Caption: Last year’s Ballarat Cup winner Ferdinand Boy with trainer David Geall (Photo: BlueStream Pictures)
Caption: Some of last year’s Moree winners. Left: Maiden winner Kelso Queen with Harry McHugh; centre: Outback Fly winner Emma Can Do with Dave Campbell and right: Outback Sprint winner Swans Magic with Jack Willey.
By Chase Editor Pat McLeod
The hard-working committee from the Moree Greyhound Racing Club, one of the country’s most historic greyhound organisations, is hoping this year’s rich Easter carnival will help reinvigorate the sport in the western NSW region.
The Moree club has been part of the region’s landscape since the early 1930s, however the small non-TAB club was hit hard by the live baiting scandal and the ensuing threats to close the industry in NSW.
The number of local trainers has shrunk and they have seen their race meetings at their superb boutique grass track dwindle from the mid-20s to just 12 meetings a year.
However the club, under the direction of president Gary Moore, is determined to find a new lease on life and use their popular annual carnival as a launching pad to breathe new life into the club.
“This really is a great little club,” says secretary/treasurer Helen Ayre, who has been involved with greyhound racing in Moree since 2003 and on the committee since 2012.
“The annual carnival has always been the highlight of our calendar. The past couple of years have been affected by Covid, but we are really excited about this year’s event.”
The two-day carnival, Saturday April 16 and Monday April 18, is packed with feature races with the main event being the Ladbrokes Maiden Final (302m), worth $5000 to the winner.
That is the biggest prize pool offered at Moree and already the interest is showing, with trainers from towns including Orange, Bathurst, Dubbo, Lismore and Casino likely to attend.
The Moree committee is also hoping plenty of locals will come out for the carnival.
“I think plenty of people from the Moree and surrounds would be surprised to know that a lot of locals have connections to greyhound racing,” said Helen.
“You don’t have to scratch too deeply to discover an uncle, grandfather or cousin who has been involved in the sport.
“So, we would really love as many people from this area to come along, enjoy the races, and if they are interested, have a chat with one of the committee about becoming involved in whatever capacity.
“We certainly would love to see some fresh faces, especially young people, involved in the club.
“As the carnival will showcase, this is a really family and community orientated club.”
Three bookies are expected to field on the Easter Carnival race days. Other than the maiden, feature races include:
Outback Fly Final (302m) $2000 to the winner;
Outback Sprint Final (421m) $2000 to the winner;
South Moree Butchery (421m) Best 8 (1/2/3/4th grades), $1000 to the winner;
Reado’s Meats (302m) Best 8 (1/2/3/4th grades), $1000 to the winner;
Bourke and Wills Motor Inn (302m) (5th Grade) $800 to the winner;
Daryl Gleeson Maiden Chase (421m) $800 to the winner;
Ladbrokes Maiden Consolation (302m) $700 to the winner.
Helen, who has experienced success at past carnivals with greyhounds including Lee Larricki and Mrs Kelly, said the club was based on a very-hard working committee including: Gary and Maralyn (Bobby) Moore, Kevin Campbell, Barb and Mick Keelan, Neil Dallison, Robert and Jenny Hobson and the many volunteers – Karl, Fiona, Michelle, Dave, Merv, Robert, Mick and the Moree Veterinary Hospital.
“Th club wouldn’t function without the help of many people doing many jobs on the track,” she said.
“The welcome mat is out and we hope plenty of people make it to Moree for the Easter carnival.”