With race distances of 305 metres, 400 metres, 512 metres and 600 metres already in place, trainers at Tara Raceway will have a further option come the end of the month when 732 metres racing returns to the calendar.
Primarily, the 732 metres start, prior to the boxes being switched to accommodate the 305 metres distance, had been used for trialling over 277 metres (boxes to winning post).
However, after a break of more than eight years, 277 metres racing was back on the program for the latter part of last year with a maiden race being graded youngest-up.
This followed a move by the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club committee to re-introduce short-course racing on a restricted basis. It was hopeful of encouraging trainers to race their greyhounds at a slightly younger age (minimum age is 16 months) rather than continue to trial them.
In the meantime, though, Greyhound Racing Strategic Projects Manager, Scott Wuchatsch, came up with a layout of a 305 metres start which he believed would enable greyhounds to race in a straight line out of the boxes with a far longer run to the first turn.
In late January 2021 heats of the Razza Racing Maiden kicked off 305 metres racing from a new purpose-built start at Tara Raceway. This signalled the end of 277 metres racing.
From then on, only 732 metres races would be conducted from the existing starting area – after a new set of boxes had been sourced. So once greyhounds hit the winning post the first time (277 m) they’ll just be warming up given there will still be another lap to travel.
It’s now almost two years since a 732 metres race has been run at Tara Raceway – Nicole Stanley’s Angle Park 2019 SA Distance Championship winner Dyna Quota defeating Noosa Parade in a time of 43.85 seconds.
There was a time when a 732 metres race was one of the highlights on Mount Gambier Cup day. In 2010 Gary Lane was successful with Mantra Miss in track record time of 44.20 seconds. A year later, Robert Britton’s Nellie Noodles lowered the record to 43.45 seconds, a time that still stands today.
Then, in 2018, distance racing was back on the cup program for the first time since 2014 when Brendan Bunworth’s Maccaboy had been successful in 44.25 seconds.
Hopper’s Crossing trainer Allan Meyer was a stranger to Tara Raceway but opted for a run in the cup day distance with Mick’s Angel after tiring of “having his head kicked in by the million dollar dog Fanta Bale”.
And the daughter of Kilty Lad x Seabrook Lass turned in a big run to defeat Cryer’s Plugger and Bekim Lucy’s in 43.94 seconds.
Set down for Sunday, October 31 is the Winning Post Supplies Back to Distance Racing Stake. If the interest so far expressed materialises then it should be a good race.