Gary Robinson was the recipient of the Noel Banks Medal at last night’s 2018 Victorian Coursing Awards at the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club.
A long-serving member and President of the Longwood Coursing Club, Gary typifies the dedication of the many volunteers who have kept the coursing code in existence for more than 140 years.
“I’ve been involved with the Longwood club for 20-odd years including the past 12 as President, and I find myself at the club two or three times a week, depending on what needs to be done,” Gary said.
An experienced trainer based in nearby Violet Town, Gary sacrifices his own racing opportunities for others.
“Gary loves racing and he loves coursing, but he doesn’t race his greyhounds at Longwood because he is busy helping run the meetings,” said National Coursing Association President, Peter Craig.
“The Noel Banks Medal honours the famed greyhound administrator who won an unprecedented 11 Waterloo Cups with greyhounds he either bred, owned or trained. This Medal recognises a person’s outstanding contribution to coursing, and Gary is certainly a deserved recipient.”
Craig expressed his gratitude to the many volunteers within Victorian coursing ranks and acknowledged the owners and trainers for the comradery they show.
“Coursing numbers grew 15 per cent in 2018 and while there are a number of enormous benefits to coursing, the main one is that it gives greyhounds another avenue. We look forward to another big season ahead, where we are hoping the growth will come in the form of coursing maidens, and we will also be holding an increasing number of veterans races.”
2018 Waterloo Cup winner Bear Left won the Coursing Greyhound of the Year, with Heathcote trainer Ray Henness delighted with what he discovered in his first season of coursing.
“Bear Left came to me from (Kyabram trainer) Calven Russell in sensational condition after being sold, so a big thank you to Calven and also to (new NCA Vice President) Murray Collyer for helping prepare him on Waterloo Cup weekend. Coursing is a great weekend and I’ll be back in 2019,” Henness said.
Russell, presented with the 2018 Coursing Trainer of the Year, said it was bitter-sweet seeing Bear Left win the Waterloo Cup given it was a race his family had chased for many years.
“My grandfather was a trainer who unsuccessfully tried to win a Waterloo Cup for many years, and my dad tried a few times as well as an owner. I’ve got some young pups coming through who I think will be suited to coursing so hopefully I can come back better than ever in 2019.”
Devon Meadows trainer Sean Lithgow was thrilled with his star chaser Gotham Queen winning the Female Greyhound of the Year for the second successive season.
“She has been unbelievable, and to win this a second time after having a litter of pups is very special. I look forward to coursing her pups in a couple of years,” Lithgow said.
The 2019 Victorian coursing season kicks off in April with its popular Catch on to Coursing meetings, while the following clubs will host this year’s sought-after feature events…
Lang Lang: Sylvester Doyle Puppy Championship
Benalla: Derby & Oaks
Longwood: Waterloo Cup
2018 NATIONAL COURSING AWARDS
Noel Banks Medal: Gary Robinson
Greyhound of the Year: Bear Left
Female Greyhound of the Year: Gotham Queen
Trainer of the Year: Calven Russell
Owner of the Year: Robyn Massina
Junior Encouragement Award: Annabelle Groom