The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

While lacking the big bucks of MDC night, Saturday’s Golden Easter Egg program at Wentworth Park still shelled out more than $650k in cash.

Peter Davis

10 April 2022

WHILE lacking the big bucks of Million Dollar Chase night, Saturday’s Golden Easter Egg program at Wentworth Park still shelled out more than $650,000 in cash.

Magic Maiden winner Zipping Novak had his class writ large with a slick 29.65 best-of-night effort while equal second quickest time was 29.70 by Masters Final winner Kooringa Lucy.

Her 37th win (at start 88) represented a career best at WP and stretched career earnings beyond $300,000 – a grand achievement.

Kooringa Lucy’s elevation into Masters age classification does, however, highlights the fine line trainers maneuver with veteran racing stock.

Only four starts back, Kooringa Lucy tackled the best middle distance dogs in the land at Dubbo over 605m and, before that, had been ultra-consistent at Albion Park (in top grade) over 520m and 600m.

Masters runner-up Lots Of Chatter (36 wins) has been no less impressive in previous Victorian starts (at a high level) and the pair certainly dominated betting (89.74 percent of the market) and the outcome.

The eligibility (and grading) for Masters racing varies from state to state and, given the importance of masters racing, there needs to be a standardised national approach.

NSW Masters eligibility comes in at 48 months of age while, in Queensland, its 42 months and grading differs significantly. In Victoria, ‘Veterans’ eligibility is 48 months but also has limitations on grade (points).

Mixing it in open class, as was the case with the likes of Bessy Boo and Sunburnt Highway at WP, did not stop either dropping back to Masters and therefore dominating.

Consideration should be given to not allowing winners and or placegetters in graded events (at a prescribed number of starts, maybe three) being eligible for Masters grading.

For example, a Pathways race in NSW cannot contain a last start winner (City or Provincial) and that’s about grading fairness so why cannot the same criteria apply for Masters aged dogs?

Alternatively, dogs beyond 42 months of age and yet to attain Masters eligibility deserve a transitional path to Masters racing – it’s merely a programming factor and protects older dogs from being outgunned week after week.

It’s better racing and welfare outcome for all.

ORANA’S GREEN LIGHT

After navigating delays and red tape for just over 15 months, Orana Vet Clinic at Dubbo has secured approval to market registered frozen implants of American-based sire Black Magic Opal.

The son of Magic Sprite hit the ground running as a sire with the likes of Lightning Frank, Bewildering and former Traralgon 525m record holder Extreme Magic boosting his profile before Black Opium went to the next level.

Demand for Black Magic Opal semen outstripped supply and the new availability of American-drawn and stored semen will interest discerning breeders.

Orana Vet has a vast landscape of reproductive services and, while principals Rob and Lea Ingram are greyhound racing devotees, the majority of their business engages with domestic and pure-bred breeders.

“For Black Magic Opal services, we offer the both trans cervical and traditional surgical frozen implant yet the procedures are included in the vial price if we handle the insemination here at Dubbo,” Rob Ingram said.

“We have limited services here for the moment but Sharon (Canole) – the owner of Camelot Farms – has BMO in her care and is, hopefully, able to get another shipment to us in the short term.”

The hoops Orana has jumped through with Greyhounds Australia has been exhausting.

“The staff at GA have been fantastic but there are many aspects of regulatory procedures which are not commercially practical and it’s something which needs attention.”

Just why 15 months passed before Orana secured approval to sell the BMO semen needs to be be investigated and protracted delays eliminated.

GET TRACKSIDE

Back in October, Victorian participants secured a $5.3m pay rise from Greyhound Racing Victoria following protracted and, at times, heated negotiations with management.

A state wide withdrawal of nominations for meetings at Cranbourne, Ballarat and The Meadows on July 3 was the catalyst for change and the GOTBA now have a significantly better working relationship with GRV.

On April 21, the Association has their annual fundraiser at Sandown and it would be just reward if participants supported the night with their presence.

