By David Lewis
CRUSH Your Enemy’s terrific win in last Sunday’s time-honoured Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 metres) at Tara Raceway continued Meningie trainer Tim Richards’ big year at the local track.
In what was the 36th running of the memorial, the black dog, in his customary racing pattern, used plenty of the track when working to the front down the back straight.
Turning for home and for a fleeting moment it appeared as though Moorak trainer Jason Newman was about to win his first feature race after Departure Gate took advantage of the room afforded him by the wide-running Crush Your Enemy.
Not to be, though.
The son of Aston Dee Bee and Molly Be Nimble was simply too strong in the run home, defeating Departure Gate by a half-length in 29.98 seconds.
A further 3½ lengths back in third spot was Newman’s race favourite Beatific.
As far as Mount Gambier is concerned, the 57-year-old Richards has come a long way since winning his first race at Tara Raceway in December 2017 with Allen Paul.
Justice For All, a litter brother to Crush Your Enemy, kicked off what has been the former fisherman’s best year locally when winning February’s Summer Classic (512m) in race record time of 29.59 seconds.
In September He’s All Purpose won a heat of the Mount Gambier division of the SA Country Cup (512m) in 29.69 seconds before becoming the first local representative to win the final at Angle Park on Adelaide Cup night.
On course last Sunday for the memorial were Newman McDonnell’s daughter Margaret Considine, her husband Ellis and daughters Mary and Emma.
At the presentation, Mrs Considine congratulated an appreciative Tim Richards and thanked the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club for its long-time support of the race.
She also congratulated the club on its track and facilities, remarking every time she attends Tara Raceway further improvements have been made.
By the time the Newman McDonnell Memorial came around Richards had already won two races with He’s On Fire and He’s All Purpose.
He’s On Fire, a son of On Fire and She’s A Looper, displayed his customary early speed when leading all the way from box six to defeat a fast-finishing Compulsory Hero by 2¾ lengths in 23.08 seconds in the Williams Crane Hire Juvenile Stake (400m).
He’s On Purpose, out of the winner’s list at his four starts since the Country Cup, bounced back to form with a quick win in the Gambier Vets Stake (400m) over Aston Marlon by 3¾ lengths.
The son of Aston Dee Bee and Purpose Driven set up the race with a 10.58 seconds first split when leading all the way and recording a time of 22.66 seconds.
The time compares favourably to another Richards-owned and trained greyhound in Almighty Stripe who ran a track record 22.55 seconds (first split 10.55 seconds) on April 4 this year.
Come race 11, the Swallow Drive Meats Mixed Stake (512m), and Richards was after a best-ever four wins for the day at Tara Raceway with Two Hands George, another littermate to the memorial winner.
In the end the black dog cut things pretty fine.
After chasing Midnight Daisy for the greater part of the journey, it was a case of Two Hands George grabbing the leader on the line for a head win in 30.01 seconds.
So, with three feature wins, a track record, four trebles and now four winners last Sunday, the big year at Tara Raceway is certainly continuing for Tim Richards.
Meanwhile, Compton trainer Tracie Price, after leading in the Ian Badger Leading Trainer award until earlier this month when David Peckham of Allendale East took over, has regained the lead.
This followed last Sunday’s meeting when Price, for the fifth time this year, also trained four winners – Starlight Sophie, Urana Meat Loaf, Right Way and Starlight Dusty.
Price, who was Mount Gambier’s leading trainer in 2016 with 78 winners and again in 2018 with 137, this year has trained 116 winners, 103 seconds and 104 thirds for a total of 774 points.
Peckham, leading trainer with 128 winners in 2019 and 134 last year, sits on a total of 762 points, made up of 120 wins, 95 seconds and 92 thirds.