Caption: Don’t Tell Lies lands The Leigh Rogers over 530m at Angle Park in early November, beating Straight Blaze (No. 1) and Rogue Player (No.3). (Photo: Kurt Donsberg)
South Australian Wrap with KURT DONSBERG
AFTER saluting in the Group 3 South Australian Oaks, Don’t Tell Lies was set for another SA feature Final – The Leigh Rogers.
The Leigh Rogers is a Grade 6 event that is run as a heat and final and named after the former GRSA Food and Beverage Manager. Leigh succumbed to a very rare and aggressive cancer and this event, created in his honour, always draws some big local names
Previous winners have included Coorong Lucy for Cameron Butcher, Lonely Cowboy for Carole Scott and last year Fly For Trix won for Jane McNicholl
Five heats were run and won on October 28 with Don’t Tell Lies winning the third heat on a rain-affected track, running a respectable 30.71 over the 530m trip.
She drew the six rug in the final and the punters didn’t like her from the wide alley. She was overlooked in the markets, starting on the fourth line of betting at the $7 quote, but in a run reminiscent of her Oaks win she defied the odds and showed that she is a real contender and not a pretender.
Her first split was more than fast enough to take care of her rivals and when she was in front at the post with a lap to go you knew she’d still be in front at the business end – and she was.
Her winning time of 30.32 was the best of the night and during the winning speech her trainer Lauren Harris announced ‘Lissa’ would be heading to Queensland for a crack at the Futurity.
The NEXT Racing team of Lauren and partner Ryan Tugwell made contact with leading Queensland trainer Tony Brett and were quite surprised to learn he knew who they were and who Don\’t Tell Lies was.
\”Tony was great,\” said Lauren. \”We weren\’t sure he even knew who we were but he put our minds at ease. He knew all about ‘Lissa’ and was more than happy to take her on.
“Tony said she has settled in really well. She had a run at Albion Park on November 18 and went 30:17 at her first look. We were hoping for something in the 20’s so to run that time is very encouraging.
“With the Phoenix feature now on the calendar we have an extra week to get her cherry ripe for the Futurity heats and see how she goes. We’ll be cheering her on from home but if she’s lucky enough to make the final of the Futurity we\’ll head up for that.\”
Don\’t Tell Lies has done most of her racing in SA and to date has posted seven wins from her 18 career starts and has amassed more than $43,000 in prizemoney.
Worm Burner’s still a star off the track
It’s been a touch over four years since we last saw one of the best SA has produced have his final run.
Worm Burner – or Diamond as he was known – hung up the lead after the 2017 Gawler Gold Cup where he finished a luckless fifth, but his 83 starts prior to that were all class and all from the top shelf. His 84 career starts returned 48 wins, 20 placing and $380,000 in stakes.
Bred by Alan McCulloch, the December 2013 son of Oaks Road x Little Looper was owned and trained by Cameron and Yvonne Butcher and what a ride they had.
He opened up his racing account in August 2015 winning on debut by 15.5 lengths in 29:70 and everyone knew then he was going to be something special. He would go on to win 11 of his next 15 starts, one of which was his first Group win when he took out the 2015 Group 3 Brian Johnstone in 29.50 – his fastest time at that point of his career at start number 13.
And then he said hello to 2016 and boy, did he make it his year. He raced 40 times in the 12-month period and won 24 of those with another 11 starts resulting in placings – and some of his wins were brilliant.
His first feature win was the SA St Leger, where he swept the series, winning the heat, semi and the final…. and then he really hit his straps.
‘Diamond’ won 13 races in a row from June to September. Two of those wins were the heat and Final of the State National Sprint Championship which gave him a berth in the National Final run at his home track at Angle Park….and he didn’t disappoint in the big final.
Spearing to the lead from the six, he never looked like losing and not only did he win, he went his best ever time at Angle Park of 29.17 and picked up his first Group 1 win….and lifted the roof off Angle Park.
A couple of months later he nearly repeated the dose, finishing second behind Aqua Cheetah in the 2016 Adelaide Cup final after winning his Cup heat, and not long after that he won his heat of the 2016 Melbourne Cup, managing a gallant third in the final behind Ando’s Mac.
He finished off 2016 with two Free For All wins back at Angle Park and his performances in 2016, with a Group 1 and Group 3 victory, plus three more Group 1 final appearances, earned him the title of 2016 SA Greyhound of the Year.
Not only did he get that gong, but he also won SA Bred Greyhound of the Year, SA Sprinting Greyhound of the Year and his win in the Nationals Final nabbed him the 2016 Run of the Year too.
In 2017 the decision was made to send him over to Jason Thompson and he did the majority of his racing in Victoria. In 2017 he posted 12 wins from 27 starts, including a heat win in the 2017 Adelaide Cup – earning him back-to-back runs in the Group 1 event – ultimately finishing sixth behind Raw Ability in the final.
And if his racing career was all his resume would include it would have been brilliant, but the best was yet to come from a stud career that is still growing.
After retiring from racing in November 2017, his stud career was about to go ‘mental’. His first pups to hit the ground were a Sydney’s Shadow litter and the first runner was Errington. The big blue boy, trained by Tim Richards, lined up on December 30, 2018 and won by a couple lengths ….. and Worm Burner was on the board. From then on Worm Burner’s numbers just went through the roof.
In 2019 Worm Burner sired 144 SA-bred winners – 122 more than the next best in SA and history will show that he was just starting. In 2020, he made the 144 winners in the previous year seem silly when he registered 404 winners (376 ahead of his nearest competitor) for the year and sired Greyhound of the Year Sir Truculent and the runner-up Coorong Lucy.
By the end of September this year he has 352 victories under his belt and looks set to eclipse the 404 from 2020.
To date, Worm Burner has sired more than 1300 winners in his stud career and amassed more than $3 million dollars in prizemoney from his progeny, with SA stars Sir Truculent ($400k+) and Coorong Lucy ($150k+) leading the way.
A champion on the track and one of the greats in the making in the stud ranks.
Worm Burner – we salute you.