After a break of more than eight years, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s opening event at Tara Raceway tomorrow, the Progreyhoundtips.com Maiden Stake, will herald the return of racing over 277 metres.
This follows a recent move by the MGGRC committee to re-introduce the short-course distance on a restricted basis in a bid to encourage trainers to race their greyhounds at a slightly younger age (the minimum age is 16 months) rather than continue to trial them.
At the other end of the age scale, the committee had also been keen to re-introduce a restricted 277 metres Masters event, predominantly for four-year-old greyhounds and over. A move, it hopes, will enable older dogs to remain in the racing system longer.
With the MGGRC currently running only one meeting a week due to the border restriction, Greyhound Racing SA went along with the suggestion even though the shortest distance being run at SA tracks at the moment is 388 metres at Angle Park.
However, GRSA Strategic Projects Manager Scott Wuchatsch later came up with a layout of a 305 metres start which he said would enable greyhounds to race in a straight line out of the boxes with a far longer run to the first turn.
He believed, if made a priority by management, the club could be racing out of the re-aligned short course start prior to the end of the year. The committee later confirmed this would be the preferred option.
It also confirmed that Razza Racing (Tony, Lisa and Tara Rasmussen) would sponsor the opening 305 metres event – a maiden heats and final series.
In the meantime, two 277 metres events (a youngest-up graded maiden and a Masters) will be programmed on a weekly basis until such time as the 305 metres is introduced. Once this occurs, 277 metres racing will cease with those boxes being used only for distance racing (732 m).
The last 277 metres race run at Tara Raceway was at the 2012 Mount Gambier Cup day when Ron Parry, then based at Bridgewater in the Adelaide Hills, won the Allestrees Holiday Units Cannonball Sprint with Kato who defeated Black Imposer and Woody Eva in a time of 16.34 seconds.
The short-course track record stands to the credit of the Tracie Price trained Magic Assassin who, at his only race over 277 metres, clocked 16.19 seconds on May 15, 2010 when defeating Ralph Patzel’s Nashira in a maiden stake.
By Whisky Assassin, Magic Assassin’s dam is Killarney Magic who figures in the pedigree of countless Tara Raceway winners, including the 2019 Mount Gambier Cup winner Galactic Athena.