The night it all began for a local syndicate

The night it all began for a local syndicate

The 2018 Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta, held at Tara Raceway the night prior to the running of the heats, was where it all began for locals Liz Newberry, John Little and Kevin Mullan – collectively known as the Bungaloo Syndicate.

And for those unfamiliar with the Calcutta format, it’s where the heat runners are seeded into four or more groups and auctioned on the night.

In theory, the first group auctioned comprises the so-called “lesser lights”.

The final group is made up of what is perceived as the best cup chances and attract the most attention.

Little and Mullan were at Tara Raceway that night as first group bidders.

They subsequently secured Xtreme Caution, a winner of six races at the time at Mount Gambier, Horsham and Warrnambool, for basically next to nothing.

While conceding Xtreme Caution had not been a hope in hell of winning the cup, Little said they at least would have an interest in the next day’s heats.

It’s now history how the son of Barcia Bale and Xtreme Gretel, after running second to Blazing Moment in a heat, qualified for the final.

Then, after drawing box one, the $14 chance led all the way to defeat the then track record holder Lektra Stomp in the first Group Listed event to be run at Tara Raceway.

For Portland trainer Brian Weis, who picked up $15,000 for the win, it was his second Mount Gambier Cup success after Drone had won the $3000 event in 2009.

And with a Calcutta collect of $4180 to play with, the Bungaloo Syndicate was now on the lookout for a performed greyhound.

Eventually they settled on a three-start maiden bitch by Dyna Double One x Springvale Cool.

For $2000 they had themselves a racing dog called Springvale Alysa, a bit of change left from the Calcutta winnings and were about to embark on the ride of their lives.

By the time Springvale Alysa was retired at the end of November 2019 she had raced on 68 occasions for 22 wins, 14 seconds and 11 thirds for $27,000 in prize money.

A year later she whelped her first litter – three dogs and three bitches by Fabregas.

The whole exercise was a real hands-on affair.

Kongorong-based Little whelped the litter down, then reared the pups prior to later breaking them in at Tara Raceway’s Wednesday and Saturday morning trials.

Five of the pups raced and won – Bungaloo Josh, Bungaloo Darcy, Bungaloo Rachele, Bungaloo Brooke and Bungaloo Shane collectively successful on 27 occasions.

Then in May 2022 Springvale Alysa whelped her second and final litter, this time six dogs and three bitches by SA sire On Fire, a winner of 40 races.

And for John Little another hands-on exercise, once again spanning many months, was to follow.

The 2024 Group 3 Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta will be conducted on Friday, April 5 at Tara Raceway, commencing at 6pm

Tickets are expected to be on sale in the race day office from this Sunday for $1 each or $80 for $100.

They will also be on sale on the night of the Calcutta.

Meanwhile, the bare back wall of the kennel house which had greeted trainers when they entered Tara Raceway has been given a facelift.

This had been a long-time project of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club and in the end it was Greyhound Racing SA CEO Bodelle Francis’ parting gift to the local track.

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