TAB Greyhound Origin gets bigger and better

By Brisbane Greyhound Club CEO LUKE GATEHOUSE

There are plenty of reasons why the TAB Origin Greyhound Series is such an outstanding success.

Both sports – rugby league and greyhound racing – have a deeply-rooted, working class origin and history. And while they both have matured into all-embracing, professional ‘pastimes’ there is no doubt they both are proud of where they come from.

There is also a strong mateship mantra within both codes that extends past the club boundary. While each combatant may be a bitter enemy with his/her opposition during a race/game, as soon as they step back over the ‘white line’ they are best mates again. 

So, when this concept was first mooted and then came to fruition four years ago, it was no surprise that it was a success. What has been surprising to many (not to me) is just how successful.

We all knew it would not require much, if any, fuel to ignite the rivalry between Qld and NSW. But pivotal to the success of the greyhound version has been the commitment from owners and trainers.

You can’t promote a ‘State v State’ showdown without the ‘big boppers’ on show. And that can be hard with the national race calendar so busy these days. However a glance through the line-ups (see Page 38) shows that again this year the Origin Greyhound Series will be contested by some of the best chasers north and south of the Tweed.

Trainers want to be involved. This is more than a race of individual greyhounds, State pride is at stake.

The flavour of this match-up has also become more enticing in recent years with the connections of the Origin race dogs going along to an actual State of Origin clash.

On July 13 trainers will be at Suncorp when the Maroons and Blues face off. That will set the tone perfectly for the following night – Thursday July 14 – when the TAB Origin Greyhound Series will be held at Albion Park.

The program is action-packed: two $75,000 Group 3 races – the Origin Sprint and Origin Distance – along with the Listed Origin Match Race. The card also features the Regional Origin Challenge and Queensland Emerging Origin Stars, with both run over the 520-metre journey.

In total, nine greyhounds will represent both Queensland and NSW.

State of Origin heroes Ben Hannant (Qld) and Terry Hill (NSW) are the respective ‘coaches’. Both have done a great job promoting the event, channelling their league passion through to the greyhound version of Origin.

And just like the rugby league version, that started in 1980, and is still as popular as ever, the TAB Origin Greyhound Series continues to evolve and grow.

So, buckle up for a titanic clash … on July 14.

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