A classy field will contest the George and Eileen Johnston Puppy Championship Final (452 metres) at the NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway next Tuesday. The annual feature, named in honour of two former stalwarts of the industry in Tasmania, who from their Fenton Street base produced such standouts as Fenton Doll and 1967 Hobart Thousand winner Fiery Bob, carries a total stake of almost $6,000 and invariably attracts a talent laden field.
Fastest heat winner at Tuesday’s meeting was the Dragan Dodic owned, Russell Watts prepared Boston Heart (Flying Penske – Aprilia), which recorded 25.57 in defeating Rip And Tear (Mogambo – Dennes Point) and Buckle Up Tango (Dyna Lachlan – Valentine Bale), while paying a win dividend of $4.00. The winner of three of six Tasmanian starts has drawn the check box in the final and will most likely head the head the market in what will be a keenly contested affair.
Rip And Tear, Breaker’s Tip and Soul Sister are litter-mates from the Gary Fahey kennel and have drawn the three outside boxes in Tuesday’s finale. Gary races all three in partnership with his brother Greg. Breaker’s Tip, reputed to be the fastest of the trio, surprised in the heats of the event by scoring in the time of 25.73 and paying a win dividend of $11.00. In that particular heat, Get It Right (Cosmic Rumble – Ferly Gain) and Jamella Nova (Oaks Road – Still Hoping) filled the minor placings.
The last of the three heats was taken out by the Graeme Barber owned and prepared Elite Enfield (Knocka Norris – Lady Eisenheim), which recorded a time of 25.71 in defeating Soul Sister and Howzat Grace (Thirteen Black – Icy Popsicle), while paying a win dividend of $12.90. He has drawn the blue box next Tuesday, while the Neville Allison prepared Howzat Grace, a noted slow beginner, does not appear to be suited in the coveted red.
Master trainer Ted Medhurst was not seen in the winners circle following the qualifying heats, but has qualified the very well performed Get It Right, which will run from the yellow box. Medhurst has an outstanding record in major events and once again he appears to have an undeniable chance of scoring with this George Christides owned chaser.
Meanwhile smart chaser Oxley Rimfire (Collision – Oxley Falcon) continued on his winning way at the NWGRC meeting when he recorded a time of 25.90 in winning the Advocate Grade 3/4 (452 metres), as a heavily supported $1.90 commodity.
Owned and prepared by at Lauderdale by Eric Haldane, the chaser has now won three of five Tasmanian starts since being purchased from Maitland owner-breeder Snowy Watts. Purely a hobby trainer, Haldane has recently returned to Tasmania following a ten year stint in Queensland, which saw him win numerous races including a Beenleigh Cup, with one of his small team.
“I prefer to just prepare my own greyhounds and restrict my team to one or two,” the property developer explained this week.
Haldane is well known in Tasmania as the owner-trainer of the 1993 Launceston Cup winner Wary’s Desire, which provided him with one of his greatest thrills in the sport.
Mangalore mentor Allan Anderson’s great run of success continued at the meeting when his kennel was represented by the winners Blue Tam (Go Wild Teddy – Juicy Lucy) and Lashing Phil (Chinatown Lad – Lashing Ada). The former was successful in the Betta Milk Grade 5 (452 metres) in the time 25.94 at a dividend of $3.70, while the latter took out the Synectic Devonport Grade 5 (452 metres) in 26.05, paying $9.10.