South Australia Roundup with KURT DONSBERG
The Lisa Rasmussen-trained Lily Pad claimed the third running of the Eastar at Gawler over the Easter weekend.
The Eastar is a match race series with the eight fastest dogs over the 531m for the previous SIX months invited to contest the event.
Owners and trainers were allowed to trial dogs at the venue and quite a few tried, but none were able to force their way into the series.
This year saw the following heats:
Lily Pad v Burning Nitro
Velocity Bottino v Threaten
Stress The Point v All Show
Barbados Express v Ned’s Chance
The standout qualifier was Velocity Bottino for Lewiston trainer Troy Murray, who scorched around the 531m in 30:54. The remaining challengers all qualified with times between 30:61 and 30:72 so the racing was always going to be close.
Lily Pad went off in the first of the four match races and set the benchmark of 30:77 for the 531m trip. The rest tried to beat her time, and they came close, but it stood up through the series and proved quick enough to take home the trophy, the rug and the cash.
After winning the first match race Lisa admitted she was more than a touch on the nervous side watching the remaining races, and rightly so as it turns out with 0.02 seconds separating the top three.
Final four were:
Lily Pad – 30:77
Barbados Express – 30:78
Stress The Point – 30:79
All Show – 30:83
The win secures Lily pad a start in the Match Race Series later in the year at Angle Park with the winner of that series getting a golden ticket to the Group 1 Adelaide Cup Final.
Lily Pad was purchased as a broodbitch proposition and her win in the Eastar shows toughness and tenacity will be passed on to her pups!
MURRAY BRIDGE GETS A NEW DISTANCE
The first ever 680m distance was run and won at Murray Bridge on 15th April – and there some nerves before it.
First time out of the boxes, first time running into the bend … firsts all round really, but it went off without a hitch.
With the two long straights it was always going to be a tough run and before the race we were thinking somewhere between 39 and 40 seconds for the trip and that\’s right where it lobbed with a 39:84 run and a very hotly contested finish.
The eventual winner was Tapestry Tears, who let go with a very ‘Sir Truculent-esque’ type run from last to first to win by a half head.
I caught up with syndicate manager Craig Moca to see what he thought about the run and how he came about acquiring this white and brindle girl.
\”I have always enjoyed watching Tornado Tears race and said to myself at some point I would like a dog/bitch out of Tears Siam and Fernando Bale,\” said Craig.
\”I actually made contact with the breeder through the people we bought Nipper Zsa from. They gave me the details and after my first phone call it seemed like it was going to be very hard to buy a pup, but after five months he finally agreed to sell me Tapestry Tears in September 2020.
\”Of course, when it came to trainers Lauren Harris was always front of mind. From a stayer perspective she did an amazing job with Five Thirty for us and there was no question she would do a great job with Tapestry Tears (Priscilla or ‘Cilla’).
\”We are so lucky that we have such dedicated trainers. It’s been a decent journey getting her to where she is now. She arrived at Lauren and Ryan nursing an injury and she essentially had to just sit back for a couple months so she could get 100% fit. Their patience and persistence have really paid off.\”
The syndicate has a few members from the Crazy Mary syndicate that raced five Thirty.
\”Yep, there are six of us in it – Chris wright, Tim Edgar, his brother Tom, Ash Craig, Chris Graf – all boys from the inner west of Melbourne.\”
And what does he think about her racing now that Angle Park is closed for the short term?
\”I think the change is going to be good. She likes to go a bit wide, so that nice long straight will give her some time to wind up.
\”We\’re just so thankful to Lauren and Ryan – their patience and persistence has really paid off and hopefully Cilla keeps delivering for them and us.\”
(NB: With Angle Park under redevelopment, the 680m at Murray Bridge will be the National Distance venue for 2021.)
ANGLE PARK CLOSES FOR REDEVELOPMENT
April 8 saw the final races at Angle Park before the dozers moved in and the redevelopment started.
