The last time Mount Gambier bookmaker Darren Guthridge fielded at a greyhound meeting was back in the mid-nineties out at Glenburnie – the track that accommodated six bookmakers when it first opened in 1979.
These days, besides holding down a day job, he fields at thoroughbred meetings in the region and at harness racing meetings at Greenwald Paceway.
But he grew up with greyhounds, a couple of leading trainer trophies on display in the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s memorabilia section won by his father Kevin.
Race meetings at Tara Raceway this year have been severely compromised to the extent that the only time in recent months that tote facilities were available on course was on Mount Gambier Cup day on August 30.
As it turned out, there was no thoroughbred fixture in the district last Sunday and Guthridge was more than happy to field at the greyhound club’s nine-race meeting – the first bookmaker at Tara Raceway since Malcolm Bingham all those years ago.
Realistically, Guthridge was never going to be rushed off his feet. But Shane Flink couldn’t line up in the “payout queue” quick enough after his dog Confession won the first race.
Neither could Kilburn trainer Charlie Adcock who collected a winning bingo ticket worth more than a dollar (unheard of) prior to scoring with rank outsider Black Sombrero.
Until further notice, racing now reverts to Thursday afternoons at Tara Raceway. Also, there will be no betting facilities at the track as TAB works towards a digital on-course presence.
And while Guthridge thoroughly enjoyed the day, he said that at the moment his day job would probably need to take precedence over Thursday afternoon greyhound meetings!