THE track is down and the dogs are ready to run at Gunnedah as the greyhound club prepares for the first-ever race meet on the new sand surface tonight.
Over 2500 voluntary hours have gone into the making of the new and improved surface over the past month and president Geoff Rose couldn’t be happier with it.
“There are still a few finishing touches to be done but it looks great and has gone perfectly,” Rose said.
“We have had contributions from everywhere in the region for the new track – it has been amazing.”
Greyhound Racing NSW stewards inspected the track on Tuesday and gave the clay- based sand surface a Double AA rating.
Two trial days were held on Tuesday and Sunday last week and all reports have come back positive.
The new surface is essentially weather-proof and is a giant step towards getting TAB-sponsored racing in the region.
“We have got all the equipment and now exceed all requirements for TAB racing,” Rose said.
“We are just waiting on GRNSW to give the all-clear.”
Tonight’s six-race meeting will be a test run of sorts for the club, before the official opening on March 1, with a 12-race meeting and opening ceremony.
The 576m boxes have been moved back four metres, so whoever wins the first race will be the new track record holder.
The meeting has attracted some good fields to test out the new surface.
Race one will be a maiden, with the following five races all grade four and five events.
The Tara Greyhound Stakes over 347m has attracted a particularly fast field, including last week’s Armidale McDonald’s Sprint Final runner up El Lethal.
Colin Burns’ Senor Folk will also be stepping back in distance and may give the favourite a run for his money.
First race will be at 7.30pm tonight with the final race getting underway at 10pm.
Tamworth greyhound track will also be back in action this weekend.
A nine-race program will get underway starting at 1.30pm.
The meeting will include two maidens, several grade four and five races and the Dukes Ice Supply free for all.
Bingara trainer Hamish Abra’s El Sportsman qualified fastest and will be tough to beat from the inside box.
The Northern Daily Leader Stakes has also attracted a decent field, with Kevin Sills’ Mr Riley a good chance out of box three.
He will have to beat Mark Munn’s Azarenka Valley who has been in top form of late, placing in three of his past four races and winning one.