It was eight years ago that the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club decided to put to good use an area of disused land at the back of its race track on Lake Terrace East.
The idea was that with a few truck-loads of sand and an outside fence, an area could be set up for trainers whose own facilities were lacking the provision to be able to free gallop their greyhounds.
With many considering the free galloping aspect an important part of the racing greyhound’s exercise regime, Tara Raceway became SA’s first training-racing complex in July 2013. Later, “slipping tracks” at Angle Park and Murray Bridge followed.
Locally, the concept has worked well, especially after a watering system was later installed. At a cost of $100 a year, trainers become key holders to the area and have pretty well unrestricted access to the area.
A long-time user of the slipping track is Monty Wilson, who makes the trip across from Mumbannar with his greyhounds on a regular basis.
“Putting in a slipping track is one of the best things this club has ever done,” he said. “I use it all the time and have been for a number of years. I’m of the opinion that you can’t beat free galloping when it comes to training greyhounds. My dogs all love it.”
Wilson’s results probably tell the story. Currently he is enjoying his best year ever, having trained 25 winners and sitting in fourth spot in the Ian Badger Leading Trainer award. His most successful runner has been Sianna Magic who has won seven races.
And Noel Perry is another regular user. In fact, Compton Brett is one of the most improved greyhounds going around Tara Raceway at the moment for the local trainer.
This was once again shown on Sunday when the black son of legendary greyhound Brett Lee carved out a personal best time of 29.75 seconds when winning the Gambier Vets Stake (512 metres).
Such has been the improvement, Perry is now seriously contemplating running Compton Brett in the Mount Gambier division of the SA Country Cup (512 m) on Sunday, September 19.
Two greyhounds each from Mount Gambier, Gawler and Murray Bridge will contest the $7500 final over 530 metres at Angle Park on Friday, October 8.
Incidentally, a second slipping track, alongside the original one, is now being laid out in order that greyhounds, separated by a dividing fence, will be able to work even harder when galloping side by side.