The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club attracted one of its largest crowds in a number of years to Tara Raceway for Sunday’s Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup, sponsored by the Commercial Hotel.
Patrons were once again back at the track and lining the fence to witness the club’s major race, run continuously since 1981 when won by Tara Topar at Mount Gambier’s original greyhound track, situated inside the thoroughbred race track out at Glenburnie.
For the first time at Tara Raceway, the TAB and a bookmaker operated side by side, Darren Guthridge reporting brisk business and delighted to have been fielding at a Mount Gambier Cup meeting.
And for the first time in a while there were kids back in the playground.
Also taking in the action was Tony Pasin, Federal Member for Barker, who found himself called upon to conduct a much-belated kennel house opening ceremony after Covid-19 had put paid to the original opening.
But it was an announcement on course by Greyhound Racing SA Chairman Grantley Stevens that set the scene for a great Mount Gambier Cup day. An announcement of much significance as far as Mount Gambier greyhound racing is concerned.
The forerunner to this announcement had been back in January when the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club executive committee, headed by Jason Newman, put together an extensive proposal relating to Category 2 prizemoney for Sunday meetings at Tara Raceway.
So when the chairman announced that GRSA had agreed to the MGGRC’s Sunday meetings taking on Category 2 status as from July 1 it was clearly a vote of confidence in Mount Gambier greyhound racing.
What the change from Category 3 to Category 2 means is a substantial prizemoney increase and will place the club on the same level as Gawler and Murray Bridge.
As an example, the winner of a low-grade race (grade six) over 512 metres currently receives $615. From July 1, winners of the same grade and distance will collect $990. This rises proportionately with the class of race. And SA-bred maiden winners over 512 metres will receive close to $2000.
Also on track for yesterday’s cup was inaugural club secretary, 84-year-old Colin Potter. He would have noticed a few changes since that night back on September 14, 1972 when a public meeting was held in the Mount Gambier City Hall to form the South East Greyhound Racing Club.