The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club (MGGRC) is hoping for a well-attended meeting on Sunday when representatives from eight local football teams will be on course at Tara Raceway for the South-East Football Clubs Challenge.
East Gambier, Glencoe, Nangwarry, North Gambier, Penola, Port MacDonnell, South Gambier and West Gambier will all draw a greyhound to have running for them in the 512 metres Challenge.
Up for grabs will be the South-East Football Clubs Challenge trophy, a framed photograph of the winner of the race with club representatives, donated by Todd’s Photographics, and, of course, bragging rights.
Eight other races on the day will carry the names of the football clubs.
The driving force behind the inaugural Challenge is the MGGRC president Noel Perry, also a former president and long-time committee member of the Nangwarry Football Club.
“We’re hoping we can get a good crowd out to Tara Raceway for the day,” he said.
“With free entry, a trackside bar and catering, TAB facilities, a kids’ play ground and exciting greyhound racing there’s something for everyone at our Lake Terrace East complex.
“Also, we’re asking local football club supporters to assist in making it a colourful day by wearing their team colours.” Perry said he was hopeful that Greyhound Racing SA Syndication Coordinator Sean Donnelly would also be attendance on the day.
“Sean is currently working towards setting up affordable syndicates to race greyhounds at SA’s four tracks – Angle Park, Gawler, Murray Bridge and Mount Gambier.
“Hopefully he’ll be able to make it down for the meeting and speak with anyone keen to become involved in an ownership share of a racing grey hound.” Football clubs and greyhound racing meetings are nothing new.
From the archives of the South East Greyhound Racing Club comes a hand-written letter penned on September 22, 1980 by then-secretary Ian Badger and reading in part: “The South East Greyhound Racing Club intends running foot races for footballers during its program on October 25.
“All Western Border clubs are invited to nominate two runners for the competition.
“Three heats of eight runners over about 300 metres will be run early in the day, and later, a final for the six qualifiers (two per heat).
“First prizemoney is guaranteed to be at least $100, so I hope this will attract interest from some players in your club.
“We intend that players run in their club colours and advise the possibility of a challenge against winners at Warrnambool and Horsham adds further scope to this competition.” Sunday’s meeting will also mark a significant milestone for the MGGRC with the introduction of Category 2 stakemoney for its Sunday meetings.
GRSA CEO Matt Corby said the board and management had long held the view the strongest model for grey hound racing in SA was one that is based on an equitable approach to supporting regional clubs.
“We’re really pleased to see our regional clubs thriving.
“The performance of the Mount Gambier Club in recent times is a testament to the resilience of the committee and the local trainers supported by the venue,” he said.
Previously conducting Category 3 Sunday meetings at Mount Gambier, the MGGRC will be on a similar footing to that of Gawler and Murray Bridge following the introduction of Category 2 stakemoney.
The value of the increase will approach $300,000 annually in additional returns to local participants.
Since 2012 and the introduction of greyhound racing being broadcast on Sky Racing, the MGGRC has quadrupled its annual racing schedule from 26 to 104 meetings annually.
“We are also working toward introducing other positive changes for SA stakemoney from the start of the next financial year,” Corby said.
“This means these are very exciting times.”