Should GOTBA members win either the Cup or Plate Finals on April 21, cash bonuses will kick in while services to Aston Rupee, Beast Unleashed, Koblenz and Orson Allen will be auctioned as will a breaking in package at Keyon Kennels (MacNamara’s).

GOTBA members have just received an email regarding the ongoing advocacy with GRV management and it’s a voice which all Victorians should respect and support.

MILLION DOLLAR MISSON

She’s A Pearl’s win in the Golden Easter Egg came with the kicker of Million Dollar Chase semi final qualification.

The $1m decider is only four weeks away (May 7) with heats at Bathurst, Maitland (both Monday) and Gosford (Tuesday) preceding a final opportunity back at Wentworth Park on April 23.

TAB wound She’s A Pearl’s price into $4.20 (from $7) after the GEE result yet the three others marketplace influences – Wow, Zipping Kyrgios and Louis Rumble – each came away from Saturday night’s engagement with issues to deal with.

Only Wow was found to have been injured while, despite falling at the first turn, Zipping Kyrgios and Louis Rumble – which looked to go amiss at the first turn and later ‘stonkered’ entering the home straight – were vetted but no issues were reported.

Zipping Kyrgios is drawn to contest the Gosford heats on Tuesday and, if unable to fulfill that engagement, he – like Louis Rumble – will have only one more chance to get into the semi final round.

Big name Victorians are yet to show their intention for the MDC and the April 23 meeting will be pivotal.

Even the likes of New Sensation winner Devine Empress, G3 The Ambrosoli winner Lala Kiwi and runner-up Zippy Tesla will need to come back to secure run a place on April 23 … and what does Jacqui Greenough do with Sandown Launching Pad favourite Wow She’s Fast?

So what does that all mean? … Maybe the $4.20 on offer about She’s A Pearl is a fair bet.

GETTING THERE

Seven weeks after Capalaba last raced, some relief is in sight for trainers in South East Queensland.

While the return to racing at Albion Park is a work in progress and trials may commence late next week, Capalaba’s re-opening is, hofefully, a little closer.

“A resistor switch for the lure (motor) has been on order for more than six weeks and we’re still waiting,” Capalaba President John Catton said.

“Like a lot of parts supplies, our order is waiting on customs clearance and there’s not a lot we can do about it.

“Everything is in place to start trialling but we can’t put a date on it. Once the lure is operational, we will schedule some trial sessions as quickly as possible and then it’s back to racing ASAP (be it a Wednesday or Sunday).

“The grass (track) in tip top shape and our staff have been brilliant, their dedication is first class.

“Our aim to race Easter Sunday, that’s seven days away but reliant on a customs clearance.

This issue preventing Albion Park and Capalaba’s return to racing is based on parts availability (Capalaba) and the extensive nature of the work required at Albion Park but there is a lesson to be learned in this dramatic time-out.

Surely Racing Queensland, as is the case with GRNSW, should be warehousing essential parts and, therefore, eliminating short term supply issues.

It’s certainly good time for all racing jurisdictions to reassess business continuity planning.

LOCAL SALUTES

The Mount Gambier Cup found black type for first time on Sunday and the excellent crowd was thrilled when local trainer Jason Newman’s Departure Gate defied a trio of Victorians to snare the $26,000 first prize.

The son of Fernando Bale has a most versatile record having on from 395m to 643m and his stamina was put to the test in the decider with the smart Weblec Ranger on speed at the first turn and pressing all-the-way.

His 29.42 effort was a personal best and his 17th victory at start 69 while earnings shanghaied towards $69,000.

The tight decision over Weblec Ranger thwarted a $10,000 bonus to his connections, with $5000 going to the dog’s connections and as much again to the trainer. The booty was on offer to any a dog which won the G3 Murray Bridge Cup on March 20 and that

Anniversary Cup (530m) at Angle Park on April 29 looms large for the versatile Departure Gate yet, with $50,000 on offer to the winner, the Victorian presence will ramp up.