Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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The long and the short of it all

Saint Coco (No. 6) holds off Sidney’s Star to win the 277 metres maiden at Tara Raceway on Thursday. In third place was Lucky Larry.

There was a time when pretty well all greyhound races were run over either 500 metres or 700 metres – 546 yards or 765 yards as it would have been back then.

But these days track records are listed from 259 metres (at Lismore) and upwards, short-course racing seemingly have no difficulty in attracting sufficient nominations.

Perhaps not all that surprising given that only a couple of weeks ago a 307 metres maiden final was run at Bathurst with the winner collecting $7100.

And after a break of more than eight years, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s first race at Tara Raceway on Thursday marked the return of 277 metres racing – Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell’s Saint Coco successful in a time of 16.74 seconds.

The re-introduction of short-course racing on a restricted basis was simply to try and add to the number of races by tapping into the pool of younger and older greyhounds.

As it turns out, though, the return of 277 metres racing will be only temporary. Greyhound Racing SA Projects Manager Scott Wuchatsch has since come 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.

With the MGGRC committee later confirming that this would be the preferred option, Wuchatsch said he believed the club could be racing out of the re-aligned short course start prior to the end of the year providing a set of suitable starting boxes could be sourced for the 305 metres start.

However, after the club had experienced difficulty in obtaining another set of boxes an executive committee decision was made in regard to the 277 metres/732 metres boxes.

What will happen now is that these boxes will be used for the 305 metres start. In all likelihood there will be only one week lost (in relation to short-course racing) in the changeover.

However, a new set of starting boxes will still need to be sourced in order for 732 metres racing to continue. While only a couple of distance races have been run this year at Tara Raceway the club remains committed to staying events.

Once 305 metres racing is up and running, the purchase of another set of suitable starting boxes will become a priority. The Michelle Niele 3-Distance Iron Dog series, currently on hold due to the border restrictions, will include a 732 metres round.

Scott Blacksell and Jude Tait pictured with Worms Are Biting.

Meanwhile, taking advantage of the extension earlier this month of the 40 km travel bubble on the SA/Victorian border to 70 km was Cape Bridgewater owner-trainer Scott Blacksell, who was successful with Worms Are Biting in Thursday’s Bartholomew Pick 6 Stake (400 m).

A maiden winner at Warrnambool back in August, Worms Are Biting brought up his second win when taking over the running off the back from odds-on favourite Mootwingee before holding out a fast-finishing High Fly Emma for a 1½ lengths win in 23.40 seconds.

And it’s been a real hands-on effort on the part of Blacksell who purchased the black son of Worm Burner and Maximum Bella as a four-month-old pup from Allendale East breeder David Peckham.

Blacksell, together with partner Jude Tait, subsequently reared Worms Are Biting at Cape Bridgewater prior to breaking him in at Warrnambool.

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