By David Lewis
KOROIT trial track proprietor Peter Byrne was back at Tara Raceway last Thursday with a couple of greyhounds that, by his own admission, were going to struggle at Mount Gambier’s time-graded meeting.
Chasing his first winner as a trainer at the local track since early February with Saint Remy, he had Saint Max and Majestic Jewel engaged in the Cadillac Racing TG1-4W Stake (400 metres) and the Trackside Meats TG1-4W Stake (400m).
By Aston Kimetto out of Miss Lava, Saint Max, with 32 starts to his name, had won only a maiden at Warrnambool back in November last year.
Majestic Jewel, last a winner at Horsham in January, had raced on 73 occasions for three wins.
But Saint Max, having his first run at Tara Raceway this year, led all the way when defeating Arrow Bar Peanut by 1½ lengths in 23.71 seconds while Majestic Jewel staged a big run to come from last before finishing second to Cadillac Gas, beaten a neck in 23.51 seconds.
Earlier, the Byrne-owned pair of Saint Ollie and Saint Milly ran the quinella for Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell in the Exchange Printers TG1-4W Stake, the first of two heats of the monthly 512-metre Fast Forward series.
For Saint Ollie, by Cosmic Rumble x Mepunga Prue and also bred by Byrne, it was the fawn and white dog’s 82nd start and fifth win – his first since last November and his first win over 512 metres.
Appreciating being drawn out in box seven, Saint Ollie quickly found the front and never looked like being beaten when running out a four-length winner in 30.36 seconds.
It is fair to say Byrne’s day at the Mount Gambier dogs was a far cry from the previous Friday night’s Pink Diamond Group Listed meeting at Warragul where nine races each paid $25,000 to the winners and $75,000 each to the remaining three.
Byrne, as the owner, is part of the remarkable story surrounding Moraine Suzie – a daughter of My Redeemer and Miss Bo Wicked – who won the Pink Diamond Champion Distance Final over 680 metres and collected $75,000.
The story goes back 12 months ago to when the brindle bitch had just won her third race over 450 metres at Warrnambool and connections were looking to move her on.
“Given her staying dam line I thought she could be a chance of getting a bit more ground and with an asking price of $2000 she could be worth a try,” Byrne said.
She quickly found her way over to Lara trainer Brendan Pursell who in September last year landed the Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park with McInerney, also owned over Warrnambool way by Noel Mugavin.
Moraine Suzie quickly adapted to the extra ground and has now won a further 11 races over distances ranging from 595 metres at Sandown Park to 730 metres at The Meadows.
Among those wins have also been the Victorian State Distance Final at Sandown Park and the Topgun Stayers title at The Meadows.
All told, she has now won more than $270,000 in prize money.
“Along the way, I’ve purchased plenty of greyhounds that weren’t really what I was looking for,” Byrne said.
“But sometimes you get lucky.”