An engineering inspection showed that the ageing infrastructure on the track was in serious need of repair and the decision, in consultation with the ICG over the past 18 months, was made to not only repair the infrastructure, but redevelop the track entirely to deliver a modern state-of-the-art facility designed with safety front of mind.
There will be four distances raced at the new track and they will all be new:
388m becomes 342m
515m becomes 530m
600m becomes 595m
731m becomes 730m
With the new distances planned, the existing records for the current distances will forever be a part of history, with the most famous being Brett Lee’s unforgettable win in the 2001 Adelaide Cup when he went 28:88 over the 515 metre trip.
388m – Danyo’s Wylie 21:72
515m – Brett Lee 28:88
600m – Rulebook 34:35
731m – Arvo’s Athena 42:50
During the redevelopment the racing will be shared between Murray Bridge and Gawler with both tracks hosting two ‘city’ meetings a month and sharing the feature races during the expected four-month shut down of Angle Park.
A BREEDING JOURNEY
Ron Schadow has been involved in greyhounds for 46 years and his second wife, Joan, has been involved for around 19 years. Any dog that has the ‘Victa’ prefix is sure to be one of theirs.
Ron and Joan have bred many litters over the last 10 years, but their best brood bitches have been Teelah (2012 SA Brood Bitch of the year with 50 winners) and Victa Victoria (2018 SA Brood Bitch of the year with 69 winners and also a daughter of Teelah). Other broodies of note have been Victa Brooke and Victa Explorer – both also producing winners the likes of Victa Louise (who held the 388m record at Angle Park) and Victa Ollie (who won the Breeders Prelude in 2017).
Ron gave me an insight into his breeding and how he goes about it:
“We have 40 acres with a large dog shed with 17 racing kennels. Then there are 14 outside yards varying in size for raring, emptying and for galloping. It’s a beautiful property and we think it really helps the pups develop having so much room to roam and run.
“Before we breed we send away for advice on the best match or have just gone with the dog that we think would be a good match. So far it has proven pretty successful for us.
“We always use Victa in our dogs’ names. The Victa name comes from the area we live in – Victor Harbor – and makes it easy for family and friends to follow our dogs. We have people asking for a dog to be named after them all the time. We’ve named most of our dogs after family members and friends. We only have a few family names left, but we have many friends so we will never run out of names.
“After we whelp a litter we have them inside for the first six weeks. They then go into a little yard near the house. Then at about four months we put them in large rearing yards. We take them for a walk on leads at eight weeks of age. The more handling them the better. They get the best of food from the day they can eat, and boy can they eat.
“We have eight-week-old pups now from Victa Polly x Fernando Bale. Polly is Victoria’s daughter and we are also expecting a litter on April 26 from Hot Barcia Bale x Hot Sophie.
“Our most successful litter so far has been the El Grand Senor x Victa Victoria litter. There were nine in the litter and all nine won races.”
The 2017 El Grand Senor litter has a combined total of 658 starts with 157 winners (24% strike rate) and 228 placings (59% strike rate) and over $250k in prizemoney. Victa Caleb is still running and most recently ran second at Murray Bridge on April 15.
Ron knew what the next question was going to be and his eyes lit up. I asked him about his current litter that have really set Angle park alight – the Fernando Bale x Victa Victoria litter.
“The Fernando Bale litter look like they are going to even be better than the El Grand Senor litter. They were whelped in May, 2019, there were 12 in that litter. They’ve all made the track with 9 of the 12 already winning after racing for just over 4 months.”
In fact, the litter has had 114 combined starts, 22 wins (19% strike rate) and 57 placings (69% strike rate) and $57k in prizemoney. So they are well on track to be the best.
Ron and Joan, while mainly now focussing on breeding, still have a very hands-on role with their dogs at the track and at the ripe old age of 86 Ron boxed Victa Daryl to his first victory in early April. Everyone loves a winner, but Ron gave me a quote all in the industry believe in: “I just want them to get around safe – a win is just a bonus!”