 2012.
So, given Tandiki’s local upbringing by way of her breeder-rearer-trainer and her owners, it is probably fair to say this year’s Anniversary Cup, for all its sensationalism, turned out to be an appropriate result.