New loam track gets a big thumbs up from trainers
By TONY WHITE
THE greyhound racing fraternity was barking the merits of Grafton Greyhound Racing Club's new loam track following the first public trials yesterday.
"It went fantastic, not one hitch," GGRC president Des Winters said.
"Everyone was full of praise. The feedback was great. It's really good."
Winters estimated 40 trainers, from locals to visitors, supplied 63 greyhounds to contest a series of trials over 407m and 480m.
Tucabia trainer Reg Gardoll trialled 12 greyhounds, while Casino mentors Brad Mansfield and Jeff Smith each brought five dogs, with Smith's multiple winner Scar Bar making the trip.
"And there were quite a few people there who weren't trialling but came to have a look," Winters said.
"We should have opened the bar."
The upgraded loam surface, including recambered turns, was completed at a cost of around $200,000. The project was jointly funded by the club and the Carr Government.
Mansfield said the track was 'in fantastic order'.
"I can only give it a glowing report. The dogs go very even on it.
"I took four pups and one race dog down and the pups particularly handled it (the track) terrific. Normally they want to run off at the turns but there was no sign of that happening.
"And there wasn't one injury. The committee down there have done a real good job. They've put in a lot of volunteer work. They deserve a pat on the back.
"The track augurs well for the future of the club and the area."
Smith echoed Mansfield's sentiments.
Winters breathed a sigh of relief after all greyhounds came through the trials unscathed, including two of his own.
"The corners were a bit of a problem on the old grass track, dogs got injured sometimes," Winters said.
"Now they are fantastic.
"There was not one injury from the trials.
"The name of the game is not having your dogs break down. The new camber is great."
Times on loam are slower than grass due to the nature of the track.
"The average time on loam compared to grass for 407 metres is about a second slower. That's the case everywhere," Winters said.
"The sand is probably still a bit thick but that's to be expected. It will improve. The dogs weren't kicking up a lot of sand and it wasn't sticking to their feet.
"Everyone was happy with the type of loam we've used."
The first race meeting on the new surface will be a non-TAB event on March 5.