By David Lewis
FOR Branxholme-based Laughlan McLean, a 38-year-old truck driver/farm worker, come part-time greyhound trainer – and partner Taylor Marsh-Stewart – it has been a ripper of a year.
First, mid-year, there was the birth of their son Mahli prior to Malevolent Girl bursting onto the scene at Tara Raceway in August when winning a heat and the final of the Carlin and Gazzard Winter Classic over 512 metres.
She is the 26-month-old daughter of Sennachie x Won’t Stop Her McLean picked up as a three-month-old pup for $1500.
Later, he purchased a couple of black bitches from her second litter – by Zac Monelli and now 12 months old.
Malevolent Girl was back in Mount Gambier last week for heats of the Newman McDonnell Memorial, a time-honoured grade five series run over 512 metres.
She secured a spot in the final when defeating Four Longnecks in the fastest of the three heats – 29.94 seconds.
The McDonnell Memorial final never disappoints – it is always a terrific race and last Sunday was no exception, as Malevolent Girl headed to the boxes an even-money favourite.
She quickly put herself into the race when smartly away from box three, but down the back straight it was Federal Flash who established a big break over the favourite and Mister Banjo.
With a personal best time of 29.61 seconds, the white and brindle dog looked to be well on the way to giving Allendale East trainer David Peckham his fourth McDonnell Memorial success.
However, in the run home it was Malevolent Girl who finished powerfully when defeating Federal Flash by a half-length in 29.89 seconds.
In third spot, a further 1¼ lengths back, was the Tracie Price trained Mister Banjo.
“She’s a real little ripper,” an emotional McLean said after the race.
“She’s the sort of dog that just doesn’t like to be beaten and gives it her all.
“I just love her.”
He said he would now give serious consideration to returning to Tara Raceway for next month’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512m), heats of which will be run on December 10 and the final a week later.
Newman McDonnell was a member of the inaugural South Eastern Greyhound Racing Club committee that was formed on September 14, 1972 at a public meeting in Mount Gambier.
Seven years later when greyhound racing commenced in Mount Gambier out at the Glenburnie racecourse he was president of the club.
In attendance on Sunday for the 38th running of the Newman McDonnell Memorial were his daughter, Margaret Considine and her son and daughter, John and Mary.
Speaking at the presentation, Mrs Considine said greyhound racing in Mount Gambier had certainly evolved since her father’s involvement in those tumultuous times leading up to the opening meeting at Glenburnie in July 1979.
“From a racing point of view, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club with its twice-weekly race meetings is now really leading the way in the region,” she said.
“And with something like 24 races being beamed weekly into hotels, clubs and homes, as well as overseas, it could be said that the local greyhound racing club is taking Mount Gambier to the world.”