Like ‘The Oils’, the big hits keep coming

Caption: The Midnight Oil tribute band brings down the curtain on the Queensland Golden Greys Summer Carnival at Albion Park. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

By Brisbane Greyhound Club CEO LUKE GATEHOUSE

“There has never been a better time to be in greyhound racing.”

I’d love a dollar for every time I have heard that in the past 12 months. But I still love hearing it, because it is true.

Record prizemoney, infrastructure improvements and a real blue-sky confidence across the entire sport are the pillars that are ensuring this industry has a very bright future.

And the big events that showcase just how well we are doing keep rolling through.

The Brisbane Greyhound Club-hosted Golden Greys Summer Carnival concluded in February with an amazing night, highlighted by Jungle Deuce’s win in the G1 Gold Bullion (520m) at The Creek.

But no sooner had the sounds of the Midnight Oil tribute band from that night subsided then the club was straight into planning our 50th anniversary celebrations, to be held on Easter Thursday, April 14.

That night will be interesting. Obviously there will be a lot of reflecting on the years that have passed since that first night meeting at The Gabba, on April 6, 1972.

So much water has flowed since then until now … and then peeking into the future we have continued evolution with the planned Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre.

Marking the club’s 50th year is significant. There will be so many stories of great nights, great greyhounds and trainers, betting plunges, massive crowds, a betting ring with more than 40 bookies. There will be so much talk about the ‘good old days’ as so often happens when we turn the clock back.

I have no doubt there were many great times over the years, but I also believe that right now is the best time.

There were many stellar moments through the Golden Greys Summer Carnival. Jungle Deuce certainly became the latest Darling of the Brisbane track taking his unbeaten tally at The Creek to seven.

Another standout for me was Kooringa Lucy’s Golden Ticket win and her second placing in the Bullion. Her ticket win not only gave her the appropriate kudos as finally a group level winner, but also proved just how appropriate the Golden Ticket process is.

OK, the ticket was my idea, but it has well and truly proven a winner.

The concept is simple – a match-race formula (four races) with the fastest winner earning a ‘ticket’ through to the Group One Bullion final.

It has been in place for three years and here are the ‘scores’ so far for the dog that has won the Golden Ticket:

2020: Sennachie – First in the Bullion;

2021: Crazy Cool – Second in the Bullion;

2022: Kooringa Lucy – Second in the Bullion.

The Golden Ticket is the perfect lead-up to the Bullion … and the stats prove its worth.

During the back-slapping that followed the Bullion I was invited into a discussion around prizemoney. The Million Dollar Chase ($1million to the winner) and The Phoenix ($750,000 to the winner) have certainly attracted some great publicity to greyhound racing in recent years.

So I was asked: ‘What about a similar cash splash for a race at the new Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre’ when completed.

I applaud prizemoney increases and tip my hat to the NSW and Victorian greyhound authorities for introducing their massive payouts … but I prefer the Qld model, where prizemoney increases are shared across all levels. That is something that RQ have nailed.

I would also argue that no trainer will turn their back on a race with a first prize of $200,000 (the Bullion’s winner’s cheque) as long as the race suits.

Currently Qld prizemoney is ensuring that plenty of trainers can make a good living in this sport – from the Gold Coast to the far north of the state.

And, for me, that’s where the real value is.

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