So successful was this year’s Family Fun in the Sun promotion at South Australia’s four greyhound tracks, Greyhound Racing SA (GRSA) announced last week that a Festival of Fun would be staged to coincide with the January 2024 school holidays.
From a racing perspective – and complementing the Family Fun in the Sun – Gawler, Murray Bridge and Mount Gambier all ran a $10,000 race while Angle Park’s was $14,000. But really it was all about getting families to the track.
And it worked. In fact, as far as Mount Gambier was concerned, Tara Raceway’s February 12 meeting had never seen so many kids at one of its meetings, taking advantage of the bouncy castle, the ice cream van, face painting, kids’ races and getting up close and personal with the greyhounds.
Mount Gambier’s Festival of Fun will be conducted on Sunday, January 21. From a racing point of view the highlight will be the final of the Summer Classic, an age-restricted race run over 512 metres for all greyhounds whelped on or after January 1, 2022.
Once again, the race will carry $10,000 in prize money which makes it second only in monetary value to the Mount Gambier Cup. Certainly a far cry from the inaugural Summer Classic conducted back in 2015.
That was the year that Cryer’s Ricky, owned and trained by Margaret and Tom Cryer of Apsley, gained a start in the final as a reserve and subsequently defeated Peter Franklin’s Future Past in a time of 29.96 seconds.
By pure coincidence Margaret Cryer was in Mount Gambier on February 12 this year and had decided to attend the Tara Raceway meeting, not even realising the Summer Classic final was being run.
So who better to present the trophy to the connections of the winner, Honey Rocks – owned by Ron Murch and trained locally by Tracie Price?