Monty makes up for lost time

Tara Raceway did not see a great deal of Mumbannar-based trainer Monty Wilson last year.

But when the border re-opened late in the year he was back in a flash. Finally, his life was back on track. Now he’s hoping the events of the past week in relation to the border closure were just an aberration.

For a bloke who long ago set himself a target of one win a month with his team of predominantly giveaway greyhounds, the year ended pretty well with six winners between October and December. The tally included a double with Dashing Pedro and Saint Charlotte.

And this year has started pretty well, Wilson mixing it with the heavy weights of local greyhound racing with five wins, seven seconds and six thirds.

Currently he sits in sixth spot on the 2021 Ian Badger Leading Trainer table. Last week he trained a double with Sianna Magic and Saint Charlotte and shared the training honours for the day with Nicole Stanley, David Peckham and Dean Fennell. Sianna Magic was actually one of the dogs he acquired once the border re-opening became imminent.

“I had been looking for a few dogs for the kennels so I contacted Dennington trainer Ray Drew to see if he could help me out,” Wilson said. “He said to leave it with him and duly came up with a black bitch that had been sacked at breaking-in but one that he thought might be suitable for me to race in Mount Gambier.”

By Premier Fantasy out of Smooth Momentum, a beautifully bred daughter of Brett Lee x Shanghai Rose, Sianna Magic acquitted herself well on debut when running Aston Olenna to 11⁄2 lengths in a heat of last month’s Razza Racing Feature Maiden (305 metres).

And in the following week’s final she finished second to Aston Olenna before opening her winning account last Sunday with an impressive 61⁄2 lengths victory in the Metal Worx Maiden Stake (305 metres). Saint Charlotte, who led all the way in the Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (400 m) when defeating Ed Deeds by a length in 23.22 seconds, was purchased in a package deal after the syndicate that owned her disbanded.

Wilson’s done pretty well with the daughter of Lightning Frank and Jasmine Lilly, the brindle bitch having now won three races at Tara Raceway as well as recording a quick 22.94 seconds when running second to Hello I’m Jade last month.

Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell’s successful association with Koroit owner Peter Byrne continued at Tara Raceway when Saint Sunshine and Saint Maddie both got up at the nice odds of $13 and $21 respectively.

It was Fennell’s biggest day at the track since last October when Saint Coco, Saint Maddie and Saint Caitlin were successful. Saint Sunshine, a daughter of Mepunga Blazer and Mepunga Kirsty, does not win out of turn but she did the job well last Sunday when leading all the way in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 m) to defeat Full Of Talk by 23⁄4 lengths in 23.38 seconds.

Later in the day, rank outsider Saint Maddie defied smart performers Spring Value, Cryer’s Spring, Golly Gumdrops and Rotate to run her down in the Produce Store Open Stake (512 metres) when clocking 30.12 seconds. Saint Maddie was the first of a number of Victorian greyhounds that were relocated to SA last year in a bid to boost local racing numbers following the border closure.

A winner over three distances at Tara Raceway, she has been a good pickup for Fennell who has now won nine races with the daughter of Peter Rocket and Miss Lava.


Mount Gambier’s scheduled meeting at Tara Raceway last Sunday was cancelled due to the closure of the SA border with Victoria. Greyhound Racing SA Racing Manager, Shaun Mathieson, said the significant number of Victorian trainers unable to attend due to the border restriction had severely affected the size of the fields for the eight-race meeting.

“Also, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s contracted Warrnambool-based veterinary surgeon was unable to attend and due to the short notice there was insufficient time to source another veterinary surgeon,” he said.

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