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Coursing: Never have I ever

GRV’s Molly Haines and her fiancé, greyhound trainer James Shaw, attended their first coursing meeting at Lang Lang recently. Despite Shaw’s greyhound being eliminated in the first round, they’re both hooked on the concept. Here Molly explains why…

A couple of Sundays ago James and I went to our first coursing meeting at Lang Lang. It was a two-and-a-bit-hour, squished in the front seat on an iLoad, drive from home.

And it was like a game of Never Have I Ever. If you haven’t heard this game – google it.

Let’s play…

Never have I ever  been to Lang Lang.
Lang Lang screams country. From the instant coffee, the dirt road and of course the bacon and egg rolls you smell when you drive in.

But also, country in an everyone-helps-you-out kind of way. If you have a question, there will be a minimum of 20 people willing to answer it.

There is no address. Well there is – McDonalds Track – but you are given directions. Something that did make me a little uncomfortable considering I rely on google maps to get me to and from work most days.

Take confidence in me saying this…it is easy to get to.

Never have I ever  had to prepare a greyhound to run more than once in one day.
Well, that’s what James had to do. What we learned was to keep it simple and trust your judgement. Everyone is willing to give you a hand but there are so many different ways to prepare your greyhounds for a day or weekend of coursing.

Take a look at the video series my colleague Andrew Copley produced in conjunction with National Coursing Association of Victoria President, Peter Craig if you don’t know where to start (greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/video).

Never have I ever  had to rely on a PA system so much.
You know how you need to be in the kennels on a normal race meeting 20 minutes before the first race, well when you are coursing you are called over the PA for your event. So, be sure to know your event number.

You do get a few reminders and, yes, if you don’t hear your event being called they do call you by dog name… and, yes,  it looked a little embarrassing.

Never have I ever  had the opportunity to attend a race meeting in active wear.
The dress code is casual, so you can (temporarily) say goodbye to your black pants and white shirt. Being dressed up involves jeans and a jumper. But maybe go for something that doesn’t have holes in it?

Enclosed shoes are a MUST.

Also, rug up. It is COLD 99% of the time.

Never have I ever  seen the knitted coursing collars in person.
They are so cute!
You will need your own coursing collars. They come in red and white and you will be instructed what collar to put on your greyhound for its course.
They are available for purchased for $5 in the same area you put your papers in.

Never have I ever  had to know what ‘put your papers in’ means.
It is as simple as it sounds. You take your greyhounds racing papers with you and have them checked (without your greyhound) by the lovely volunteers and Stewards in the common area. This needs to be done by 9.15am on the morning of your course.

Never have I ever  walked so much at a race meeting – well, maybe at Healesville.
Lang Lang is a 300-metre straight track and getting to the slips means walking, which is a great way to warm your greyhound up. It’s also a great way to get some steps up!

You do get the option of jumping in a complementary golf buggy after your event – destination Catching Pen.

Never have I ever  seen James put trust in someone else to box (or in this case, slip) his greyhound.
Slippers – they are professionals in their field. Trust them. If you have a shy dog, tell them. Like everyone on track for a coursing event, they are very understanding.

Never have I ever  not had to worry about getting a catcher for a greyhound.
Lang Lang have designated catchers to collect your greyhounds after their races. While you make your way down to the Catching Pen, the catchers will put your greyhound in a holding pen which are the same cages the tracks have on race day.

You can also elect to have your own catcher – they just have to be wearing a high-vis vest.

Never have I ever  felt so comfortable in an environment I knew nothing about.
No matter how little you know about coursing, everyone on course is there to help. You might think I am over-exaggerating, but I am certainly not.
If you have a question…ask.

So why should you go coursing? Apart from the fact it is a great way to encourage your greyhounds to chase and build confidence…it is a great day out.

Nominations for this weekend’s Waterloo Cup meeting close tomorrow at 8.30am.

The Waterloo Cup and consolation events will be run across Saturday and Sunday, where greyhounds are required to run up to six times across the two days.

There will also be a number of supporting Maiden, Puppy and Veteran events held on Sunday only, in which greyhounds will be required to run up to three times on the day.

Coursing Facebook Live

View the Waterloo Cup Flyer click HERE.

WATCH: First season coursers and same-sex races. Watch the video above and check out the entire series at greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/video.

Molly Haines
About Molly Haines - Communication Assistant at Greyhound Racing Victoria with 16 years of experience working with greyhounds in all capacities.
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