Thursday, February 9, 2017
Local greyhound trainers were back in the classroom this week as part of Greyhound Racing SA’s Trainer Education Program.
Six three-hour assessment workshops were held at Tara Raceway with all trainers required to attend one of the workshops as part of GRSA’s licensing requirements.
Workshops are also being held at Angle Park, Gawler, Strathalbyn and Port Augusta in order to align with a national approach to benchmarking minimum standards of competency for all trainers.
Run in conjunction with Racing Queensland, the skills and knowledge workshops will assess trainers’ knowledge on a range of topics and lead to the Certificate IV in Racing (Greyhound Trainer).
In Mount Gambier to ascertain local trainers’ grasp of the greyhound was veterinarian Dr Jane McNicholl, who is also a successful breeder and trainer. Ably assisting her was trainer assessor Gabrielle Passlow from Queensland.
And so, in what was a relaxed and casual atmosphere, the Tuesday afternoon group of six trainers spent three hours covering both theory and practical skills.
Skills such as determining nutritional requirements for racing greyhounds; care, treatment, health and welfare, along with education and training of greyhounds for racing.
Nothing was left to chance. Even parts of empty dog food bags were handed around in order to check the list of ingredients.
Then it was over to the kennel house where mainly retired greyhounds brought to the track by the trainers waited patiently in air-conditioned comfort.
They were then subjected to the application of hock, wrist and track leg bandages along with being administered with imaginary worm tablets.
So, how did the class of Tuesday afternoon fare? Well, according to Gabrielle Passlow, no-one fails.
“Many times we hear people saying that they’ve been a trainer for years and as such can’t learn anything.
“But the workshops are not an education session. What they do is allow GRSA to ascertain what trainers actually know in order that we can show they have a recognised level of competency when working with greyhounds,” she said.
TAKING UP THE CHALLENGE
Long-time trainer Kevin Ashton, who regularly makes the “waterbag” trip over to Mount Gambier from Charlton with partner Jan Neil, reckons he likes a challenge.
Well, Tipping Woody has probably given him no bigger challenge, although he finally broke through for his first win in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway last Friday.
Mind you, not before giving Ashton – and punters who took the short quote – a few anxious moments when running extremely wide on the first turn and then finding trouble going into the back straight.
But after finding the front, the black dog, on the back of four consecutive minor placings at Tara Raceway, strode away to a 4¼ length win over Cee Jay’s Heart in 30.67 seconds.
By Stagger x Hippy Chic, Tipping Woody is raced by the Rosemont Syndicate who had been having some success with the litter sister Cement Socks but not so Woody who had copped a 28 day suspension for marring back in October at Traralgon.
And it was an advertisement placed by the syndicate looking for a trainer for the wayward hound that caught Ashton’s attention.
“Look, I don’t mind a challenge and, besides, Tipping Woody had run four minor placings on Victorian provincial tracks prior to being advertised so there was a bit to work with.
“I figured he might be worth a try, especially over here behind the finish-on-lure. As it’s turned out, it looks like there’s a little bit of talent there,” he said.
There’s also a bit of winning form in the litter with the standout at the moment being Wot Price Flash who has won 16 races and recorded 19 minor placings for stakemoney of $33,000.