Wednesday, August 29, 2018
It’s been a couple of years now since a giant of a trophy, covered in dust and cobwebs, was unearthed when a shed at the Tara Raceway greyhound track was being cleaned out.
As it turns out, the find did have some significance as it was the first Leading Trainer trophy awarded – for the 1979-80 season – and won by Ian Badger, one of the driving forces behind the sport in the South East in the early days of track racing.
We say one because, to be fair, greyhound racing in the region owes a debt of gratitude not only to Badger, at the time a local high school teacher, but also to many other dedicated volunteers.
Badger was on the South East Greyhound Racing Club committee when racing commenced at Glenburnie on Saturday, July 21, 1979 and the following month served notice of a big season to come when training a treble with Cash Supreme, Cash Silver and Radiant Beam, all members of the Baron Power x Cash Beam litter.
He was club secretary for the following season and president between 1984 and 1986 and again from 1988 to 1990. In 1996 he was awarded posthumous life membership of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club after having died on March 31, 1995 at the age of 46.
Badger’s trophy is now part of the club’s memorabilia display, standing alongside the Leading Trainer trophies from 1980-1981 and 1981-82, both won by Kevin Guthridge.
These days, the Leading Trainer award is worked on a calendar year, the MGGRC announcing this week that in future Tara Raceway’s leading trainer will receive the Ian Badger Leading Trainer award.
This will be presented in January, in the case of this year probably to Tracie Price, along with the 2018 Greyhound of the Year award which is still up for grabs.
Bill Ward, who sat on that 1979 committee with Badger and still takes in the odd race meeting at the local track, is delighted that Badger is finally going to be recognised at Tara Raceway.
“Ian was passionate about greyhound racing and was a tireless worker at Glenburnie and in the pre-racing period of the Lake Terrace East venue. What a shame he died prior to racing commencing at the new track.
“I think it’s fitting that he will now be remembered through this award,” said Ward, president of the MGGRC from 1991 to 1997 and also a life member.
Another haul of four winners – the fifth time this year – at Tara Raceway last Sunday took Price to 93 wins at the end of August.
Nicole Stanley, the 2017 Leading Trainer with 111 wins, had trained 76 winners at the same time last year.