AS regular readers would be well aware, I have often railed against the generally poor level of historical information available about greyhound racing in Australia. The introduction of Halls of Fame around the country have been generally positive, notwithstanding the negatives which have arisen recently over inductees caught up in the live-baiting scandals.
Equally, as participants well know, greyhound racing seems to have more organisations and bodies than seems logical or even sensible if we are to truly develop to the best of our potential.
Nonetheless, one of those organisations, the grandiosely if somewhat misleadingly-named Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA) has made great strides towards putting together a valuable historical resource.
Group racing commenced in 1995 and two decades on the list of winners and contestants in Group-class races is easily accessed on the AGRA website.
However, the AGRA website also has a Historical Features section which, at the time of writing, covers the period from the advent of mechanical hare racing in 1927 until 1972. Just why the list stops in 1972 I do not know, although I imagine the period 1973 to 1994 will eventually be filled in to take account of the gap.
Obviously a lot of time and effort has gone into putting important resource together. It’s fairly basic, but given just how difficult it is to gather accurate information stretching back to the start of the sport in 1927 it’s value to anybody interested in the history of greyhound racing in Australia cannot be underestimated.
Each year is categorized ‘Features of’ with a sub-category for each racing state. So, for example, the Features of 1927 has a subcategory NSW.
Inside the 1927 racing results are 11 races from the Nurses Stake (run on July 28 at Epping) to the Newcastle Cup (October 15) and the Rufe Naylor Cup (run on November 12 at Maitland).
In 1928 the features include races from Victoria, while Queensland gets into the action from 1929 onwards. Tasmania doesn’t start to feature until 1935, with four races detailed, including the Hobart Cup, which would later become the Hobart Thousand.
The race information varies from year to year and state to state but generally has the name and distance of the feature, the winner (usually with breeding), second, third and margins and time. Sometimes the prize money is included as is the name of the owner.
What is noticeable as you scroll down the years is the growth in the sport. South Australia is only added in 1969, and even then the only race recorded is the Adelaide Cup, run over 555 yards (507 metres) at Bolivar on September 7 and won by Tracemonde by four lengths from Arapaho. In 1970 the number of South Australian feature races jumps to four and includes the 585 yards St Leger, run at Strathalbyn.
By 1972, Angle Park is up and running and 17 races make the list.
Racing in Western Australia does not feature, since the sport only kicked off there in late 1974.
AGRA management are to be congratulated on putting this resource together and hopefully, as time permits, all the gaps will be filled in.