Kilmany greyhound stalwart Yvonne Andrews, 77, has been at the coalface of the sport since childhood.
She’s also earned a healthy respect for an unwavering attention to canine husbandry.
Yvonne recalls being a youngster regularly accompanying her grandparents, Frank and Eva Ray, to greyhound race meetings.
“I remember huddling around warm braziers at Olympic Park on cold wintry nights … And I was always surrounded by greyhounds at home.
“In the old days, we also went to coursing meetings in a furniture van with everyone sitting in the back compartment with their greyhounds.”
Such fond memories from Yvonne, even though she had a hiatus from the sport after joining the showdog circuit.
She showed German shepherds and boxers and won a lot of ‘Best in Show’ ribbons.
However, she vowed to return to greyhound racing once her ‘showdog days’ were over and remained true to her word.
Yvonne never lost the greyhound racing ‘bug’ – nor her ‘grassroots’ upbringing.
Quite aptly, Yvonne lines up with two Eastern Sprint semi-finalists – Race 6, 8.32pm – at Warragul over 460m on Friday as the inaugural Grassroots Regional Championships continue.
WATCH: Coco’s Hot (1) takes out a ‘Grassroots’ Eastern Sprint heat in 25.02sec at Sale.
Coco’s Hot (Box 1) and Let Out (Box 8) will compete for a $3500 first prize and a chance to contest the $7000 to-the-winner grand final at Ballarat on September 22.
Coco’s Hot (3 from 12) won her heat over 440m in 25.02sec at Sale last Friday, while Let Out (5 from 39) scored at Warragul over 460m in 26.13sec last Thursday.
Yvonne is a strong advocate for the rank-and-file industry participant – and initiatives like the ‘Grassroots’ series.
“Things like that are great for the sport and give everybody a chance… And I think GRV has got the ‘starts/ranking’ formula right.”
So, how does she rate her chances with Coco’s Hot and Let Out?
“I haven’t worked out whether she (Coco’s Hot) can get over more ground… She’s progressing and keeps getting quicker, as her times are coming down.
“In his (Let Out) heat, he pushed through and just kept going… He would have been a very fast dog but ran into the back gate of a catching pen. It’s taken a long time, but he’s regaining confidence.”
Yvonne says both charges are well drawn and winning hopes in the semi-final, but she gives the nod slightly to Coco’s Hot – a litter sister of Invictus Rising (9 from 24) – as her best chance.
Warragul GRC will also host one Eastern heat (680m) of the Grassroots Regional Distance Championship on the same program. First and second will progress to the $7000 to-the-winner grand final – also at Ballarat on September 22.
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