This year’s National Coursing Association of Victoria coursing season will be one of commemoration – a sesquicentennial anniversary (1873-2023) highlighted by the 150th Waterloo Cup, to be staged at Lang Lang on August 20 & 27.
So, it’s fitting contemporary ‘coursing king’ He’s No Slouch holds court at Lang Lang on Sunday – exactly 150 years to the day of the first-ever coursing meeting at Sunbury.
The reigning Waterloo Cup monarch commences a ‘tour’ to ultimately defend his crown. (The Waterloo Cup – coursing’s ‘Holy Grail’ – was first conducted at Sunbury, also in 1873.)
Trained by NCAV president Peter Craig, He’s No Slouch – a litter brother of ‘wonder woman’ Wow She’s Fast – will contest the $1265 to-the-winner Western Saws Cup.
Gazing through a crystal ball, Lang Lang’s South Gippsland-based track may prove He’s No Slouch’s ‘coursing kingdom’.
Meanwhile, the support feature on the momentous day – $1130 to-the-winner Gary Brett Memorial – is franked by the appearance of Promises Broken, trained by Robert Redenbach.
Promises Broken, who is making his coursing debut, has won three races over 515 metres on the ‘circle’ at Sandown Park with a 29.36sec PB.
NCAV treasurer and historian Heather Villinger loves turning back the coursing clock and giving us all a ‘slip’ down memory lane.
“On Sunday, May 28, 1873, there was a coursing meeting at Sunbury. The first coursing meeting in Victoria with rules as set down by the then ruling body in the ‘Mother Country’.
“Here we are exactly 150 years later on Sunday, May 28, 2023, at Lang Lang doing what we love – coursing our hounds. Not only do we, the participants, love it – so do our hounds. They are sighthounds after all.
“We still course our greyhounds in knitted or crocheted collars of red or white; we still exit and begin the course out of slips; we still assemble our hounds in the observation/marshalling yard; we still have a judge hoisting a flag to determine the winner of a course and that is what is left of the olden days.
“We’ve moved a long way and adapted our sport to suit. Since 1967 Lang Lang has utilised a drag lure, we have a catching pen too, and coursing is no longer conducted over consecutive days.
“We still have byes, both accidental and natural. Byes are just a slight curved ball to get your head around. Fortunately, we’ve dispensed with the old guarding rules and they at times were difficult to understand.
“The sport is simple, although at your first coursing meeting and having the program (race book) given to you, one is left wondering how to record results?
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“Collar colours are also something you need to grasp. The most common question at a coursing meeting: what collar, red or white, does my greyhound wear in its next course?
“Having completed two all-Maiden meetings, coursing is now starting to get down to the real business of coursing and moving to our classic events for the puppies – Sylvester Doyle Puppy Championship (Lang Lang) and the Derby & Oaks at Longwood – followed at the end of the season by our Waterloo Cup at Lang Lang.”
“The 150th year is going to be a great year for all parts of our industry,” Heather said. “Yes, it is going to be a great year of celebration.
“In a sentence I say, ‘yay for us coursing enthusiasts’. We love the cold weather, and we love spending time with our greyhounds.
“One can sit in near proximity with them all day. Once a greyhound has coursed it never forgets where it is and what is going to do – they love it.
“There were times that I never thought I’d see this year. Some coursing enthusiasts have gone the extra mile to ensure that our sport it still an alternative for all greyhounds.”
Heather added: “I don’t know why I love this part of our sport, but I do know I am passionate about it – if only I was 20 years younger,” she quipped.
And so, it continues at Lang Lang on Sunday with “awesome nominations” of 108.
Three feature events up for grabs…
Western Saws Cup – traditionally a Melton Greyhound Racing Club event with extra stake money to the winner $1265, runner-up $385 and defeated semi-finalists $140, with trophies to both finalists.
- Gary Brett Memorial – this too is a Melton Greyhound Racing Club event, keeping our much-loved Melton Club past president, our wonderful slipper, and at one time an NCAV executive member in our memories. A trophy is available for this event as well as the increased stake money – including $1130 to the winner.
- 150th Anniversary – Sennachie @ Stud – an event for the female greyhounds, the trophy here is provided by Steve White with a stud fee to Sennachie. This event also has had its stake money increased to $1130 to the winner, $330 to the runner-up and the defeated semi-finalists to receive $125
- Plus: Events for Puppies and Maidens