Wet weather has forced Wagga Greyhound Racing Club to put out an urgent call for volunteers to help complete a $200,000 refurbishment of the track.
Stressing the immediate future of the sport was in jeopardy, Oakman said it was imperative urgent works were completed to ensure the track was ready to hold trials on Sunday.
“Bill Levy, the Greyhound Racing NSW steward, will be there on Sunday to do an inspection, which means it is vital we run the trials (on Sunday),” Oakman said.
“Without a clearance from him (Levy) we probably won’t able to hold our next race meeting on March 27.”
Oakman said WGRC had become stymied by recent rain, putting behind the installation of three news sets of starting boxes at the track.
“That’s the reason we need as many people as possible at the working bee,” Oakman said yesterday.
“We don’t need six people … we need 36 people.
“The last time we had a working bee we had five people and two of them were in their 70s and two others didn’t even have dogs.
“We need plenty of manpower on Wednesday (tomorrow).”
With Greyhound Racing NSW footing the bill for new pneumatic starting boxes at the three starts at Wagga, the track is set to have equipment comparable to the top tracks in NSW.
The old manually-started boxes have been removed, but the substantial earthworks have left the track in desperate need of attention.
“There is a lot that needs to be done,” Oakman said.
“There are piles of dirt everywhere and the track is in poor condition after cements trucks have been up and down it.
“All this is what needs to be done so we can have the track ready for trials on Sunday morning (8am).”
Under the renovation program, fresh cement slabs have been set down to take the ultra-modern starting boxes, which work in a “trip start”, and Supergrass laid in front of them.
As part of the overhaul, the former 516m start has been abandoned in favour of a new 525m start.
The new boxes will be pushed back nine metres, giving greyhounds a valuable longer run to the first turn.
The installation of the new boxes is part of a two-year upgrade of the Wagga facility.
Oakman yesterday advised Wagga trainers to take the opportunity to trial their greyhounds on Sunday.
“The dogs need to become accustomed to the new starts,” he said.
“We need those trials, and we need people at the working bee.”
Original Source : Les Muir, Daily Advertiser.