Popular NSW participant and jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the behind the scenes operations of greyhound racing, Anne-Maree Jarvis; accomplished a life-long dream at Wentworth Park last week, stepping into the role of the starter for the first time in her career at the metropolitan circuit.
Jarvis’ smiling familiar face can be seen regularly at Maitland, The Gardens and Gosford tracks to name a few, however it was the realisation of that dream that made her transform from her usual cool, calm and collected persona into a bundle of nerves.
“I got to Wentworth Park and had no idea what position I was doing and when the staff member who is normally the starter said he wasn’t feeling well, he said that Anne-Marie can start.”
“It was like big anxiety for me being thrown in the deep end. My heart was racing, palpitating and I had knobbly knees. I never, ever get knobbly knees when I’m the starter.”
“It’s so prestigious, if you’ve made it to ‘Wenty Park’, you’ve made it. It was the biggest buzz.”
“I used to say to my mum I wanted to work at the track and everytime they would go to race, I would go with them because I just loved the atmosphere of the city and the lights and all those memories when I was little came rushing back.”
While a majority of punters and avid followers see the starter turn the flashing light from red to green and give a fancy wave to signal the start of the race, there’s much more to this crucial role as Jarvis explains:
“Once the boxes open, we check all of them individually to ensure there’s no debris, vaseline, etc.remaining from the previous runners. Then you need to check out the front, check the sand and ensure the lids are closed properly.”
With the greyhound racing industry booming, there’s never been a better time to become involved in greyhound racing and while the handling and training aspect may not be something you aspire to do, a career in racing operations can be extremely rewarding.
“We do it because we love it. Just being around the dogs is amazing and if you’re a youngster come and chat to one of us. We rotate throughout different roles, so everyday is different.”
“If you love what you do, it makes it so much easier to go to work and get up in the morning. It’s not a hard job, you’ve gotta be visual and professional but we always have a laugh and joke as well.”
There’s an array of potential career options available from judge, starter, catching pen attendant, lure driver, swab official, kennel attendant and more.
Learning the behind the scenes operations of a race club can be largely beneficial in not only developing your own knowledge and understanding, however could potentially flourish into a lifelong career and like Jarvis, you could be turning up to work everyday singing with a smile on your face.