Richmond club zooming in on another champion

Caption: Richmond club’s new secretary/manager Leanne Barnes

By TERRY WILSON

OF ALL the gun greyhounds that have contested the two biggest events at the Richmond club the incomparable Zoom Top that heads the list of past winners.

Zoom Top won the Richmond Oaks in 1968 to launch an incredible career that spanned 64 starts over a variety of distances for 39 wins, 13 seconds and five thirds.

Of her seven unplaced efforts two were fourths and three were due to injury.

Keen judges say there has never been a greyhound with the versatility of Zoom Top and little wonder, with those sort of stats, she was dubbed ‘The Bradman of Australian Greyhound Racing’.

No doubt new Richmond club secretary manager Leanne Barnes would love to see something similar emerge as she prepares for her first stint in charge of the club’s two premier events.

The Derby and the Oaks are both over 535 metres, both carry first prizemoney of $40,000, and as such are both Group 2 events.

Heats of the events are on February 25 and the finals are a week later on March 4.

In recent times Queensland-trained chasers have built a good record at Richmond through the wins of Oh Mickey (2019 Derby), and Dam Slippery (2019) and Crazy Cool (2021) in the Oaks.

Oh Mickey went on to be named Racing Queensland Greyhound Of The Year for 2020 after also winning the National Derby at Wentworth Park before the Richmond glory.

Richmond Race Club was established in 1955 and has since stamped its importance in the New South Wales greyhound racing history books.

It is the premier provincial greyhound racing club in NSW, conducting circular and straight-track racing and is one of the busiest clubs in Australia.

Richmond circular track races are over distances 330m, 400m, 535m, 618m and 717m and the new straight track is 324m long.

The Derby was first run up the straight over 320 yards in 1957. It then changed to a grass circle over 537m in 1974. When the track became loam in 1999, the Derby commenced racing over 535m.

New boss Leanne Barnes is looking forward to the challenges ahead and admits “there has been a lot to do”.

“But I’m getting there,” she said after five months in her new role.

At least Leanne is not walking into the greyhound administration scene with eyes wide shut.

“I’ve worked on and off for half a dozen years in the function area, then I did some work in the office on race days,” she said.

“And I’ve been an assistant manager in hotels before.

“But my family has been in greyhounds since we were kids and my sister is (Cranebrook, Sydney, trainer) Melinda Finn.”

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