Hobby trainer prospers

August was a busy month for Ashleigh Kay and her first racing greyhound, Mr Spock, who she took over in early July.

The 31-year-old Tea Tree Gully office worker come hobby trainer made her first trip to Mount Gambier’s Tara Raceway on August 1 when Mr Spock finished fifth to Under Study over 512 metres.

Four runs then followed at Murray Bridge before she returned to Mount Gambier with her black dog, a son of Moreira and Venetian Mask, and bred by Wally Harkins of Reynella.

Harkins greatest claim to fame is as the breeder-owner-trainer of champion stayer Sir Truculent who has won 41 races and $410,000 in stakemoney.

Lining up from box four in last Thursday’s Swallow Drive Meats 5+ Wins Stake (400 metres), Mr Spock, while no Sir Truculent, worked home well to finish four lengths third behind Glenville Rose in 23.40 seconds.

That was Kay’s fourth minor placing for the month with her dog.

And while still chasing her first winner, she reckoned there could finally be light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s certainly a long drive down here by oneself but I was really pleased with his run today.Provided he pulls up alright I think I’ll look to come back next week,” she said.

“I’m sure if I can win my first race with him then the drive home will be so much less stressful.”

Kay said her involvement in greyhound racing had come about through a love of athletic dogs.

“Previously I had been involved in sled dog racing. Mr Spock came to me by way of Michael Stewart and Tamica Dunn of Palmer.

“And I have to say they have been terrific in their mentoring of me in regard to my introduction into greyhound racing.”

Plenty in reserve for Paradise Five
It took a while, 19 starts in fact, but after running 14 minor placings Paradise Five finally broke through for her first win at last Thursday’s Tara Raceway time-graded meeting in the Winning Post Supplies Maiden Stake (400 metres).

Gaining a start as a reserve, Paradise Five took up the running down the back straight from Bungaloo Ebony before going on to a comfortable 3¼ lengths win in 23.56 seconds.

The daughter of Worm Burner and former Tara Raceway 512 metres record holder Thanks Tubby is raced by local owner Kevin “KD” Douglas in partnership with David Peckham who trains the winner at Allendale East.

Paradise Five was named by five Douglas family members – Matt and Carmen and KD’s three grandchildren Noah, Eli and Xavier – who live in the Adelaide suburb of Paradise.

For Peckham it was the start of another big day.

Wins by Aston Peso and Aston Dijon in later races brought up his third Tara Raceway training treble this month.

Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell enjoyed a change of luck when Saint Coco and Pongo knocked up a 1-4 wins 400 metres running double in the Exchange Printers Stake and the Gordon Refrigeration Stake for Koroit owner Peter Byrne.

Chasing her first win since early April, Saint Coco led all the way to defeat Spicey Jill by 1½ lengths in 23.61 seconds.

And Pongo took up the running off the back from Bourne Rose before going on to defeat Flying Fuels by 1¾ lengths in 23.35 seconds.

For Fennell, currently sitting in fifth spot on the 2021 Ian Badger Leading Trainer list, the double was his first since General Max and Saint Sunshine had been successful at Tara Raceway on April 29.

Another Pick’s all the way win over See Nitro in 23.22 seconds in the Commercial Hotel 5+ Wins Stake (400 m) brought up the daughter of Unlawful Entry x Proud Fantasy’s ninth win this year at Tara Raceway.

Owned and trained at Edenhope by Cap Abbott, Another Pick’s 3¾ lengths win also took her six points clear of Sianna Magic in the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year award.

Abbott now looks well placed to win his second GOTY award in three years after Black Spring, with 13 wins, was successful in 2019.

Compton Brett’s emphatic 9¼ lengths win over Cadillac Prince in 29.78 seconds in the Williams Crane Hire 5+ Wins Stake (512 m) now has Mount Gambier owner-trainer Noel Perry seriously considering the SA Country Cup heats (512 m) at Tara Raceway on Sunday, September 19.

A winner of seven races this year at Tara Raceway, the son of Brett Lee x My Nakita has come a fair way since January when winning the Sims Family Memorial Maiden (512 m) in 30.43 seconds as a $34 chance.

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