Rookie trainer lands first winner

WINNING STREAK: Brynn (left), Patrick, Jodi and Rileigh, who enjoyed their day at the dogs, caught up with Right Way, Tracie Price’s fourth winner of the day.

David Lewis

IT was only 12 months ago that Branxholme owner-trainer Laughlan McLean was at Tara Raceway with his first greyhound – Granny Said Go.

While she ran a few placings, he soon opted to move her on to another kennel in order to spend more time with a black dog pup by Aston Dee Bee that he had purchased from NSW.

The pup, whelped in May 2020 and now racing as Diego, made his debut over 305 metres at the Mount Gambier track last Sunday.

In a dashing display, he soon rounded up the Maiden Stake field, before racing away for a 5¾ lengths win in 18.12 seconds.

For McLean this was his first win, the 36-year-old attributing much of the success to his mentor – well known greyhound man Phil Lenehan of Toolong.

“It was purely by chance that one night, prior to becoming actively involved, I bumped into Phil at the Warrnambool dogs.

“He’s been a tremendous help ever since,” said McLean.

“When I told him I was looking for a pup he suggested I give serious consideration to Aston Dee Bee as a sire.

“Later, I purchased Diego as a pup through an advertisement posted on Greyhound Data.

“Since then it’s been a real hands-on exercise” he said.

He came down by road from Sydney and I picked him up at Geelong. Then I reared and broke-in Diego myself prior to taking on the training.”

Diego’s dam is eight-race NSW winner It’s A Shame, a daughter of Collision x Ritza Rita, and a litter sister to Rita’s Boy who won 24 races and $140,000 in stake money.

And McLean will soon be making another trip to Geelong, to pick up a pup from It’s A Shame’s second litter, this time by Ritza Lenny.

The Tara Raceway Bartholomew Pick 6 $500 jackpot was shared last Sunday when Kevin Jones and Steve Patzel – both regular contestants – successfully picked the winners of the six nominated races.

The Pick 6 was last won in April 2019 when Patzel’s brother, Kevin, selected School Report, Black Spring, Wanchai Express, China Catch ‘Em, Ben Nevis and Lektra Brandy.

Sponsored by Steve and Lee Bartholomew, who add $10 to the pool each week, the Pick 6 is a long-running free competition that requires on-course patrons to select the winners of races three through to eight.

Three short-priced winners in the form of Charley Davidson ($1.45), Departure Gate ($1.75) and Mini Banjo ($2.00) would have seen a few players still in the mix at the half-way mark.

But by the time Lektra Moon ($4.80) and Attuned ($2.15) had won the next two, only Jones and Patzel were left.

All that was needed now was for Shady Past, a $4.50 chance in a tough race, to do the right thing.

After a stirring battle in the home straight, finally the Pick 6 had once again been won.

In the Rock’s Tavern Stake (305 metres) Charley Davidson continued his recent stranglehold on Masters events at Tara Raceway last Sunday when winning his third consecutive race for greyhounds 3¾ years and over.

Having his 100th start, the son of Barcia Bale x Oriental Jewel brought up his 19th win, much to the delight of three of his Horsham-based owners – Matt, Shannon and Dyllan – members of the Matt Moose Bazza Shannon Dyllan Syndicate and on track for the race.

Charley Davidson has been in the syndicate’s ownership since June 2020 when Horsham trainer Bill Hartigan took over the black dog.

In September last year he was transferred to Tracie Price’s Compton kennels.

And another former Horsham greyhound in Minnie Banjo – now also trained by Price – brought up her fifth consecutive win when defeating Aston Dijon by eight lengths in the Hyland Fox Mixed Stake (400 m).

Laharum-based Garry Harding, part-owner and former trainer of the daughter of Banjo Boy x Navada Flame, watched on with considerable interest as Minnie Banjo carved out a winning time of 22.62 seconds – only a length outside Almighty Stripe’s track record.

With Attuned and Right Way also winning on Sunday, it was the second consecutive week that Price has trained four winners.

Another greyhound to run near-record time at the meeting was Departure Gate, trained at Moorak by Jason Newman who has also started the year off well with doubles at both Sunday meetings.

Departure Gate’s win over Starlight Dusty in the Commercial Hotel Mixed Stake (600 m) in 34.89 seconds was only 1½ lengths outside Pirate’s Curse’s track record of 34.79 seconds.