We Need More Younger Faces

1st April 2020

By BRAD BELFORD 

 CHASE Newspaper’s approach to me about getting into greyhounds, Townsville-style, could not have come at a more opportune time. 

That’s because I am party to a bold new venture, with my great mate Mark Partland and Townsville radio station Power 100.7 in a greyhound racing venture to attract youngsters to our glorious sport. 

Mark owns Murphy Rumble, who was Townsville greyhound of the year in 2019. He and his business do a lot of advertising on Power 100.7 and because we have had a good deal of success with the dogs in the past year, the station got behind us. 

So, from all that, we have come up with an idea to attract the young listeners of Power 100.7 into greyhound ownership. 

We have been given a commission of $6000 to buy an unnamed young dog. I will train the dog. 

The radio station will conduct a giveaway of about 20 shares in the dog, to young listeners in the 18 to 30 age group. 

I will train the dog for nothing and my share of any prizemoney won will go to charity. 

It is a fabulous idea and in the planning process right now. 

We need young people in our sport. That’s our trouble. So many of our participants have seen younger days. 

But, it is a fabulous industry for young people and very beneficial. 

I grew up with greyhound racing through my dad (Brisbane-based Bob Belford) so it was easy for me to get involved. I knew where to start, how to get dogs, what to do with them. 

I had a break recently and have only been back into training for the past 18 months and cannot believe the increase in prizemoney opportunities. Last year, my kennel won $140,000 and already this year, going on results to date, I’m on target to take that to $180,000. 

I love it when syndicates get involved, which is why I’m right behind the Power 100.7 plan. 

One of my team is called Bear Fever and it has been winning well recently. Whenever it races, the entire team who own it are at the track and they cheer the place down. 

That is what greyhound racing is all about. 

I’m hoping the Power 100.7 plan can be done two or three times a year. In that way we get 20, 40 and even 60 newcomers into a greyhound and going greyhound racing at Townsville. 

Since my return to training I have noticed how popular racing is. The restaurant at the track is full. We are getting more and more people along to the races. 

I was recently at Albion Park with a couple of finalists in the Country Cup and was very surprised at how well the night was run and the how good it was there. Since the club has taken over the catering, the locals are raving about the night out. 

Getting into greyhound racing in Townsville is no different to anywhere else in the country. It is all about finding the right dog. 

And, that means a dog that comes out, one that has early pace.  

In this area, we don’t necessarily need strong 500 metre dogs like they do at Albion Park, Wenty, Sandown, The Meadows and the like. 

Jets early are the priority. But, of course, that is everyone’s aim. 

New dogs to this area can quickly win the lower grade races if they have some sort of ability, but once into third grade it becomes tough going, even to get a start. 

I get a lot of young guys forming syndicates and coming to me to find a dog for them. The problem with most syndicates is they are always in too much of a hurry. 

And, they quickly find themselves searching the internet, or have a mate or someone who knows someone with a dog for sale. 

Generally, I tell these syndicates to be careful with Victorian buys. Many are generally overpriced for the quality of dog they are. 

And the internet can be a real trap. It is another nono. 

I had an approach recently from one syndicate who could buy for $1000 a dog that had trialled 25.80 around Ipswich. There was no way I wanted that sort of dog in my kennel. It is just not good enough. 

If these syndicates are happy to wait for the right dog to come along, then they will be rewarded with something they can have great fun with. 

The easiest thing in the world is to get a greyhound, the hardest thing in the world is to get the one you want. 

For racing in Townsville, it is horses for courses – sprinters who are quick out and have a good number of low grade wins in them. 

I’m certain the Power 100.7 plan will spark a lot of interest. Owning a racehorse is far too costly and greyhounds are certainly the great avenue to get into racing.