Strong Southland & Otago Holiday Feature Race Wins

It was a strong finish to the 2019 calendar year for the two southernmost located greyhound clubs in the country. Christmas Eve saw a thoroughly deserved victory in the $12,000 NZRS Advanced final at Ascot Park for the Heather Cairns bred, owned and trained Eyrewell Turbo. Move onto New Year’s Eve at Forbury Park where Craig Roberts produced Oster Bale to stylishly win the $16,000 Colin Keen Memorial final.

Pictured: Eyrewell Turbo (white) delivering his bold Southland hosted NZRS Advanced win in what was a closely contested race finish (pic Dave Robbie)


Eyrewell Turbo has developed an affinity with the big, sweeping Ascot Park track. After all, he stylishly prevailed in the same NZRS Advanced 457m final in December 2018.


It was an epic effort that Eyrewell Turbo produced to repeat his 2018 win in this 457m event. He settled back in the field during the early rush from his three trap draw, with only Know Refusal (who was also going to feature at the business end) behind him.


Seizing the early race lead from the six trap was the locally prepared recently crowned 2018/19 Southland Greyhound of the Year the $54 outsider Tee An’ Cee. The Brett Connor trained son of Dream Collector and Sandi Claws thrived in his pace making work when dictating the pace to his rivals when turning in for the long grind up the Ascot Park home straight.


Meanwhile, Eyrewell Turbo displayed great track sense when easing himself down onto the rail while rounding the bend. Tracking him through was Know Refusal for Gary Cleeve. Eyrewell Turbo maintained a strong gallop during the run home which ultimately saw him overpowering a gallant Tee An’ Cee by a half head margin after 26.25s of hard out chasing.


Know Refusal also kept up his strong gallop and this son of Yella Mustard and Know Which kicked on boldly to claim his third placing half a length further behind, shading the Ray Adcock prepared Double Speed (Dyna Double One – Birchbrook) by three-quarters of a length.


Heather and Bob Cairns have been long term grassroots industry participants for many decades, having raced a number of handy greyhounds throughout that period. It was in March 2016 when they whelped the litter of nine puppies from the Cosmic Chief and Boostin’ mating that contained Eyrewell Turbo who has gone onto being the star litter performer.


Just to illustrate that point, while also displaying his versatility, Eyrewell Turbo then went onto to deliver his strong pace making win in the Otago hosted New Year’s Eve feature, the $3,800 Otago New Year’s Eve Classic Sprint final easily winning the 310m dash by 4.5 lengths in 18.13s. 


Eyrewell Turbo has now been to the races on 69 occasions, winning 16 of them. He has placed in another 22 races which sees his bank balance now sitting at a tidy $47,490 (excluding Breeders’ bonus payments), which is an amount that he’ll further expand on, especially when he returns to the Ascot Park track.          



Bob Cairns returned to the Ascot Park podium for the second time within 12 months with Eyrewell Turbo following his NZRS Advanced wins; the full Southland NZRS Advanced podium with race winner Eyrewell Turbo and Bob Cairns flanked by runner up Tee An’ Cee with handler Damian Connor and Steve Evans brought back the third-placed Know Refusal; the last race on the Southland Christmas Eve card was appropriately won by the John McInerney trained Opal Hunter, seen here with John (who trained ten winners on the 15 race card) and the Southland race starter Daniel Garthwaite posing as Santa - pics Dave Robbie


Colin Keen Memorial Final


Displaying sheer pace and determination resulted in a strong win for the Craig Roberts prepared Oster Bale when he stylishly prevailed in the New Year’s Eve held annual running of the $16,000 Colin Keen Memorial final at Group 2 level over 545m at Forbury Park.


There was a slight moment of concern when Oster Bale briefly tangled with another runner when heading into the first while punching forward to match the surprise early race leader Spring Falcon who had jumped into the early race from his one trap draw.


Sheer pace carried Oster Bale into the lead when rounding the turn and he was in freewheeling motion when galloping down the back straight, gamely chased by the Dave and Jean Fahey trained Spring Falcon. The first reserve Know Shame punched around the outer for his conditioner Gary Cleeve to take up a forward back straight position, while Oster Bale’s kennelmate Uthor Bale was rapidly improving after he was the last to exit from the 545m traps. This quartet broke away from the other four runners.


Oster Bale was galloping sweetly during the run home and while Spring Falcon was closing the gap, he still held a half-length margin at the judge when clocking 32.47s for his assignment. Uthor Bale rushed home for third a further 1.25 lengths behind while Know Shame arrived home another 2.5 lengths adrift in fourth. That was sufficient for this daughter of Yella Mustard and Know Revenge to claim the Breeders’ bonus payment for Cleeve by being the first Kiwi bred chaser to finish in this Group 2 event.


This was the fifth straight win that Oster Bale has secured for his Sydney based owner Jan Wheeler and the ease of those wins says he’ll certainly be a strong contender for the January 24 running of the $30,000 Hatrick Classic over 520m at Group 1 level.



Oster Bale holding out Spring Falcon to claim his Colin Keen Memorial final win; Oster Bale at the Otago GRC podium with from left Katie Wyllie and runner up Spring Falcon, Otago GRC President John Guthrie, Leaha Washington undertook the handling duties for Oster Bale, Colin Keen’s widow Sandra, Ange Washington handled the third-placed Uthor Bale; Bob and Heather Cairns with their inform Otago New Year’s Eve Classic Sprint winner Eyrewell Turbo -  pics supplied by Dave Robbie – – 021 607 869 for all your South Island race photos


By Peter Fenemor

Posted on 03 January 2020

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