LAST Saturday's transfer of the Ipswich greyhound meeting from a twilight to a daytime fixture presented the racing to a much wider audience than normal.
Cancelled horse race meetings down south created a void in the normally busy Sky Racing Saturday afternoon schedule, a void which the Ipswich greyhound meeting filled. And punters gave the move the "thumbs up” with a significant increase in betting turnover on the greyhound card.
Win pools on Ubet for the nine races telecast on Sky 1 ranged from $4,740 to $7,114. Trifecta pools ranged from $4,348 to $10,176. And First Four betting ranged from $6,632 to $11,761.
Those figures may not sound astronomical. But when compared to the previous Saturday, or the twilight meeting on Tuesday of this week, the increase in turnover was nearly 300 percent.
Tomorrow's meeting reverts to a twilight card commencing at 5.13 pm. The pools won't be as big as last Saturday but hopefully some punters who wouldn't normally bet on the greyhounds on a Saturday afternoon, but did so last week, will take an interest again and, importantly, place a few bets.
Not that many years ago, a club would be directly rewarded for any increase in betting turnover. Nowadays any extra profits are shared between all clubs of the code. Last Saturday's experiment certainly painted Ipswich in a good light.
Much-needed funding for dogs
BEFORE last year's Queensland state election, the Labor government promised, if returned at the ballot box, to allocate $70 million over four years to fund non-Tab country horse racing throughout this state. Labor won, has stuck to its word and that's $70 million that control body Racing Queensland doesn't have to find. RQ has decided to allocate $12 million per year towards prizemoney increases. Naturally the thoroughbreds get the lion's share, $8.6 million, but greyhound racing has received a very good deal with a boost of $3 million. Harness racing, which is going through its share of difficulties, receives just $400,000.
Greyhound racing has received what the code has been crying out for, for years - a fair recompense for being a good performer, turnover wise. The $3 million will be allocated as $800,000 for sustainability issues and a ten percent prizemoney increase for racing at each of the state's seven greyhound venues.
A starter or appearance fee, currently $25, will rise to $40 per runner. And greyhounds which are bred by a Queensland registered breeder will receive a $500 payment for its first start, irrespective of whether it wins. Then there's another $500 bonus for a maiden win and another $500 if winning a novice race. That's for races run anywhere in Queensland.
Further good news is that people won't have to wait long for these increases. They start next month.
THE RAY Burman-trained Champagne Sally continues to be a headline maker.
Two Saturdays ago Champagne Sally broke the 520 metres Ipswich track record, which followed a record run over 630 metres two months prior at the same circuit.
Last Thursday, a mere five days after her Ipswich 520 metres record run, Champagne Sally smashed the Albion Park 600 metres record, running an amazing 34.43. That carved around two lengths off the previous record of 34.55 held by Mullaway.
I've done a bit of research and can't find many greyhounds which hold or held three records at TAB venues anywhere in Australia. Brother Fox, a household name of the sport, ran three records in the mid 1980s. In 2000-2001, Brett Lee ran seven track records and nobody comes close to that figure. 2015-16 superstar Fernando Bale ran two track records only. Champagne Sally is certainly in elite company with her recent performances.
CONSIDER THIS: Anyone driving slower than you is an idiot. Anyone driving faster than you is a maniac.