Victoria’s 2017/18 greyhound racing season will commence in July, with various new initiatives ahead at group level and across the regular weekly calendar.
Much of the news centres around Healesville, Victoria’s only straight TAB greyhound track, which is set to continue hosting a second meeting – on Fridays (Day Timeslots) – which is a terrific outcome for greyhounds that flourish on racing up the straight.
The Healesville Cup (350m) will retain its place in September in 2017, however the Healesville Greyhound Association has determined that the Cup will better serve participants as a Group 3 event with a $25,000 first prize (previously a Group 2 with $47,000 first prize money).
The reduction in Cup prize money will allow Healesville to conduct two additional $5,000 to-the-winner events, held once every six months, and aimed at rewarding greyhounds that regularly race and consistently perform well at Healesville. Also, an additional four $3,000 to-the-winner events will also be added to the feature calendar for Healesville.
Traralgon will become a permanent fixture on Friday nights, racing in conjunction with Geelong, while Victorian greyhound racing’s Saturday twilight timeslot will continue to be rotated around regional Victoria with a focus on showcasing feature racing and community events across the state’s 11 provincial clubs.
There are also some notable changes at Shepparton, with the club’s Tier 3 race meeting to move to Monday nights and its provincial meeting to occupy a Thursday Twilight timeslot. In another change for the club, the 2017 Shepparton Cup will be held in late July.
Sandown Park is planning to host an entire Sunday race meeting in September dedicated to its Speed Star concept, while the club will take centre stage on New Year’s Day (a Monday) with the running of the club’s annual four-dog Shootout (515m), which was previously held in November.
The 2018 Group 2 Warragul Cup will be held in early January with the Group 2 Traralgon Cup in late January.
Heats of the 2018 Group 2 Horsham Cup (485m) will be run on Friday 2 March, the night before the Australian Cup final, making for a bumper weekend of group class greyhound racing.
Upcoming race meetings will be published on FastTrack by June 2017 with all group races, feature events and Vic Bred series advertised. All other advertised events will be published at least two months in advance as the racing population is monitored and the demand for race types changes. Every week there will be two 300+ Rank Limit meetings programmed, with veterans races (restricted to greyhounds four years and older) to be held more frequently each week throughout the 2017/18 season.
Victorian greyhound racing is the biggest supplier of racing of any code, anywhere in Australia, conducting 23 race meetings per week and 1191 race meetings for the 2017/18 season.