Bundy fires first salvo in Qld Country Cup series showdown

Caption: Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club president, Stephen Bland.

By Pat McLeod

Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club president Stephen Bland has thrown the gauntlet down to his country cousins ahead of what will be a hotly contested 2024 Queensland Country Cup series.

The lids first fly on the series when the Bundaberg club hosts two heats of the Wide Bay Country Cup (531m) on Monday.

Rockhampton follows suit next Wednesday with the Central Queensland Country Cup heats (510m) and then Townsville stage the North Queensland Country Cup heats (498m) on Tuesday, January 16.

The series has a building drum roll.

Firstly, each region will crown their final winner. Then representatives from each of the three regions will contest the $26,500 Queensland Country Cup Final (520m) at Albion Park on Thursday night, February 1.

“This series is up there with our top feature races,” says Bland.

“Of course, for each region, their local cup will hold special significance, but the Country Cup is very special.

“There is plenty of competition between the regions, don’t you worry about that.

“To be crowned the winner, the best regional greyhound, at Albion Park on a Thursday night, well that is a great honour.”

And Bland believes 2024 will ‘Bundy’s year’.

“There certainly are quality dogs at Bundy over that distance (531m),” he said.

“Each week our local dogs are winning races against the visiting greyhounds from north and south.

“I believe we can take the series out this year.

“We missed out on contesting the Country Cup in 2023 because of major works on the track. We had a hiccup with a lure issue a couple of weeks ago, but everything is running really well now.

“The track is beautiful, in amazing condition.

“Our track curator Tim (Walker) is doing a fantastic job. During the recent rain, and we got plenty, we were still able to race on New Year’s day, which was a real credit to Tim.”

Bland said the fact that the Queensland Country Cup Final was contested at Albion Park on the main night of the Golden Greys Summer Carnival was significant, and a major attraction for regional trainers.

“Racing at Albion Park on any Thursday night is a big deal for country trainers, but to be a part of this night is a career highlight,” he said.

“There are two Group 1 races (the $375,000 Gold Bullion over 520m and the $150,000 Gold Cup over 710m).

“The atmosphere on that night will be incredible.”

The 2023 Country Cup was won by Rockhampton’s Say Some Words, trained by Darren Taylor. Second was another Rockhampton finalist, Black Delight (Rob Weeding), with Townsville’s Redemption Day (Harold Hovi) third.

The winning time was 30.03.



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