Newcomers raise the bar

BEST ON TRACK: Tracie Price and Mount Gambier club manager Mark Dwyer with Whole Way after his win in the Nellie Noodles New Year’s Gift.

MARK and Catherine Roberts’ decision to make the trip over to Mount Gambier for Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting last week certainly paid dividends.

It was the first time at the local track for the Terang-based couple who currently have 11 dogs in work on their four-acre property.

But it’s a fair bet it won’t be their last time over after Catherine was successful with Asquith Bale and Foxtrot Tango while Mark wrapped up the day with a win in the final race with Shim’s Heart.

“We’d heard that Mount Gambier was a nice place to race at so once the borders reopened we decided we’d give it a go.

I have to say it definitely lived up to our expectations,” said Mark.

Asquith Bale, a daughter of US sire Kinda Cruel Red and Lyka Allen virtually led all the way in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 metres) when defeating Aston Mateo by 1½ lengths in 23.66 seconds.

Now with her fourth trainer, she was picked up by the Roberts as a giveaway in July last year.

The win was their second with the brindle bitch after a win at Warrnambool over 390 metres last November.

Having only his eighth start – his second for the Roberts kennel – Foxtrot Tango turned in one of the best performances of the day in the Bartholomew Pick 6 Stake (512 m).

Owned by Lara breeder Shane Fisher, the white and blue dog took the lead down the back straight before dashing away for a nine length win over Ivory Boy in 30.06 seconds.

The win was Foxtrot Tango’s first since relocating to Terang in November and followed on from a maiden win at Sandown Park in August.

He’s by another US sire in SE Tali Sundance out of the smart chaser Hashtag Selfie who traces back to former Adelaide breeder Bob Irvine’s prolific “Coulta” line.

Shim’s Heart brought up the Roberts’ treble when coming from a long way back to defeat Bungaloo Sarah by two lengths in the Metal Worx Stake (512 m) in 30.62 seconds.

Purchased last year for $3000, Shim’s Heart is by Shima Bar out of Nova Heart and a litter sister to Kevin Ward’s Tiger Time.

A winner of 18 races, Tiger Time ran a terrific race to finish fourth behind Zipping Zarbo in last year’s Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup final.

And it was certainly a good end to the year for Mark and Catherine Roberts after Hunca Munca, a nicely bred daughter of My Redeemer x Spare Cash, had won at Ballarat and Geelong earlier in the month.

Fast times were the order of the day at the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s opening meeting for 2022 at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

But for all that, Nellie Noodles’ long standing record of 43.45 seconds, recorded at the Mount Gambier Cup meeting back on March 27, 2011, continues to stand the test of time.

With last Sunday’s Nellie Noodles New Year’s Gift (732 metres) highlighted by the inclusion of Frankie Boy, a winner of his past four starts over 730 metres at Angle Park, a track record certainly didn’t appear to be out of the question.

Then there was also Tracie Price’s Whole Way, the son of Spring Gun x Springvale Hope the second-fastest dog to race over the distance at Tara Raceway after recording a time of 43.37 seconds on November 7 last year.

Shortly after the start, though, Frankie Boy – a winner of $36,000 in only 15 starts – was severely checked and probably out of contention.

Whole Way, on the other hand, was bowling along out in front and looking the likely winner.

And that’s how it played out, Whole Way hanging on to win by a length from Mick’s Kimmy while Frankie Boy made up a stack of ground to finish 2½ lengths back in third spot in 43.66 seconds.

Raced by Adelaide owners Daniella Madalinski and Michael Ceravolo, the winner has been a model of consistency at Tara Raceway since joining the Compton-based Price’s kennels last October.

All told, Whole Way has raced on 12 occasions at Tara Raceway for six wins ranging from 400 metres to 732 metres and six minor placings.

The Nellie Noodles New Year’s Gift was run in recognition of the daughter of Flying Penske x Classy Creek who recorded the 732 metre record when defeating Bowstreet Secret by 17½ lengths in what would be her last win in a 35-start career.

It was a big start to the year for Price.

Charley Davidson won the Todd’s Photographics Masters Stake (305 m) and for Minnie Banjo it was her third successive 400 metre win at Tara Raceway in the Hyland Fox Stake.

Making it four wins for the day was former WA chaser Rhonda Lily who gave promise of bigger and better things to come when leading all the way in the Trackside Meats Stake (512 m) to defeat Compton Brett in a quick 29.59 seconds.