According to Greyhound Racing SA records, it was back in 2009, after relocating the previous year from Branxholme in Victoria, that Tracie Price trained his first SA winner.
And by the time last Thursday’s seventh race had been run and won at Tara Raceway those GRSA records had the Compton-based trainer sitting on 999 winners.
The sense of occasion had not escaped Price.
But as right-hand man Kevin Patzel was leading Compton Ruby to the boxes for the following race, the Hyland Fox Stake (512 metres), Mount Gambier’s leading trainer was on his way to Angle Park with his kennel star Giant’s Flash.
Compton Ruby, a daughter of My Redeemer and Headline, did the right thing, though, scoring an easy six length win in a tidy 29.98 seconds.
Price, of course, had been training greyhounds long before 2009.
In fact, his first winner was in 1988 when Proud Priscilla, a son of Proud Paul and Priscilla, won a Juvenile Stake over 450 metres at Warrnambool.
“That was in my first year as a trainer when I finished with 19 winners,” he recalled.
“One of my most successful runners that year was Fullkiri Kate who won seven races from 13 starts.”
Bred at Serviceton by Claude Merrett, Fullkiri Kate boasted outstanding bloodlines, being a granddaughter of Border Fullkiri, a litter sister to SA superstars Bristol Sue and Ascapella Miss.
In an involvement spanning almost 35 years, Price rates his best dog as Giant’s Flash.
And the son of Banjo Boy x Navada Flame showed why last Thursday night at Angle Park when registering his third successive win over 595 metres at the city track.
“Not only has Giant’s Flash been a terrific dog for us but when he goes away to race at Angle Park he’s also been great promotion for greyhound racing in Mount Gambier.
“And I’m certainly proud to be a Mount Gambier trainer.”
One-dog trainer making up for lost time
Warrnambool-based Kevin Finn, one of the real gentlemen of greyhound racing, is finally making up for lost time with Orson Gift, the only dog he has in work.
Finn, and his daughter Marita (Byron), were over last Thursday with the son of Orson Allen x Mepunga Fame who was engaged in the Progreyhoundtips.com Stake over 400 metres.
After an ordinary start from box five, the black dog worked into second spot behind Zambora Jade before finishing strongly in the home straight for a two-length win in 23.56 seconds.
The win – Finn’s first at Tara Raceway in three years – was Orson Gift’s second for the month after he won his maiden over 390 metres at Ballarat on June 4.
Speaking after the win on Thursday, Byron said Orson Gift – a half-brother to the Group 1-winning Untapped – had come via Mepunga East-based breeder-owner Barry Smith, the man behind the “Mepunga” greyhounds.
“Barry had known that Dad was looking for a greyhound to train. So when one of the black dog pups from the litter did not appear as though he would measure up to city class it was suggested that he could be worth having a go with,” Byron said.
Come the end of November and Finn was dusting off the collar and lead in readiness for yet another return to the training ranks.
And runs at Geelong and Horsham in December kicked off the career of the Smith-bred youngster that had been appropriately named Orson Gift.
“Dad enjoys the involvement at the country tracks and likes to keep active so it’s been really pleasing that he has been able to get Orson Gift back on the track again and win a couple of races,” Byron said.
And Orson Gift was in for a well-deserved treat on the way home.
Byron said there was always a stop at Heywood to purchase a Dixie Cup ice cream for the greyhound on board when returning from Tara Raceway.