‘Racing royalty’ show where we are

Caption: Tony Zammit leads Valpolicella out for the Topgun Stayers at The Meadows. Ritza Piper (Joseph Scerri) took out that event with Valpolicella fifth. (Photo: BlueStream Pictures)

By Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club CEO LUKE GATEHOUSE

I recently met up with two legendary greyhound families, who right now are the litmus test of the sport’s success in Queensland.

It was Topgun night at The Meadows and the industry’s ‘royalty’ were out in numbers, including the Zammits and Brittons.

Mick Zammit and wife Selena had their prodigious talent Jay Is Jay in the Topgun while ‘The Master’, Tony Zammit, had Valpolicella in the Topgun Stayers.

‘Locals’, Jeff Britton, wife Angela, and Rob Britton had runners across that program.

It was great to catch up with both families and I am extremely fortunate to call members of both families, my friends.

They are not only incredible trainers, but also really good people.

The Zammits, of course, are part of Queensland greyhound racing folklore. Tony is a national Hall of Famer and Mick didn’t get the tag ‘Group One Mick’ from losing.

What is interesting is the change in structure of both Tony’s and Mick’s kennels in recent years.

Like most successful trainers, ‘back in the day,’ it didn’t matter how successful individual dogs were, you needed big numbers to have a long-term, sustainable operation.

But the Zammits of today are an indication that size doesn’t necessarily matter.

They have both reduced kennel numbers massively with the focus now on quality with boutique operations.

Of course, a major reason why this can be achieved with success is the prizemoney and incentive levels now offered in Queensland.

Yes, the top tier is mouth-watering. The $ increases just for the upcoming Golden Greys Summer Carnival is impressive. They include:

  • Qld Flame $60k to $90k
  • QLD Derby and Qld Futurity $75k to $112.5k
  • Golden Sands $112.5k to $150k
  • Golden Ticket $70k to $100k.

But even more significant have been the increases to regular day-to-day race prizemoney.

Of course the Zammits have the runs on the board, the reputation, to attract the top tier. But it is an indicator of the continued prosperity of the industry in Queensland.

A slightly different story with the Brittons.

They have been supporting Queensland carnivals for many years and have been familiar faces at ‘The Creek’.

Recently they confirmed the rumour mill by setting up a full-time satellite kennel at Churchable, west of Brisbane.

That operation is being run by Rob’s son Tim Britton.

No longer are they here just for the big carnivals, they are here also for the aforementioned day-to-day racing.

With The Q mega-facility to come on board in just over a year’s time the Brittons will be just the tip of the iceberg.

I’m tipping an avalanche of inter-state arrivals over the next two years – either setting up satellites, or moving their entire operations to the Sunshine State.

And the success of Queensland greyhound racing will again be the national focus as the Golden Greys Summer Carnival kicks off with The Flame on Thursday, November 30, at Albion Park.

As we ‘spring into summer’ this carnival is now truly spectacular.

Yes, it has the big-ticket items – three Group 1 races and a myriad of features – but it also has a strong local flavour, The Flame and the Qgold night (December 14).

I love the fact that the carnival opens with the local flavour, with the spotlight on our own Queensland racing heroes.

Then, of course, we will see the best of the best as the program opens up to everyone.

See you at The Creek!     



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