Greyhound racing’s Fullerton family will be making the 14-hour round trip from their home in Red Cliffs (near Mildura) to Sunday’s Benalla Cup meeting to continue their recent reintroduction into coursing.
The family are part of a new wave of coursers, with nominations up 36 per cent in 2018.
“We have started coursing again as a family and we love it. Mum and dad used to course greyhounds many years ago, but I was too young to remember. It has a fantastic social atmosphere,” said Melissa Fullerton, pictured with American Brat at Lang Lang.
“Living in Mildura, it means a lot of travelling, but when you train greyhounds you have to do what’s best for your dogs. My brother Shawn, mum (Jenny) and I go coursing while dad (Barry) stays home to hold the fort.”
Importantly, the greyhounds the Fullertons are currently coursing – four 28-month-old pups by Kiowa Producer out of Billie The Bar – are benefitting from the experience, particularly with regard to their desire to chase.
“The litter had been struggling so we decided to course them to try to get their confidence up, and it seems to have worked because they’re chasing like demons.”
The quartet comprises of Believe In You (two starts for no placings on the circle) as well as unraced trio American Brat, Black Lazarus and Steorra. Melissa said she has noticed a remarkable improvement in the chasing habits and confidence levels of all four greyhounds. American Brat has adapted particularly well, making a semi-final at Benalla last month before winning a maiden event at Lang Lang on May 6. Black Lazarus has also been notably impressive, making the semi-finals of his two coursing events.
“The litter had been struggling so we decided to course them to try to get their confidence up, and it seems to have worked because they’re chasing like demons. It’s good experience for them, especially if they can get in front of the other dog,” Melissa said.
The Fullertons are looking forward to another coursing adventure in Benalla on Sunday.
“We’ll be entering the litter in maiden and limit stake races this weekend at Benalla, as they’re not up to competing in the Benalla Cup, but hopefully they continue to improve. Time will tell whether their improvement correlates into more competitive efforts on circle tracks, but we’re quietly confident it will.”
Sunday’s McRae Holden Benalla Cup meeting boasts $15,060 in prize money (plus travel and starters’ fees), with the Cup itself is worth $1,500 to the winner, $400 to the runner-up and $90 to defeated semi-finalists.