It’s been a while now since Mount Gambier-based Clive Nicholson, who trained greyhounds back in the 1980s, had been out at Tara Raceway for a race meeting.
He called in last week, ostensibly to catch up with one of his old school teaching mates in Kevin “KD” Douglas. Also, though, to observe the progress local greyhound racing continues to make at the purpose-built track on Lake Terrace East.
And as he watched Aston Model win last week’s Produce Store Maiden Stake over 277 metres he may well have been thinking back to that Saturday afternoon in February 1980 when Angus Again won a Juvenile Stake over 289 metres in 18.10 seconds.
Angus Again, a son of Golden Spur and Willaura Lady, was Nicholson’s first dog and won at his first start. However, that was the only race he ever won for his then novice trainer.
“From memory, I reckon I picked up $25 for the win,” he said. “I notice that Aston Model collected $610 for her win although it’s not only the prizemoney that has improved.
“We were racing out at the original Tara Raceway which was situated inside the racecourse at Glenburnie. The track was nothing special but at the time we were happy just to have a track to race our dogs on.
“The Glenburnie track, which initially had six bookmakers, was a tight little circuit and if nothing else it gave the locals a decided advantage over the visitors because it took a little time to become accustomed to it.
“I certainly enjoyed my time out there and at one stage was treasurer of the SE Greyhound Racing Club when Ian Badger was president.”
Nicholson’s involvement in the sport continued until the late 1980s with his best greyhound being Belabour Bill, a well-bred son of Belabour Prince and Cranleigh’s Pride.
Belabour Prince was a finalist in the Melbourne, Geelong, Australian and Cranbourne Cups while Cranleigh’s Pride was a granddaughter of Tara Princess, inaugural winner of the Sandown Laurels in 1964.
“I purchased Belabour Bill as a pup and had plenty of fun with him. Besides winning at Tara Raceway, he broke a track record at Robinvale and I still remember the night we got 10/1 concession about him when he won at Sandown Park,” he said.
And what are the chances of Nicholson picking up where he left off all those years ago and once again becoming involved in greyhound racing?
“Well, to be honest, I have been considering purchasing a pup. I don’t live far from the track and with slipping track training facilities available at Tara Raceway it’s certainly not out of the question.”