It’s been a bit over 12 months since Glencoe greyhound General Max was beating smart types such as Sweet On Me and Perseverance in quick times over 400 metres at Tara Raceway.
In fact, by July the brindle dog had won 11 races.
But that’s when the rot set in, trainer Dean Fennell saying a frustrating run of injuries resulted in General Max being off the scene for something like four months.
By Worm Burner out of Miss Hodge, he’s the dog that Fennell’s son Hayden purchased as a pup from Ecklin South breeder Peter Fulton.
With the dam unplaced at her only three starts, Fennell Jnr was the first to admit there was no science applied in the selection process.
“No, there was certainly no poring over pedigrees; all I wanted was a pup by Worm Burner,” he said.
When General Max lined up at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting last Thursday from box one in the Bourne Kennels Stake, a 5+ wins event over 400 metres, it had been on the back of two runs this month.
Dean Fennell’s patience finally paid off when General Max took up the early running with a 10.66 seconds first split.
From then on he never looked like being beaten as he careered away to his first win since July 2.
The 5 lengths win over Wild Slammer in 23.07 seconds was pretty handy and now has Fennell contemplating a third Formula 400 win at next month’s Mount Gambier Cup carnival after previously being successful in 2019 with Whatta Knocka and in 2016 with Cerrone.
And Hayden Fennell’s choice of sire was spot on with General Max one of three winners on the day for Worm Burner – currently in second spot on the local leading sires’ list behind Fernando Bale – after littermates Alpaca Delilah and Chloe Burner were also successful.
Meanwhile, Mediation, owned and trained in Mount Gambier by Noel Perry, also found winning form again when leading all the way in the Klaassens Contractors 1-4 wins Stake (400 m), effortlessly defeaingt Revved Up Rocket by 9 lengths in a personal best 23.16 seconds.
The son of SH Avatar and the unraced Cairnlea Shadow had won two races at Tara Raceway in September last year before a back leg muscle injury sustained the following month saw him sidelined until early this year.
Thursday had been his sixth run back, the black dog seemingly responding to a change of tactics instigated by Perry who currently is recovering from a knee operation.
“He’s certainly needed a few runs to get him back into some sort of shape,” he said.
“But before Thursday’s race I decided to give him a bit of extra work behind my drag lure at the slipping track and he did go a lot better.”
First litters for classy performers
David Peckham and his team at Allendale East’s Bourne Kennels are stretched to the limit at the moment following classy bitches Shima Breeze and Venus And Mars recently whelping to Barcia Bale (3 dogs, 4 bitches) and Fernando Bale (4, 2).
Owned atv Munno Para West by Tim Aloisi, part-owner and trainer of Sunset Milo, who won the 2020 Bourne Kennels Mount Gambier Cup, Shima Breeze boasts impeccable bloodlines, being by Fernando Bale out of Shimaguni, a winner of 21 races and $209,000 in stakemoney.
All told, the brindle bitch raced on 52 occasions for 25 wins, 17 minor placings and $108,000 in stakemoney.
She won at Group Listed level and was placed at Group 2 and Group 3.
Shima Breeze finished her racing career with Peckham, her last three starts being wins at Tara Raceway where she ran a track record of 16 seconds over the now-discontinued 277 metres.
Her other two wins, both over 400 metres, were in sub-23 second times.
Venus And Mars, owned at Gepps Cross by Jason Churchman, also ended her racing career with Peckham.
Her last four starts were at Tara Raceway where she recorded two wins and two seconds, one of her wins being the Sunset Kitchen Community feature in December.
By Kinloch Brae out of West On Delly, a daughter of the prolific producer West On Bluebird, Venus And Mars raced on 84 occasions for 11 wins and $74,000 in stakemoney.