By DARYL GLEESON
Well, nobody would have put money on 2020 being turned upside down by COVID-19.
First of all a huge ‘Well Done!’ to the greyhound administrations. In Queensland all tracks are still operating. In NSW Tony Mestrov and his hard working team have greyhound racing going at 11 venues. Victoria are still getting tremendous fields at all the venues across their state. Even Greg Aldam and his team up at Darwin are going ahead and finally in SA and WA racing has produced some very fast winning times in both states in recent weeks.
The only good thing about where I live at Grafton is we get to race twice a week. This has never happened before except for the July Carnival. And thank God they are racing as I would go totally mad being locked up at my Grafton base with no rugby league and no racing.
This time of the year normally is the start of all the great things in sport. State Of Origin is usually about to start. This means everything to QLD and NSW supporters every year. Let’s just hope we get to see the series go ahead later in the year. ‘Darty’ does that mean you follow NSW now that you have to race in NSW?
The QLD Winter Racing Carnival is normally about to start. The Carnival is still going ahead, but for reduced prizemoney. I should be getting ready for the Moree Greyhound Carnival in early June and this year I was even thinking of going to the Darwin Carnival with Mark Arandale and Brad Ellis in late July.
As we know all greyhound carnivals are out at the moment and we can’t even go to a track – greyhounds or gallops. I will not be at the Grafton July carnival for the first time since my family moved from Wollongong in 1977. I remember this time last year I thought my little jockey mate Benny Looker had a great chance of winning The G1 Stradbroke on our favourite horse Victorim. But unfortunately the horse got balloted out and he bolted in the consolation. I remember Sky Channels Ronny Dufficy saying what might have been for Victorim if he had of got a run!
Now I can’t even catch up with my jockey mates to have a cold frosty as everything is in lockdown. Ramornie night over the Grafton July Carnival will not be the same. Normally all the finals are on this night as well as Origin 3 and even those lunatic jockeys poke their heads in on this night. I remember last year being in the middle of the betting ring when the biggest roar of the night came when ‘Teddy Tedesco’ scored that miracle final try in the last minute to win the series for the mighty Blues.
But as I said earlier, at least we are racing in certain venues across NSW. And all other states except Tassie are racing. Let’s hope Tassie are up running sooner rather then later. I was thinking the other day, ‘Thank God for Sky Channel’ as we can still see our sports going around. Could you imagine no sports channels! It would be a nightmare.
The only movie channels I watch are racing movies, so I would be no hope. As for the pubs, I do miss having a coldie, but geez it certainly cuts your ‘exs’ down paying $2 a stubbie instead of $6!
But I would do anything for things to be back to normal and let’s just hope it happens in the near future. Whether we get the Coonamble Carnival going ahead in early October, only time will tell. However, I know there is one certainty – when we are allowed back to the tracks whenever this virus finishes up we will all be like kids in a lolly shop.
No footy and no races – I did not think I would ever see that in my lifetime and I tell you what, you don’t realise how good we have had it until a tragedy like the Coronavirus happens .
Until things get back to normal let’s just hope everyone stays safe in whatever sport you are in or you follow and you never know, we might just catch up for a yarn or a beverage at a greyhound carnival or a footy match in the near future .