December possibility for straight track title

\"\"Caption: Oliver Keeping (Selena Zammit) scores at Albion Park before returning to Capalaba with an impressive performance (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

By TERRY WILSON

IF there is a witch doctor out there looking for some work he may get a job banishing demons from a bayside Brisbane greyhound track.

It seems that the Capalaba Covid Curse has struck the club again following the postponement of the National Straight Track Championship, which was to have been held in August.

A good dose of exorcism may be a saviour for the Capalaba club and its president John Catton.

Last year Capalaba was to have hosted the Championship, but it was abandoned following COVID-19 enforced border closures meant greyhounds from Victoria were unable to get to Queensland.

This year Capalaba was to get a history-making NSTC event with a record four states represented for the first time.

At this stage the title race could still go ahead with a date in December being considered by authorities.

This year runners from new straight tracks Murray Bridge (South Australia) and Richmond (New South Wales) were to, or still yet may, join Capalaba and Healesville (Victoria) for the national straight crown.

Racing Queensland’s senior greyhound racing manager Brenton Scott remains optimistic that the national straight title can still go ahead at Capalaba at a time slot later this year.

“We are genuinely looking to reschedule that event,” he said.

“State qualifiers for the series were due to commence this week with the final of the NSTC to be conducted at Capalaba on August 15.

“However Racing Queensland, Greyhound Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing New South Wales and Greyhound Racing South Australia have determined that the series cannot proceed on the scheduled dates due to the current impact of COVID-19 which is preventing or significantly hindering participants in the event.

“All participating states remain committed to the Straight Track Championship being conducted within the 2021 calendar year.

“So new dates for state qualifiers and the national final at Capalaba will be announced as soon as possible.

“We genuinely believe that form of racing (straight track) is very important for the future.

“We’re totally committed to the rescheduling of the event.”

Unfortunately, if the championship cannot be run at Capalaba this year it will be some time before Queensland gets its shot at hosting the event.

It seems certain that the National Straight Track Championship in the future will be aligned to the National Sprint and Distance Championships and be run in the state which hosts those two major events.

Capalaba president John Catton is optimistic about holding the NSTA later this year and said a possible December date would ‘work with me’.

“We don’t have any feature races at that time,” he said.

Catton confirmed that the Queensland qualifiers for the now-postponed NSTC will now serve as a state final.

REIGNING Capalaba Cup champion Columbian King may get the chance to create an unbreakable record by winning two Capalaba Cups in the same calendar year.

It has been confirmed that a second 2021 version of the Cup will be held in October, with heats of the 366m sprint on the Cup on October 7 and the final a week later on October 10.

And, what is more, the Cup will carry official Group 3 status with first money of at least $25,000.

Catton said the club elected to move the Cup from its original early-year dates because of consistent problems with flooding at that time of the year.

“We had to move the race from the flood season,” said Catton.

MEANWHILE, Straight Of Origin champion Oliver Keeping returned to the straight track with an impressive effort after two runs at Albion Park.

Oliver Keeping recorded 19.71 seconds when it beat Hara’s Clyde in the Origin and was only marginally slower (19.77) back down the straight last month.

The Sh Avatar-Milly Keeping dark brindle dog took its record to seven wins and 10 placings for trainer Selena Zammit.

LAST year’s trainers premiership winner Terry Priest continues to set a cracking pace in the race for the 2021 title.

Priest won the 2020 title by the length of the Capalaba straight and, as at July 15, was a clear points leader on 394, well ahead of Jeff Crawford on 167 and Ned Snow on 148.

Crawford was the trainer of the King of Capalaba and track record holder Leeroy Rogue.

Magical Trav headed the chase for Greyhound Of The Year on 64 points, ahead of Boston Banks (55) and Magical Len (53).

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