Memorial race to precede cup heats

Memorial race to precede cup heats

It’s now been almost 12 months since long-time local greyhound racing stalwart Connie Miller passed away at the age of 76 after a long illness.

In 1983-1984 she had assumed the role of secretary of the South East Greyhound Racing Club, later to be known as the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing & Coursing Club Inc.

Given there were no computers back then, records were kept in a hard-covered account book with the secretary neatly entering all race results by hand.

The book contained 170 pages of results.

And that was just for 1983!

And she still found the time to train the winners of the 1987 and 1988 Mount Gambier Cup with Durafi and Mitchell Boy.

To this day she is still the only trainer to have won consecutive cups.

With the exception of 1996-1997 Connie was secretary until 2002-2003.

She worked alongside presidents Newman McDonnell, Ian Badger, Noel Miller, Des Dowdell, Bill Ward, Craig Collins, John Woodland and Barry Shepheard.

In the 1990s she received club life membership and was also recognised by the SA greyhound racing industry with an Outstanding Service to the Industry award.

The Connie Miller Memorial will be conducted over 512 metres for grade five greyhounds on Sunday, March 31 and will be a lead-up to the $3000 Mount Gambier Cup heats (512 m) to be run on the following Sunday (April 7).

Also on cup heat day at Tara Raceway will be the presentation of the Ian Badger Trainer of the Year award to Tracie Price while Kerry Hawker’s Nero Valentino will receive the Greyhound of the Year award.

First run over 479 metres at Glenburnie in 1981 when won by Tara Topar, this year will mark the 44th running of the Mount Gambier Cup.

Last year’s winner was the Daniel Gibbons trained Titan Blazer in a race record time of 29.36 seconds.

This year’s Group 3 Mount Gambier Cup will be sponsored by Cap Abbott and Kerry Hawker of Cadillac Racing and carry prize money of $36,000.

Greyhound Racing SA will once again link bonuses to both the Murray Bridge Cup (run on March 11 and 17) and the Mount Gambier Cup (the final on April 14).

There will be a $5000 bonus if the same greyhound wins both cups.

There will also be a $5000 trainer bonus if the same trainer can win both cups (SA or interstate or different dogs).

So far, neither of the bonuses has been won although Victorian trainer Angela Langton came pretty close in 2022 with Weblec Ranger.

The son of Kinloch Brae and Weblec Rose defeated Mr.

Ticket in the Murray Bridge Cup before narrowly going down to Jason Newman’s Departure Gate in the 2022 Mount Gambier Cup.

And the Calcutta, with the exception of a couple of Covid years, has always been part of the Mount Gambier Cup – right back to its beginnings in 1981 when the winner ewas sold for $100 in a Mount Gambier woolshed.

So how does a Calcutta actually work?

Participants purchase raffle tickets to enter into the initial Calcutta draw.

Every dog running in the 2024 Mount Gambier Cup heats will then be raffled and allocated to the corresponding ticket holder.

The successful ticket holders are now considered the “owners” of the cup heat runners moving into the auction.

And all proceeds from the raffle tickets sold are added to the prize pool.

The “ownership” of each dog will then be publicly auctioned to the highest bidder.

Following this, 50% of the value of the winning auction bid is distributed to the “owner/s” of the dog after the raffle phase.

The other 50% is added to the prize pool. “Owners” may buy their dog back at 50% of the auction price.

After the auction is completed the ownership is now settled until the completion of the cup heats and final.

Still confused? These couple of examples may help.

Daisy wins Speedy Sid in the raffle.

However Peter wins the auction with a bid of $100.

Daisy will receive $50 as “owner” and $50 will be added to the prize pool.

Don wins Speedy Jack in the raffle.

However, Don also wins the auction with a bid of $100.

Don will receive $50 back as “owner” and $50 will be added to the prize pool.

This means Don has retained Speedy Jack at a 50% discount on the auction price.

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