There is a lot to learn if you own a racing greyhound, particularly if you are the sole owner of a greyhound or the manager of a syndicate.
As rewarding as racing a greyhound can be, it can also be extremely time consuming and you can be faced with a lot of tough decisions and challenges.
For instance, one you may need to decide between buying a greyhound pup or investing in a race dog.
BUYING A GREYHOUND PUP – WHAT’S INVOLVED?
You can expect to pay a minimum of $2,500 for a well bred pup, plus a further $2,500 in expenses getting it to the racetrack. Before deciding to buy a greyhound pup, it is important to understand that many greyhound pups never make it to the racetrack, usually because they are lacking one or more of the following: quality food, an abundance of human handling and regular access to acreage so they can learn to gallop from about four months of age. They also ideally need to be brought up with other greyhounds of a similar age and be immediately kennelled and taken to a greyhound vet if they endure any sort of injury. Greyhound pups are purchased from three months of age once they receive the required vaccinations, and from about four months need to have access to regular galloping, ideally in open spaces, up until breaking-in age (12-14 months). The usual cost of housing a greyhound up to breaking-in age is between $40 and $70 per week. You can expect to pay up to $100 per week for breaking-in (this usually takes four weeks), around $40 – $70 during the spelling process after breaking-in (approximate six weeks) and then up to $100 per week for 12 weeks during pre-training, after which time your pup will hopefully be ready to race. Greyhounds usually begin their racing careers between 18 months and 22 months of age.
NAMING A GREYHOUND
One of the exciting things about buying a greyhound pup is that you get to give it a race name. It is important to remember that when naming a greyhound the name must not:
- Contain more than 16 characters including spaces and punctuation
- Contain more than three words
- Be difficult to pronounce
- Imitate common racing phrases such as “vacant box” or “box one”
- Be the name of a prominent person
- Be the name of a well recognised thoroughbred or standard bred race horse
- Have a religious or political connotation
- Be offensive or discriminatory in any way
To register your greyhound name, the following process must be followed:
-Greyhound must be 12 months old
-You must notify GRV that the greyhound has been vaccinated after 12 months of age. Forward the vaccine notification to GRV by email or fax
-Log into FastTrack via the GRV website
-Click on “My Dogs”
-Click on “Apply for Dog names link”
-Follow the prompts to continue
BUYING A RACE DOG – WHAT’S INVOLVED?
Buying a racedog that is showing good potential can be an arduous task. People don’t give up quality greyhounds easily because prize money is so good, especially in Victoria. A standard city win is $5,000, while a standard country win in $1,325, and considering greyhounds can race for around two years quality greyhounds have the potential to earn major prize money, which is why they don’t come cheap.
GRV’S READY 2 RACE SALES
Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Ready 2 Race Sales, held each November at Bendigo, is a great way to source a potential bargain greyhound that has recently started, or is about to begin its racing career. For spend of around $5,000 you may find a greyhound like Kiss Me Ketut, who sold at the 2012 R2R Sales for just $21,000 and has gone on to win well in excess of $100,000 in prize money. Spotting a bargain requires inside knowledge, however, and sourcing a trainer (see below) to purchase a greyhound on your behalf with a view to them training for you is a great way to get into the sport.
SOURCING A TRAINER
If you have a greyhound that is fit and healthy and showing great potential, finding a trainer to train your dog for you should be relatively easy. However, this can be a difficult challenge if your greyhound is showing limited ability.
Some trainers – while not necessarily big name trainers – thrive on the challenge of getting greyhounds with average ability to win races. It may help your chances of finding such a trainer if he or she is based near a track that regularly conducts races over distances that suit your greyhound. Managers of race clubs can point you in the direction of suitable trainers in their local region.
Here is a list of managers at Victoria’s race clubs:
Ballarat (Ken Bennett) P: 5335 7201 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bendigo (Troy Harley) P: 5449 3322 E: email@example.com
Cranbourne (Tony Wright) P: 5996 2393 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Geelong (Daniel Salter) P: 5275 2298 E: email@example.com
Healesville (Lee Fahry) P: 5962 2420 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Horsham (Justin Brilliant) P: 5382 4329 E: email@example.com
The Meadows (Marg Long) P: 9355 5222 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sale (Des Dooley) P: 5144 2148 E: email@example.com
Sandown (Greg Miller) P: 9546 9511 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shepparton (Carl McGrath) P: 5823 5577 E: email@example.com
Traralgon (Hec Caruana) P: 5174 2135 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Warragul (Peter Quilty) P: 5623 1867 E: email@example.com
Warrnambool (Michael Cottee) P: 5561 2766 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the great things about greyhound racing is that once your greyhound is racing, there are generally no fees. The trainer receives 50 per cent of prize money your greyhound wins, which is effectively your trainers fees, while you receive the other 50 per cent.
GRV OWNERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES
As a greyhound owner you have a responsibility for the greyhound when it is racing, but also after the dog is no longer suitable for racing. You must look at your options.
OPTION 1 – OWNERS KEEPING THEIR GREYHOUND
GRV strongly encourages owners of racing greyhounds to adopt them as a pet Once your greyhound has finished its racing career, your greyhound may be the ideal pet for one of the current owners.
OPTION 2 – GREYHOUND ADOPTION PROGRAM (GAP)
Greyhound Racing Victoria has a Greyhound Adoption Program, known as GAP. This program is dedicated to finding homes for greyhounds that are no longer suitable for racing.
Greyhounds can make fantastic pets – they are quiet, lazy and gentle dogs that thrive in the family home environment. Greyhounds that have passed through the GAP program and have been awarded a special green GAP collar, do not have to be muzzled in public. Every dog that enters the program is thoroughly temperament tested, desexed, wormed, micro chipped, and vaccinated. They then spend time with a volunteer foster carer to help them adjust from life in a kennel, to life in a pet home. GAP’s foster carers aim to expose their charges to a variety of situations that the greyhound is likely to encounter once it becomes a pet, as well as work on basic manners and get the greyhound used to the type of routine that is normal for a family home. It is only after this that they are made available for adoption. It is one of our main goals to change the negative image so many people have of greyhounds, and through a more positive reputation, hope to increase the public’s desire to care for these wonderful dogs after their racing careers have finished. To assist with this, GAP volunteers attend many events during the year spreading the word and dispelling common myths.
Further details can be found at http://gap.grv.org.au