The Wentworth Park greyhound meeting on Saturday night November 29 had the added attraction of professional athletics racing with the 2008 running of the Mike Cleary Sprints.
Six heats over the 100 yards were held during the meetings with the final run after race 6. The final included Lauren Bouden the only female runner on the night after Lauren had won her heat in 10.15 seconds.
Fastest qualifier was Steve Blacker (Matraville club) off 6.00 metres handicap in 9.83 sec while next fastest was Monty Simes (Boorowa club) who won his heat in 9.94 off 3.75 metres.
The Mike Cleary Sprint is named after the man involved in Australia’s most famous match race, when dual league and rugby international Cleary, also winner of a Commonwealth Games track bronze medal, raced against fellow Rugby League legend Ken Irvine at the famous Glebe race track on Easter Saturday in 1964.
On that occasion Mike Cleary won narrowly and he generously split the 1000 pounds purse with his rival.
On Saturday the runners contested the race which was kept to 100 yards in keeping with the original event and the purse was $5000. True to form and the betting Steve Blacker (4/6 fav) won well from Monty Simes who was second favourite in the betting. Fourth fastest qualifier David Lee (Concord West club) 10.06 ran third.
Patrons had the chance to bet on the final and everyone appreciated this opportunity afforded by those bookmakers who framed a market and bet on the final.
NSW Athletic League President Bill Edwards, GRNSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan and GBOTA Chairman Bill Mangafas joined special guest Mike Cleary for the presentation track-side after the final. The event was made possible by the generous sponsorship of GRNSW.
Steve Blacker was a worthy winner we extend our congratulation to him and thank all the runners who participated and contributed to the success of the event. The GBOTA was delighted to host this promotion again following the NCA conducting the inaugural Mike Cleary Sprints at Wentworth in early December last year.
The NSW Gbota wish to thank Bill Edwards and his hard working officials and volunteers from the NSW Athletic League, John Scott Sports Marketing Consultant engaged by the League, and the Wentworth Park Sporting Complex Trust for their assistance in preparing the running track and with other matters to facilitate this promotion.