TAB to cover Grafton greyhounds
THE advent next month of TAB coverage at Grafton Greyhound meetings is long overdue recognition of the strength of dog racing on the NSW North Coast.
The president of the Grafton Greyhound Racing Cub, John Corrigan, said his club had been pushing for TAB coverage at Grafton for years because of the strength and numbers of dogs racing in the northern region.
However, the reason behind the TAB coverage is the launch last Tuesday of the Sky Racing 2 television channel, which will concentrate on greyhound and harness racing.
“I’ve been in the Northern Rivers area for 30 years racing greyhounds and I’ve never seen the sport stronger in this region than it is now,” Mr Corrigan said.
“Dogs from this area are capable of going to the city tracks and regularly winning races.
“In fact on Saturday we had a number of visiting trainers at the Grafton meeting and I don’t think they had a single win between them,” he said.
Mr Corrigan said he did not think local trainers would be worried by an influx of visitors chasing the 66 per cent extra prize money that will be on offer once the TAB meetings begin on May 24.
“Grafton is not as tight a track as some of the other tracks where they have TAB meetings, such as Casino and Lismore and Albion Park in Queensland,” he said.
“Casino and Lismore have 50 more dogs than they can race so dogs that are not getting a run there will be able to come to Grafton.”
Mr Corrigan said the challenge for Grafton was to market the change from weekend racing to Thursday afternoon meetings.
“It’s something the club is going to have to promote, but it’s not going to be easy,” he said.
The new regime begins on May 20 and will continue for the next five Thursdays until June 24, the last racing in the greyhound racing calendar.
He said the club had not finalised dates for the ‘new year’ but said there would be TAB meetings for the July carnival.
The club will have 26 TAB meetings a year under the new arrangements.
Clarence River Jockey Club chairman Bob Pavitt said horse racing would also benefit from the new television and TAB deal.
“A number of our Saturday non-TAB meetings will now become Saturday TAB meetings,” he said.
“Owners that can’t get to the track will be able to see their horses race and have a bet on the races.
“Overall it’s something that is very positive for the racing industry in the northern region,” he said.