Local clients from Claro Aged Care and Disability Services have become quite the regular racegoers at Tara Raceway’s Thursday afternoon greyhound meetings.
In fact, the Tara Tipsters who have already thrown their support behind local charities such as the Sunset Kitchen, Foodbank, the Visually Impaired Club of Mount Gambier, the Grantville Court Thrift Shop and Four Reasons Why, have now gone into bat for the Claro clients.
And greyhound owner Kevin “KD” Douglas, also well known for his outstanding local charity work, has gone out of his way to make sure the Claro clients enjoy their days at the dogs.
“When Teresa starting bringing out the clients to the track I said to local trainer David Peckham that perhaps in an honorary capacity they could race a couple of his better chances for the day. If, in fact, any happened to win then they could have their photograph taken with the dog,” he said.
“It’s worked well with the clients getting up close and personal with the greyhounds and quickly realising what beautiful and friendly animals they are.
“Other trainers have also been very supportive, in particular Kerry Hawker who has gone out of her way to allow the Claro clients to interact with her dogs and to be photographed with them.”
One of the clients looking for a more “hands-on” role at the track had been 30-year-old Jarrad Williams. His involvement in the sport goes back a number of years to when his great-uncle Les Reichelt of Kapunda raced greyhounds at Angle Park and Gawler.
This is where Douglas, who currently leads the Tara Tipsters competition, once again stepped in.
“While Jarrad would have been required to be licensed to catch greyhounds at the conclusion of a race, my thoughts were that perhaps he could become involved by leading a designated dog back and then hand it over to the trainer.
“I ran my suggestion past chief steward Barry Shepheard who was happy for me to work in with Jarrad when I was catching greyhounds. Actually, all the stewards at Tara Raceway have been very understanding.”
He commenced his hands-on role last Thursday. And everything went well – with the exception that by the time the last race had been run he still hadn’t been able to lead back a winner.
Lektra Nick won the final race, the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 metres). That made it a father-son double for Doug and Paul Hammerstein of Ararat after Crackerjack Lach scored earlier in the day in the Exchange Printers Stake (400 m).
Returning with the winner, and standing in for his father, was Paul Hammerstein who asked the “newcomer to the ranks” if he wanted to join him in a photograph with Lektra Nick.
He didn’t have to ask twice. And all of a sudden this had been a pretty special day at the dogs for Jarrad Williams.