Thursday, June 27, 2019
When the controlling body of the day, the National Coursing Association (NCA), all those years ago issued licences for mechanical hare greyhound racing tracks at Angle Park, Gawler, Strathalbyn, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Pirie and Mount Gambier it believed that was quite sufficient for SA.
As it turned out, it was more than enough – tracks at Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Port Pirie now long gone after the novelty of racing a greyhound wore off.
Initially, though, there was no shortage of participants or greyhounds or, for that matter, representatives from other regions putting up their hands for a licence to build a greyhound track.
The NCA was steadfast no more licences would be issued but the sport inevitably underwent a change of control and three more tracks would be built at Kulpara, Barmera and Port Augusta.
Kulpara conducted straight track racing while Barmera enjoyed a halcyon period, attracting plenty of greyhounds, good crowds and big bettors. Both these tracks have now closed.
And Port Augusta, SA’s only grass track, will run its last meeting on Saturday with the highlight being the Port Augusta Cup final.
A letter to the editor this week in the Adelaide Advertiser suggested that Greyhound Racing SA’s decisions to close country tracks in recent years had made it too hard for trainers to race their dogs in an economic environment.
Now, while we don’t mind blaming GRSA for most things, it’s probably fair to say that the track closures came about more so by a not-so-gradual decline in local volunteers, participants and greyhounds.