‘Banner’ run just not enough
Tuesday, 28th June, 2011
She came, she conquered and for a short period she was on top of the world - but Margaret Bannerman’s successful 4000-kilometre multi-trek to and from Broken Hill didn’t have the fairytale ending she craved.
Mrs Bannerman and her brilliant greyhound Pindari Bale did all they could to snare the rich $12,500 bonus on offer at the conclusion of the NSW Country Challenge, but in the end they missed out by one 100th of a second.
Just hours after Pindari Bale captured the BH leg of the event, across the state at Kempsey joint series leader Proper Lucy also greeted the judge in a thrilling finish to win the rich booty on a countback.
The prestigious series had crisscrossed NSW at 21 tracks and concluded with the two greyhounds tied on 47 points, with Proper Lucy picking up the bonus cheque as she had captured more wins than Pindari Bale.
The two dogs now head to Sydney’s Wentworth Park track for one last showdown before Pindari Bale is retired.
“This is just so exciting,” a beaming Mrs Bannerman said after Pindari Bale landed the $3000 winner’s cheque at Broken Hill’s Newmarket Raceway on Saturday afternoon.
“To travel so far (around 11 hours each way on successive weekends) was a big ask, but it has certainly been worth it.
“I love this track here in Broken Hill and the people could not have been more helpful,” she added.
Based at Reefton, near Temora in central NSW, Pindari Bale and Mrs Bannerman were accompanied by her father, 72-year-old Morris “Jock” Taylor, a former trainer who made a habit of winning races at Sydney’s metropolitan tracks while based at Dapto.
“This is a huge thrill for me as well,” Mr Taylor smiled on Saturday.
“I have had my fair share of good wins, but to see Margaret put so much time and effort into having Pindari Bale in such fine form at the end of the challenge series makes me feel very proud.”
Pindari Bale momentarily snatched the Country Challenge series lead with a spectacular 30.57-second performance over the 525-metre final, which was just outside the track record of 30.33, set by Coulta Colleen more than 10 years ago.
The four-year-old spaced her rivals by almost five lengths, with South Australia’s Kinka Bale finishing second and fellow Croweater, My Boy Pedro, grabbing third. Local hope C’Mon Tigger rattled home to finish fourth.
BH punters rallied behind our other representative, Keith Is Blue, sending him to the boxes as joint favourite with Kinka Bale, but the Jamie Coff-trained dog weakened to finish seventh after leading down the back straight.
Trainer Clint Trengove was delighted with C’Mon Tigger’s attempt to keep the richest prize in local greyhound racing in the city as the dog was having just its fourth start and seems destined for a big future.
Trengove didn’t finish the day empty handed however, training a treble, including the winner of the main support race, the BH Sturt Club Maiden final with the exciting C’Mon Flipy.
A healthy crowd enjoyed the near-perfect conditions at the Newmarket Raceway and in a mixed day of results four favourites greeted the judge while two long shot winners also saluted.
Burnout King, an 11/1 outsider after running unplaced in last weekend’s heats, upset the field in the Country Challenge consolation final, holding off the Fred Sweet-trained Hunsie.
The feature Country Challenge final was dominated by Pindari Bale who surprisingly started third favourite behind Kinka Bale and Keith Is Blue.
“I knew as soon as she got through the first turn unscathed we were going to be hard to beat,” trainer Margaret Bannerman said.
“When she was that close (to leader, Keith Is Blue) going down the back straight I thought the others would struggle to match her.
“Coming from box seven obviously wasn’t ideal but it all worked out well and I couldn’t be happier,” she continued.
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More photos and full results, Page 19.
Mrs Bannerman said she was so impressed with the people of Broken Hill and the racing facilities that she would definitely return.
“I’ll be back next year and will be bringing a team of dogs, not just one runner,” enthused Mrs Bannerman.
“I’ve travelled all over New South Wales and this track is as good as any that I have seen.
“It’s a credit to the club and so is the secretary Sharyn Gray who has looked after us so well that I couldn’t possibly thank her enough.
“I was made to feel right at home here and I have fallen in love with the place,” she continued.
Mrs Bannerman endured the grueling 2000-kilometre round trip from Reefton to BH on consecutive weekends with her left arm in a protective sling after dislocating her shoulder weeks earlier.
“I was walking Pindari Bale in the morning before she raced at Gunnedah earlier this month and slipped over,” Mrs Bannerman recalled.
“But I’m not feeling any pain at the moment,” she laughed, accepting the $3000 winner’s cheque after the main event.
Mrs Bannerman and her father were back on the road just hours after their success in Broken Hill with another chapter written in the family’s long association with greyhound racing.
“I was born in Condobolin but moved to Dapto to train and Margaret has been around greyhounds all her life,” proud father “Jock” Taylor said.
“I can remember her as a four-year-old helping me out at the track, so it gives me a great thrill to see her doing such a fine job now.
“Pindari Bale has been a great performer for her, but I think Margaret might even have a better dog back at home that will be racing soon,” Mr Taylor revealed.
For the moment though, Mrs Bannerman will be concentrating on having Pindari Bale primed for her farewell appearance in Sydney in 10 days time.
Although she can’t take the $12,500 bonus prizemoney away from series winner Proper Lucy, a victory over her NSW rival at the state’s home of greyhound racing would be a fitting curtain call for Pindari Bale.