After nine months, and more than $1 million, Horsham Greyhound Racing Club held its first full race meeting on the newly redeveloped track last Tuesday.
The meeting proved a great result for Wimmera-based trainers.
David Gehan (Stawell) had the honour of training the first winner on the track in Kintamani over the 410m in 23.77 seconds and by default became a track record holder, albeit only for about half an hour. Locally trained greyhounds also filled third, fourth and fifth places, with Bob Taylor’s Bronte’s Flyer the one to watch after a torrid run from box 6 to wind up in third. She moves to the coveted red draw in next meeting’s race 1.
Zoenah’s Legacy for Ron Rowe (Horsham) broke her maiden status in race 2 in a tight finish with the Great Western dog Starbright Vic (Vic Millington). Rowe trains a small team from his backyard and again proved that trialling at Horsham can give a distinct advantage to inexperienced dogs over those that hadn’t been over the redesigned course.
It was three local winners from the first four races when Coolatai Lass spaced her rivals over the 410m in 23.59. For the daughter of Barcia Bale, it was her second success from only five starts and she promises plenty more for trainer Heather Baxter of Murtoa. Baxter was unable to attend Tuesday due to her kennel sitting for Horsham president Ian Bibby while he is in Italy, following his granddaughter Chloe at the U19 World Cup Basketball Tournament.
Vic Millington soon had reason to cheer after the earlier defeat of Starbright Vic, when Solar Mocha led all the way in race 11 to record his seventh victory from 22 starts. Solar Mocha is from a litter that Millington bred and reared continues the recent success of his team around western Victoria.
Tuesday night was hugely important to the club and the wider industry, given it is the first time the design of a redevelopment has had an overarching scientific backing towards greyhound welfare. Designs for the track were scrutinised by University of Technology Sydney to verify that the new layout would provide the greyhounds with the best possible environment given site constraints. The result on night one was significant, with a clean sheet of zero injuries reported.
Greyhound racing is also a major contributor to the Wimmera economy with a benefit of about $3.5 million in the year to June 2016, 26 full-time equivalent jobs and near 300 registered participants covering trainers, owners and breeders.
Horsham Greyhound Racing Club hosts a weekly meeting on Tuesdays at the Horsham Showgrounds and additional weekend meetings through the year.