Excitement was high last weekend as the 80-year milestone was reached for Greyhound Racing in Country Victoria and as such Sale hosted the 80th Anniversary Cup Maiden Final (440m) on February 7.
Jay Jay Bee, for local trainers Dawn and Trevor Johnston, won the $5,000 race in a best of the night run of 24.880 seconds.
“I train Jay Jay Bee for one of Trevor’s best friends,” Dawn said. “They’ve been friends since they were teenagers. Their family, John, Benjamin and Jen were involved with a really good dog a few years ago called Mr. Moorooduc, who Trevor and I trained. They gave us some money to a buy another dog at the Ready 2 Race auction last year, so we bought Jay Jay Bee for them,” Johnston explained.
“Afterwards, they rang and asked what we were going to call it. They have always signed their letters off with JJB so I suggested they call him that. It’s a great family story because Benjamin is turning 18 in May so all of the money that they have made from both dogs is going towards a nice car.”
During the 2015 Ready 2 Race Sales – which was held at Bendigo in November – the Johnstons were quickly at capacity and then a last minute purchase was added to the mix.
“We had three dogs to bring home from the auction. I’d gone and paid for them and when I turned around Trevor came walking up and said here’s the cheque book because you’ll have to go pay for this one. He’d just gone and bought another one. So we had to get someone to bring him home because we had no more room left!”
“I was done at the auction. I’d left Trevor with my vendor ticket and he learnt how to use that one very quickly and so we ended up with another dog to come home!
Dawn described Jay Jay Bee as “a lovely little fella. When I went to get him out of his kennel block at Sale for his race on Sunday everyone was wondering who trained him because he was spread out and fast asleep in his (allocated) kennel. He doesn’t really stress about anything.”
GRV’s annual Ready 2 Race Sales concept is now four years in the making, and Dawn is a big advocate.
“Trevor and I have been really lucky with our dogs from the Ready 2 Race Sales. I have been to all four of them and I have purchased greyhounds each time. We have got our money back and we have had a lot of fun doing it and really, that’s what it is all about.”
Dawn said it was an honour to win the Anniversary Cup as it marks a special occasion.
“It’s amazing that country greyhound racing has reached 80 years. It’s come quite a long way with lots of good things happening. For me as a hobby trainer, it’s about the family and taking everyone to the races and being excited watching the dogs run and win.”
“I’ve been doing this for almost 40 years and I am very proud to be a country racer. If I could do this every week I would be very happy. Sale, Traralgon, Warragul and Cranbourne are the tracks I mostly race at. You have to love it to do this type of thing, and I certainly do.”
WATCH: Jay Jay Bee (7) claims the $3,500 first prize in the 80th Anniversary Cup.