By TERRY WILSON
THINGS are looking good for an historic National Straight Track Championship in bayside Brisbane in August.
A date has been set, August 15, for the event to be staged at Capalaba over 366 metres with total prizemoney of $35,000 to be confirmed.
All going well – and barring another outbreak of COVID-19 – the Championship will be Listed and made up of two runners from each of South Australia (Murray Bridge), Victoria (Healesville), New South Wales (Richmond) and Queensland (Capalaba) with two reserves from the hosting home state.
Capalaba was to have hosted the classic last year, but it was called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then Richmond has joined in on the emergence of straight track racing and that club’s boss Richard Griffiths said interest was high over the new straight track, which had its first official race meeting late last month (April 24).
“It has yet to be confirmed but it’s most likely we’ll have some qualifiers from Richmond in the national final,” he said.
“We have had some trials and interest has been very strong.”
After disappointments of last year Capalaba club president John Catton was supremely confident it will go ahead this time around.
“We’re confident it’ll go ahead barring a shutdown of the borders again,” said Catton.
The national title will have $25,000 for the winner.
The National Straight Track Championship is one of the targets ahead for Columbian King, the King of Capalaba and Greyhound Of The Year at the track for 2020.
Trainer Jamie Hosking, based at Churchable west of Ipswich, said the plan with the black dog was to qualify it to represent Queensland in the upcoming Straight Of Origin.
Columbian King was at his superb best when he landed the Capalaba Cup last month, beating Bogie Fury (Ryan Ayre) and Ando’s Reject (Greg Stella) in 19.55 seconds.
It was the dog with the kennel name of Pablo taking his 20th win up the straight and taking his career prizemoney to $77,975.
Hosking said the dog was going to be set for a campaign at Albion Park or Ipswich, tracks where it has won, but with some big races coming up at Capalaba that seems to be the best option.
“We did toy with a run on the circle because he still has all his grade fives there,” said Hosking, who was Racing Queensland’s Young Achiever award winner for 2019.
“But with the bigger races coming up at Capalaba we’ll keep him there for now.”
Hosking has representing Queensland in the Straight Of Origin as a target and until then he hopes to be able to keep Pablo nice and fresh by restricting the dog to the straight.
“He’s only 32 months old, not three until September, so he’s probably in his prime,” said Hosking.
“He’s definitely not an out and out straight tracker because he can still go around the circle.”
All going well, the dog will be there to take on the best from New South Wales in the Straight Of Origin and further down the track the National Sprint title.
The Origin event will be between four runners from Queensland and four from NSW, which will be chasing first money of $14,000 after heats on May 23 and the final on May 30.