Back in the groove

NEWEST LIFE MEMBER: Limestone Coast Thoroughbred Racing president Justin Kain was on hand to present John O'Connor with his life membership of the association last week.

By David Gilbert

YOU can expect to see the name of trainer Wayne Walters appearing in form guides for meetings on both sides of the border on a regular basis from now on.

Walters had not had a runner in his name since returning from Sale earlier this year, but was recently given the all clear by the Mount Gambier Racing Club and Racing SA to fire up again.

He had his first runner at Penshurst last Saturday and another at Hamilton on Monday.

“Wayne has bided his time, done everything right and gone through the correct channels to resume training horses,” MGRC president Peter George stated.

While the course proper at Glenburnie is still out of bounds, the inner (or steeplechase) track is being opened more for the training of gallopers.

In the past it has always been the norm that Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday were the designated days for track gallops here.

“The inner track is now open on Fridays as well and, it is fair to say, it is proving more popular than Thursday’s,” George said.

“By having track gallops on Fridays, it gives local trainers the opportunity to use leading local rider Jacob Opperman as young Jacob is now committed to riding in Adelaide almost every Saturday.”

Tomorrow, Opperman heads in the opposite direction to ride the Lee Creek trained Royal Mile in the $200,000 Eclipse Stakes over 1800 metres at Caulfield.


PUNTERS who snapped up the early odds about the Greg Scholefield trained Stratofortress winning the final of the NR 55-69 series at Globe Derby Park last Saturday night are still laughing.

The four-year-old gelding looked a good thing from barrier two after winning his heat impressively and was duly backed from $2.10 into $1.60 favourite to win the final.

It was an early Christmas gift for his backers as Stratofortress was untroubled to lead all the way for concession driver Corey Johnson.

Trainer Andrew Clarke was another local to have success in Adelaide at the Globe Derby Park meeting on Monday with Give Us A Wink.

At his third run this campaign, Give Us A Wink justified his favourite status ($2.70) by leading all the way with Lisa Ryan in the sulky.

Trainer Steve Fennell and driver Jayson Finnis combined to take the honours at the local harness meeting last Friday night with doubles.

Both their winners – Miss Peggy O’Neill and Catch The Shark – were able to lead all of the way, as did the Kevin Von Duve trained Springfield Affair who made it successive wins at the Greenwald Paceway this month.

Drive of the night went to Kevin Brough who brought Eastbro Erin, the longest-priced winner on the program ($8.50-$6), from last at the bell and hardly went around another horse to win the final event by 3.5 metres.

It was not quite the fairy tale start to young Tom Rundle’s training career but a second on debut (with Milliondollarkiss) as a $31 chance (paying $7 for the place) was a mighty good effort.


In the structure of South Australian racing, clubs are split into three tiers namely metropolitan, provincial and country.

Gawler, Murray Bridge, Strathalbyn and Balaklava have held provincial status for as long as anyone can remember, then Mount Gambier and Port Lincoln were elevated from country to provincial status over 10 years ago.

This year, the prize money for the Gawler, Murray Bridge, Strathalbyn and Balaklava cups was boosted by $50,000 to over $100,000 each.

Strangely, no such increase has been forthcoming for either Port Lincoln or Mount Gambier.

You would think clubs that have the same status should be entitled to the same benefits.

Is it because Port Lincoln and Mount Gambier are the outer clubs of the six, being so far from Adelaide and perhaps not rated quite as highly by Racing SA officialdom?

Mount Gambier Racing Club president Peter George was able to shed some light as to why Mount Gambier has missed having its cup stakemoney more than doubled from the current $50,000.

“We have been told that it is Racing SA ‘s priority is to get Mount Gambier up and racing before any cup prize money increase is forthcoming,” he said.

“Don’t worry we are trying to get it (the increase) and we will be pushing very hard to achieve it.”

I am sure having a $100,000 Mount Gambier cup on April 1 next year would be welcomed by trainers, including those from Victoria as the Mount Gambier Cup (2050 metres) is a month prior to the much richer Warrnambool Cup (2200 metres).

Meanwhile, the good image Racing SA is trying to portray of SA racing was tarnished a tad last Friday at the Naracoorte races.

The racebooks for South Australian race meetings are printed in Adelaide and the batch that arrived at Naracoorte had all the form, but it was for Strathalbyn races two days earlier.


AT last week’s AGM for Limestone Coast Thoroughbred Racing at Naracoorte, Mingbool’s John O’Connor became the latest recipient of life membership for the association.

O’Connor recently retired following decades of administration service to both the Mount Gambier Racing Club and Limestone Coast Thoroughbred Racing.

“I am very humbled to receive life membership of LCTR as I have always believed that you don’t do these things for that sort of recognition,” O’Connor told The Border Watch.

“Racing has always been very good to me from the days of hunt clubs through to racing administration.”

It brought up the trio of life memberships bestowed upon O’Connor, having previously received similar recognition from both the MGRC and the Mount Gambier Hunt Club.


ADELAIDE racing was kind to both trainer Peter Hardacre and apprentice Jacob Opperman last Saturday.

Hardacre was in the winner’s stall after Tahnee Tradition ($5-$4.40) made it two wins from his past three starts in taking out the 1300-metre class two handicap.

Opperman rode his seventh city winner this season when he scored comfortably aboard the Patrick Payne trained Medieval Miss in race six.

Co-trainers Bob and Kane Post continue to churn out winners and came home from Penshurst last Saturday with a double, both ridden by Kate Walters.

Roll Me Away ($6) won the 1284-metre maiden, then Wongabelle ($6.50) was rewarded for recent placings with success in the 1476-metre maiden.

On Sunday at Warrnambool the Posts will saddle up the only South Australian runner (Zabextra) in the feature race, the 4600-metre $304,000 Jericho Cup.

Local racing was at Naracoorte last Friday and riding honours were shared by senior jockey Dominic Tourneur and apprentice Angus Chung with doubles.

Well-travelled Normanville trainer Dennis O’Leary also had a double with Wylie Ol’ Coyote and the well-backed Justa Jillaroo ($7-$4.60).

Horses to follow from Naracoorte are Shock Alert (third after being last into the straight) and Titan I Am (second at 90/1 after racing three wide all the way).


Sunday, 28/11: Warrnambool gallops (Jericho cup day).

Next Friday, 3/12: Penola gallops and Mount Gambier trots.