As word spreads about how successful the redevelopment of the Horsham Greyhound track has been from a racing perspective, local trainers are finding that they have to mix it with the state’s best on their home turf, or should it be sand.
More, and more of the greyhound elite are heading out west to experience Victoria’s newest track and are more often than not leaving with the chocolates as the local find it tough going against the professional, full time kennels with their superstar racers.
Last Tuesday race 8 attracted a classy field rarely seen on a country circuit outside of Cup times and was headed by Lightning Frank. The Warrnambool trained (and Nhill bred by Andrea Gurry) star who boasts almost $300,000 in prizemoney and is a dual Group 1 winner lined up over the 485m in his first start after a lengthy spell.
However, after a torrid run in transit, had to settle for second place to Nangar Rock who was having his second look at the new track and clearly used that experience to his advantage to win by 2 lengths.
As can be expected with a new track the course records have progressively been whittled down and Tuesday was no exception with both the 410m and 485m records falling to visitors in Paua To Avoid in 23.34 seconds for the 410m and Crash Cobra stopping the clock at 27.29 over the 485m.
Crash Cobra is a lightly raced dog from the Azzopardi team in Myrniong and looks to have bright future ahead of him.
This afternoon is not without stars and race 8 over the 485m for grade 4 dogs has attracted a field of seven runners who have combined amassed almost $600,000 in prizemoney and includes established dogs the calibre of Bruce Tycoon and Nangar Range up against potential superstar Jimmy Newob (pictured, photo credits Paul Munt) in what will be an intriguing battle.
There are 11 other quality races on the card and the best chance for a local victory might come early in race 2 where locally trained greyhounds make up five of the eight runners with the best of those John Weir-Smith’s Charlotte Street who has been runner up at her past two.
The time has never been better to be involved in greyhound racing with greatly improved welfare, integrity and lifelong outcomes for these elite athletes, and now Greyhound Racing Victoria has announced a consultation period with the industry on the slice up of and extra $3.1 million in prizemoney.
It takes the total return to participants over $46 million per annum in the state of Victoria and approximately $1.6 million will be on offer at Horsham over the next year.