Big bucks for Grafton ‘gala’
MAIN GRAFTON WINTER CARNIVAL SCHEDULE
June 28: Maiden heats (450m).
June 30: Sprinters Cup heats (450m); Stayers Cup heats (650m).
July 7: Sprinters Cup final (450m); Stayers Cup final (650m); Maiden final (450m).
Also racing on July 2 and July 9.
By Terry Wilson
LOCAL club officials and Greyhound Racing New South Wales have left no stone unturned in a bid to attract as many quality greyhounds as they can to the big launch of the brand new Grafton track.
With the return of the Winter Carnival to Jacaranda City on a swish $4.6 million revamped circuit, interest is at an all-time high as the club adopts a policy of ‘if you want the best then do something about getting the best’.
To this end a significant prizemoney lure has been put up for the official opening night of the revamped circuit.
“It’s the official opening of our new track and Greyhound Racing New South Wales wanted to showcase it,” said Grafton chairman John Corrigan.
“To do that is to get good dogs here – and you can do that with good prizemoney.”
Prizemoney has soared for this year’s Winter Carnival big races.
The feature races on Wednesday night, July 7, are the Clarence Valley Sheds Maiden Final (450m) with $20,000 to the winner; the Village Green Hotel Sprinters Cup (450m) with $20,000 to the winner; and the Ladbrokes Stayers Cup (650m) with $15,000 to the winner.
But across the board the purses this year – the carnival was not held last year – are well up on normal prizemoney.
“Base prizemoney is usually about $2500 per race,” said Corrigan.
“We had normally paid $15,000 for the Maiden and the last time we ran the Sprint it was worth $6000 and the Stayers Cup was worth only $4000.”
As is expected there is a buzz in the Clarence Riverside town heading into the start of official trialling before the big Winter Carnival, which goes hand in hand with the horse racing Ramornie Handicap and the Grafton Cup.
The impact on the town’s economy cannot be understated.
The greyhounds and dogs combine to pour millions into the town.
“They (the gallops) race Wednesday afternoon (the Ramornie) and we race Wednesday night,” said Corrigan.
“The Grafton Cup (horses) is on the Thursday and then we race Friday.
“The injection of money is massive for the town.
“A mate of mine used to be the manager of the RSL club and he said the greyhound people really support the town.
“Most come here for two weeks and we have 35 vans booked on site. And the Village Green Hotel is basically the unofficial watering hole.”
The carnival winds up on Friday night, July 9, with two feature $6500 to the winners events.
The Grafton club will take over use of the revamped complex on May 19 and trials are expected to begin then leading into the first race meeting on Monday, June 4.
“We have until then to iron out any kinks,” said Corrigan, who said inquiries about when trainers can trial their hounds has been significant.
“The track is looking a picture and we’re expecting a big crowd here.”
The recent heavy rain did nothing but hold up work on the track for a fortnight and Corrigan said there was no damage to be seen.
One thing the club chairman likes about the track is that Grafton is now easily accessible to Brisbane people, who can drive from the Queensland capital to Grafton in about three hours.
“So this is an ideal opportunity for Queenslanders to race their dogs on a one-turn track,” he said.