Caption: Gavin Harris with Howard Ashton winner Springvale Max and Cherylee Barber with third-placed Springvale Rex. (Photo: Kurt Donsberg)

 South Australia news with KURT DONSBERG

SPRINGVALE Max showed he’s a dog on the up with a dominant display in the recent Group 3 Howard Ashton series.

The raced is named after one of only three South Australian’s in in the GCA Hall of Fame,  Howard Ashton who played a massive role getting greyhound racing in South Australia to where it is today and worked in management roles throughout the industry and later as the Executive Officer at GCA.

The Howard Ashton is run over three weeks for South Australian-bred dogs and it was McLaren Vale-based Gavin Harris who had a series to remember.

Gavin bred a Barcia Bale x Springvale Bryne litter that qualified three runners – Springvale Max and Springvale Rex who he races and trains and another in Springvale Maddi who he races in partnership with Cherylee Barber.

Unfortunately, Springvale Maddi was a late scratching in the heats so Gavin was left on his own with Max and Rex.

Rex scraped though at each stage of the series in moderate times but Max was really stamping his authority after winning his heat and his semi in the fastest times for the series thus far.

Everything was looking good for Max – until the box draw where he drew the green rug in six.

“He really needs to find the rail to produce his best,” said Gavin Harris

“When we drew the six I wasn’t confident at all.”

Gavin’s fears were well placed as the dog burnt the first 60 metres of the final with Max unable to cross the field from the wide draw, which saw him closer to the back of the field than the front with a lap to go.

However, he showed race sense of a much more seasoned dog and was able to find himself on the rail that he so desperately needed.

From that point on he railed as hard as any dog you’ll see – never leaving the rail and never going around another dog.

He bullocked his way past the race favourite, He’s All Purpose, on the home turn and pulled away for a gutsy win in a good time of 30:42.

“I was really pleased the way he ran home the last 50 metres” said a pretty happy Harris.

 “A lot of dogs don’t take their chances when they see an opening, but he’s doing that which is a very promising sign for such a young dog.”

Gavin was also very proud to have won such a prestigious event on the South Australian calendar.

“You always hope when you breed pups that they’ll make these types of series – the Howard Ashton and also the Brian Johnstone,” he said.

“You pay up to be in them and then the hard work of getting the pups to the track begins.”

The win took Springvale Max’s record to 19 wins from his 38 career starts with prizemoney earnings now just a smidge under $58,000.

To make the event just a little sweeter, Gavin’s  other dog Springvale Rex, who got through each week with minimal fuss finished third.

Well done, Gav and Max!

Hock injury ends Victor’s career

      He was arguably one of the best sprinters getting around in SA lately, but in early June Fantastic Victor suffered a career-ending injury during his run at Angle Park.

Fantastic Victor (pictured inset below) was out in front doing it comfortably down the back straight when something suddenly went wrong. He visibly eased, pulled up and was out of the race.

He was caught before the end of the race and was in the care of the on-course vet within minutes. Everyone’s worst fears were realised – a fractured hock.

It was obviously a serious injury and required an operation, which he had four days later. And I’m happy to let you all know that Victor is A-ok. His surgery went great and he’s on the mend.

I got a heap of messages asking how he was straight after the race so I figured we’d catch up with part owner and handler Steve Jones to get an update.

“He’s actually up and about believe it or not,” said Steve.

“The operation went really well and he’ll be coming to live with Danielle (trainer Ossie Chegia’s daughter) and I when he’s ready.

“He could come home now but we want someone there watching him for the first week or so to make sure he’s ok.”

Asked how he felt about Victor and the answer was immediate.

“He’s my favourite dog – by a mile” said Steve.

“Everyone thinks (Fantastic) Radley is my favourite but he can be a bit of bugger going to the boxes. Him and I have a deal – I’ll walk him to the start and then he wins!” Steve said with a big grin on his chops!

“Victor is the complete opposite, he’s so relaxed and a real character.

“We were all devastated when he hurt himself but he’ll always had a home on our couch – he’ll probably even come to work with me when his cast is off and he’s really mobile again!”

It’s a real shame that we won’t see the white and brindle flash zipping around the track anymore doing what he was great at – and loved doing. But he’s going to get the ‘happy ever after’ he deserves. Good luck, Victor old mate!

Young fan Sadie just loves the dogs

It was an early start for our fortnightly Saturday morning meeting recently and it wasn’t real warm either.

But there were a few spectators who braved the cold, and one of those was this young lady. named  Sadie (pictured above).

Sadie was excited when every dog walked past her on the way to the track and none more so than Court Jester.

He didn’t win but Sadie was dead keen on giving him a pat after the race so we got her out for a photo and she’s gone straight in for a cuddle – and Jester loved it!

I spoke with her Mum after to find out a bit about Sadie

“We don’t have any greyhounds but Sadie loves dogs so we often come over to watch and she always waits up the top there for a pat,” she said

Even though Court Jester was her favourite for the day, she did her best to give every dog a pat after they’d had a run and came walking back past her.

Onya, Sadie!