Listed status for Darwin feature

\"\"Caption: Darwin’s Winnellie Park will be the place to be in July and August. The greyhound carnival has been given a boost with the Chief Ministers Cup (537m) now elevated to Listed status and prizemoney increased to $15,000.

By MIKE HILL

THE ‘jungle drums are beating loud and clear’ that Darwin is the place to be in July and August.

That’s the word from Darwin Greyhounds racing manager Greg Aldam after the club had its Chief Ministers Cup (537m) lifted to a Listed race.

“That means July and August are going to be great months for racing up here,” Aldam said.

The club is excited at the prospects of having two big prizemoney cups anchoring its winter carnival.

“We have great weather up here at that time of the year,” he said.

The Chief Ministers Cup, which now carries winning prizemoney of $15,000 – up from $2000 last year – will be run next month with heats on Sunday, July 11, and the final a week later followed by the Group 3 Darwin Cup (537m) – heats July 25 with the $25,000-to-the-winner final on Sunday, August 1.

Aldam said his club was grateful to Greyhound Clubs Australia Executive Officer David Simonette for his assistance in elevating the Chief Ministers Cup.

“David has been fantastic in the way he has been supporting us as a club,” he said.

Aldam said he was expecting Queensland’s Tom Tzouvelis and Victorian Steve Whyte – both previous Darwin Cup winners – to head the interstate trainers’ charge to the Top End.

“Ex-local boy Jamie Hosking, now based in south-east Queensland, has also indicated he will be bringing a team of runners up for the carnival,” he said.

“We’ve had a number of inquiries from WA trainers and in recent days several Victorians have shown interest in coming north.”

Aldam said Darwin was a club on the move.

He said although it was isolated from the rest of the country, officials felt it punched above its weight.

“We race 75 times a year and we have solid weekly nomination numbers,” Aldam said.

“But those number are certain to increase in coming months. It looks like it’s going to be a really big six-to-eight weeks of racing.

“No doubt we’ll have 10-15 interstate runners striving for the Chief Ministers Cup and I’m expecting up to 25 visitors for our Darwin Cup series.”

With the upgrade of the Chief Ministers Cup, Aldam said the club’s long-range goal now was to have the Darwin Cup lifted to Group 2 status.

“That will take some time,” he said.

In the meantime, the club is determined to develop the twin cups into a highly successful carnival.

Aldam said he was grateful for the ongoing support the club receives from the Northern Territory Government and Sky Racing.

“We are encouraged to keep promoting ourselves and although we are an isolated club we know we have a role to play in the Top End,” he said.

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