An appropriate win for Agnes

BREAKTHROUGH: John Cameron pictured with Agnes, his first winner at Tara Raceway in four years.

By David Lewis

AFTER overcoming some significant health issues, Penshurst owner-trainer John Cameron last Sunday made a welcome return to Tara Raceway.

While he looked pretty good, it has to be said that he looked even better after his first starter Agnes won the Exchange Printers Maiden Stake over 305 metres.

Also bred by Cameron, Agnes led all the way from box one, eventually running out a 4¼ lengths winner over Helping Hands in 18.05 seconds, the fastest of the three maiden 305m events.

By Lightning Frank, Agnes, a March 2020 whelping, is out of Fascinated who raced on 93 occasions for Cameron for two wins at Warrnambool and 10 at Tara Raceway.

Fascinated is a daughter of Hutmaker and Spellbound, a winner of 24 races, 15 of those in Mount Gambier in 2012-2013 for Cassandra Billington of Portland.

Billington’s daughter, Caitlin, owns Agnes’s litter brother Lightning Loki who has run four minor placings for Portland trainer Brian Weis.

Mrs. Cameron, another member of the litter, won her maiden at Tara Raceway last month for Nifty Lenehan of Portland.

According to Cameron – whose last winner at Tara Raceway was four years ago with Fascinated – Agnes’s first-up success yesterday could not have come on a better day.

“She was named after my late mother, so with the win being on Mother’s Day it was certainly in keeping with the occasion,” he said.

Twice a Group 1 winner, Lightning Frank later sired his second winner for the day when Marie’s Angel chased kennelmate Minnie Banjo for much of the journey in the Commercial Hotel Grade 5 final over 512 metres.

But Marie’s Angel finished too strongly for the 400-metre record holder when running out a half-length winner in a best-of-day 29.98 seconds.

Raced by Dan Madden – a part-owner of Lightning Frank in his racing days – and Tom Sinnott, who bred Marie’s Angel, the daughter of Cette Away was the middle leg of a running treble for Compton trainer Tracie Price.

Kicking off yet another big day for Tara Raceway’s leading trainer was Mepunga Gem who landed his first win at the track when narrowly defeating Bungaloo Danni by a neck in 35.81 seconds in the Williams Crane Hire Stake over 600 metres.

Simply Chaos, stepping out over 512 metres for the first time this year, brought up the third win when leading all the way and defeating Tapering Off by 5¾ lengths in the Todd’s Photographics Stake in 30.07 seconds.

Also landing a treble was Meningie trainer Tim Richards who enjoyed his best day at Tara Raceway since November 21 last year when he trained four winners – He’s On Fire, He’s All Purpose, Crush Your Enemy and Two Hands George.

He kicked off last Sunday’s meeting with an all-the-way win with Celtic Lore over Odie Mac in the Winning Post Supplies Maiden Stake (305m) in 18.31 seconds.

By Sennachie, the red fawn bitch is out of Adelaide Bale, a three-time The Meadows winner.

Speaking after the race, Richards said it was purely by chance he picked up the unraced October 2020 whelping.

“Apparently the plan was that she was going into the Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) program but I figured she could be worth a try on the track, especially given that at the time she had been only 17 months old,”he said.

Richards’ second winner came in the Swallow Drive Meats Maiden/One Win Stake (400m) after Spinning Pixie – a kennelmate and litter sister to Mount Gambier’s 2021 SA Country Cup winner He’s All Purpose – was an eight-length winner over Saint Ollie in 23.24 seconds.

Completing the treble was Butter Up Again who led all the way from box six in the Metal Worx Mixed Stake (512m).

By Aston Dee Bee out of Molly Be Nimble, she held out kennelmate and litter brother Crush Your Enemy to win by a neck in 30.24 seconds.