When greyhound racing at Wade Park came to an end in November 2005, many feared it would be the death of the sport in Orange. However, greyhound racing has been given a revival with a slipping track being completed at the Highlands Paceway.
The 300m track had its first test yesterday with two greyhounds successfully thundering up the run.
Area manager for greyhound racing Geoff Case was pleased with the track, which has been constructed mainly by Orange trainers Bill O’Neil, Barry Coyte and Rob Sharp.
“It would be 12 months in the making,” Case said.
“Orange trainers will be able to slip here as much as they like – seven days a week.”
After the Wade Park track was closed in November 2005, Orange trainers had to go to Bathurst to trial their dogs.
The slipping track will reduce their travel costs and time.
The facility was funded by the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association and cost around $20,000.
GBOTA CEO Brenton Scott was on hand yesterday to see its progress.
Scott said this was a great step forward for the Orange trainers since racing was transferred to Bathurst nearly three years ago.
“Overall the trainers got an outcome where Bathurst now races 26 TAB meetings and 26 non-TAB,” Scott said.
“Without the willingness to bring the two clubs together, we wouldn’t have got that. The downside of it all was the Orange trainers were disadvantaged by the inability to train their greyhounds.
“Getting to Bathurst to race is one thing but having to go there to simply train was too difficult. This should really enable those people who are based in the area to participate more.”
The track uses Nui Rye grass, which stays green all year and cannot be killed off by frost.
Bill O’Neil will manage the facility with the help of Rob Sharp and Barry Coyte.
Those who use the slipping track will pay a small fee to cover the water rates and maintenance.
Scott believes having the new training facility will bring Orange’s trainers, of which there are about 30, closer together.
“I think another benefit is there will be some continued camaraderie amongst the Orange trainers,” Scott said.
“This is theirs and they can feel it’s something they can collectively work on.”
The track should be officially ready for use in early September.
Courtesy : Michelle Cook, Central Western Daily