It can seem like a long, 350 metre walk for Healesville’s trainers and handlers from the kennel block to the starting boxes with their greyhounds, but at least these days they get an armchair ride back again after each race.
Healesville Greyhound Association has purchased a bus (pictured above courtesy Jason McKeown – Austscapes Photography) for race days, and Manager Cynthia O’Brien said it has been well received.
“While our industry is rightly focused on the racing and welfare aspect for the dogs, Healesville is ensuring that the welfare of the trainers is also being looked after,” said Cynthia, pictured above driving the club’s new bus.
“It is quite a long walk to and from the boxes in extreme weather conditions, be it hot or cold or wet, so this at least provides a little bit of relief from that. It also helps with our ageing population and will allow several of the trainers that have had to give up handling their own dogs the opportunity to again do so.”
Cynthia said that prior to the purchasing of the bus, which has been in operation since mid-March, the short time frame between races previously put pressure on a number of less mobile participants.
“Sometimes with only 15-16 minutes between races, it is hard for trainers with greyhounds engaged in consecutive races to get back in time without putting themselves under unnecessary stress. It’s not good for the health and well being of our participants to be rushing back up the hill.”
For the statistical minded, travelling up and back from the kennel block to the boxes across a 12 race card combined with a trip to the catching pen covers 11.1 kilometres.
TRAINERS HAVE THEIR SAY…
BRENDAN DEWAN, EDITHVALE: “What a great idea, now I will be able to handle my dogs again because I can get a ride back.”
CAMERON BAHEN, YUROKE: “It is a great idea and it has been a long time coming. It has been very well received by all trainers at the venue and is a real benefit to some of the older trainers.”
JOHN McCLELLAND, JINDERA: “It’s absolutely fantastic and a great benefit for the ageing trainers with injuries and aches and pains. It’s particularly good for trainers with dogs in back to back races.
JULIE GRINDLEY, GLADYSDALE: “A wonderful idea. This will cater for all weather conditions and is great for the older trainers. It is making it easier for them to handle their own dogs now that they don’t have to walk so much.”