Caption: Last year’s Ballarat Cup winner Ferdinand Boy with trainer David Geall (Photo: BlueStream Pictures)
By Chase Editor Pat McLeod
Family dynasties are as crucial a part of greyhound racing as the collar and lead. On April 8, Ballarat Cup night, Jodie Faralla’s lineage will come squarely into the industry’s spotlight.
Jodie will stand watch over the Victorian central highlands club’s big race night, continuing a family tradition dating back decades.
When she took up her ‘dream job’ as general manager at Ballarat last August she didn’t have to look far for advice. Her father, Ron Hood, was associated with the club for 43 years, 15 of those as GM.
Step back another generation and her grandfather, Les Dean, also held long-term posts at the Ballarat club, including many years as track curator.
“My passion has always been with greyhound racing,” said Jodie. “So, when I was given the opportunity here … no doubt this was my dream job.
“To have the family connections is such a huge bonus. More than once I have been told how good it is to have a ‘greyhound person’ in charge. And advice isn’t far away. Those who know Dad know that he is never short on advice, and he certainly knows what he is talking about.”
Although the family tree may have been an attractive lure, it is Jodie’s own career path of more than 30 years involvement in racing and wagering that won her the position.
And it isn’t the first time she has been in the employ of the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club.
“My first job, as a 13-year-old, was phoning the results and dividends through to (News Service) AAP when dad was the manager,” she laughs.
She is excited to be hosting her first Ballarat Cup night and is determined to continue the hallmark of excellence for the event.
“I have done my homework,” says Jodie. “I’ve been to recent Cup meetings at Sale, Horsham and The Meadows, just looking for ideas.
“Of course the marketing department at GRV is excellent and have helped a lot as well.”
The Horsham Cup night ‘was a bit special’, she explains.
Jodie went to that meeting with nephew Luke, her sister Seona’s son. Yes, that just happens to be Seona Thompson, half of the powerhouse Seona and Jason Thompson training empire.
That night Luke handled the brilliant sprinter Typhoon Sammy for his dad, and came away with the Cup honours.
“Luke says that I am that dog’s lucky charm. We’ll see, because Typhoon Sammy is headed for the Ballarat Cup and the chance to win the $50,000 bonus for winning three Victorian provincial Cups in the one year, after winning at Horsham and Traralgon.”
There will be no shortage of highlights on Ballarat Cup night, including the recently boosted first prize of $50,000 for the Group 2 Cup. Also on the card are: Cup Night Match Race Special Event 450m; Special Event 390m; Autumn Classic Grade 5 450 Final; Special Event 545m; Life Members Cup S/E 450m Final; Special Event 660m.
Jodie said the inaugural Life Members Cup holds special significance for her.
“Greyhound racing has been built on the hard work of volunteers,” she says.
“In recent years the industry has become very professional, relying less on that volunteer workforce. However, it is so important that they are never forgotten and that they stay a part of the sport.
“On cup night we will be inducting our latest life member, Peter Griffen, who has given more than 50 years’ service to the club. He will be receiving his life member’s badge as well as presenting the Life Members Cup.”
Jodie’s proud dad Ron (who is also a club life member) is expected to be in attendance with his partner, The Meadows former legendary GM and GRV Hall of Famer Marg Long, who is the treasurer of the Ballarat Club.
“Yes, I really don’t have to look too far for great advice,” says Jodie.
2010 Greta Bale (Graeme Bate, Lara VIC)
2011 Up And Away (Graeme Bate, Lara VIC)
2012 Maverick Tiger (Kelvyn Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
2013 Ronan Izmir (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2014 Luca Neveelk (Gerald Kleeven, Denison VIC)
2015 Shared Equity (Angela Langton, Anakie VIC)
2016 Zambora Brockie (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley VIC)
2017 Aston Dee Bee (Seona Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2018 Aston Kimetto (Seona Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
2019 Western Envoy (Angela Langton, Anakie VIC)
2020 Yozo Bale (Correy Grenfell, Mount Wallace VIC)
2021 Ferdinand Boy (David Geall, Lara VIC)