With four greyhounds all engaged in the same race at Tara Raceway last Thursday, owner-trainer Keith Kelly was probably some sort of chance to open his winning account at the Mount Gambier track.
Kelly, who first became involved in the sport back in the late 1970s, started making occasional trips to Mount Gambier with his greyhounds back in late 2019 – his first time in the money being with Annaley Flash who ran second on October 20.
He’s based at Wallan, 45km north of Melbourne, so it’s a fair trip to the South East, especially when all your dogs are in the same race. But there were no complaints.
“I just go with the flow,” he said. Kelly’s quartet, Super Nat, Jono’s Express, Table Top and Burning Express, lined up in the South Eastern Hotel 5+ Wins Stake (400 metres).
And it was Jono’s Express who soon put the issue beyond doubt when quickly taking up the running from box five. In fact, it turned out to be a quinella, Burning Express running 11⁄2 lengths second in 23.78 seconds to Jono’s Express who had been purchased a couple of months ago by his current owner-trainer for $3500 after winning five races.
Actually, Kelly’s quinella runners both trace back to Flaming Doll (Ginger Bread Man x Hot Doll), a middle-distance winner at Sandown Park, Horsham, Bendigo and Ballarat.
Jono’s Express is by Aston Dee Bee out of Shotgun Doll (Collision x Flaming Doll) while Burning Express is a son of Magic Sprite x Smouldering Doll (Bekim Bale x Flaming Doll).
Another Flaming Doll litter, by Knocka Norris, included Star Doll who ran a 23.05 seconds 400 metres track record at Tara Raceway in April 2013 for Garry Marshman of Heathmere.
Kelly still remembers his first greyhound from all those years ago – Akii’s Promise, a daughter of Cheers For Akii and Just A Bit.
“She was also my first runner and won at her first start,” he said. “But I reckon my best dog would have been Donna Wonder (Come On Wonder x Pasha Donna). “She was advertised for sale as a pup in the Sporting Globe for $400 in 1979.”
And while Keith Kelly is no household name in the world of greyhound racing, he’s quick to point out that he’s simply in the game for the enjoyment.
“Look, I enjoy taking in different tracks with my dogs. “Really, it’s more about socialising with some terrific people in what is a great atmosphere,” he said. “And believe me, there is no better track for a great day out than this one at Mount Gambier.”
Mount Gambier Cup feedback From a Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club point of view it has to be said that Greyhound Racing SA’s marketing department – Matt Watson, James Norris and Fiona Jarzabek – played a significant role in the success of the 41st running of the Mount Gambier Cup.
Several items to come out of a club discussion with the marketing department post-cup included the suggestion of an on-course race-caller in favour of a remote caller for the main meeting of the year.
Another suggestion had been the standardisation of the dress code for the Mount Gambier Cup handlers. And requiring attention, which no doubt will come with future facility upgrades, was the club’s outside speaker system.
Also under review was the cup’s April scheduling, the question being asked whether it could revert to March. There has been no Calcutta conducted on the Mount Gambier Cup since 2019.
However, this year’s sponsor, the Commercial Hotel, has signified interest in hosting the Calcutta on next year’s cup at its venue before the running of the heats.
Border Challenge to be run at Tara Raceway The Border Challenge series between the Warrnambool and Mount Gambier greyhound racing clubs will this year be run locally at Tara Raceway over 512 metres on Sunday, June 27.
The inaugural Border Challenge, won by Warrnambool representative Lektra Fireball who was trained at Toolong by Phil Lenehan, was run at Warrnambool in December 2019.
There was no challenge conducted in 2020 due to the border restrictions. Both clubs will conduct heats to select their four finalists. Mount Gambier will conduct its heats, which will be subject to eligibility conditions, on Sunday, June 20.
Prizemoney for the Border Challenge will be $4000, $1250 and $550 with the winner also receiving a trophy and rug.