By Paul Dolan
THE one-turn Toowoomba track in south-east Queensland was closed in February of 2000, deemed to be an unviable operation.
Almost immediately, it was declared by all and sundry in the greyhound industry in this state that a ‘much needed’ one-turn replacement track was required. That never happened, but fortunately, there was still the one-turn track at the Gold Coast Parklands.
That venue closed in July of 2008, being resumed by the State Government to build a new hospital on the site. Again we heard of a ‘much needed’ replacement. Little or nothing happened in that regard, apart from a brief plan to build a new track at Logan, situated between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
It’s taken a while, many years in fact, but there is a ‘much needed’ one-turn track on the way for south-east Queensland. It’s part of a three-track complex scheduled to open at Yamanto in Ipswich in 2024. Assuming it does open then, it will have been a mere 16 years of ‘much needing’.
In this era where safety of participants, in this case greyhounds, is of paramount importance, I was surprised to watch racing recently on Sky from an English venue named Crayford. It’s the smallest track I have ever seen, with a circumference of a mere 334 metres. Races which start at the top of the home straight, like Albion Park’s 520 metres start, are run over 380 metres. I guess the fact that they run fields of six, not eight, and the lure goes around the outside fence, helps safety to some extent.
The Crayford track, which is in south-east London, was similar in size to Albion Park until 1985. It was situated on a site of 20 acres (8 hectares) of land. In 1985 the owner of the site, Ladbrokes, decided to build a new track on five acres of the land and that’s when the track was reduced to its current size. It’s been that very tight circuit since 1987.
The downsizing of the Crayford greyhound stadium opened up a spare 15 acres, on which land Sainsburys and Homebase stores were constructed. Sainsburys is like Woolies to us and Homebase is the English version of Bunnings.
With virtually all of the greyhound tracks in the UK being what we would consider as too tight and small, I wonder if the English greyhound racing participants ever call for some ‘much needed’ bigger tracks. With tracks in the UK sadly closing rather than expanding nowadays, it’s most unlikely to see one-turn’ tracks there.