Tasmanian greyhound racing

Launceston greyhound racing

Greyhound racing is a popular pastime in Tasmania which dates back to the 1930s. There are currently three greyhound tracks in the state – Hobart, Devonport and Launceston – which each race once a week.

The main feature race in the state is the Group 1 Hobart Thousand which is run over 461m and is worth a massive $75,000 to the winner.

Who runs racing in Tasmania?

The Office of Racing Integrity (ORI) is responsible for controlling the regulatory and integrity aspects of the greyhound, thoroughbred and harness racing industries in Tasmania.

The ORI is a division of the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

The ORI’s primary responsibilities can be summarised as follows:

  • Regulating and controlling racing to ensure that it is conducted with integrity
  • Investigating all integrity and related matters in regards to racing
  • Ensuring that stewards are properly enforcing the rules of racing

Meanwhile, the strategic direction and funding for racing is provided by Tas Racing.

Tas Racing was established under legislation introduced into the Tasmanian State Parliament in 2008. On July 1, 2009, Tas Racing became a state-owned company, operating under a constitution and abiding by the Australian Corporations Law.

The company is made up of two members, the Minister for Racing and the Tasmanian Treasurer, who both hold shares in the company in trust for the residents of Tasmania.

Tas Racing is responsible for the development of breeding and racing, the funding of clubs as well as the provision of stakes, media rights and the management of all racing venues.

History of greyhound racing in Tasmania

The first greyhound track to open in the state of Tasmania was a straight track at Launceston, White City, on February 8 1933. The opening night saw seven races won and run, including one feature over hurdles, with the track having been funded by Jack Nelson who would later become a Tasmanian Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame Inductee.

The track was a 440-yard straight track built on Nelson’s property at Malunna in 1932 which also included electric lighting and a grandstand. The track was built during the Great Depression and during a period of time when the Lotteries Act did not allow betting on greyhound racing.

Nelson worked with Arthur Morgan, another Hall of Fame inductee, as well as five other greyhound racing enthusiasts who wanted to see the sport operating in the Apple Isle. In 1935, 27 people combined to form the Launceston Greyhound Racing Club which began leasing the land from Nelson.

The LGRC held its first meeting on October 19, 1935. One year later, the Club approached Nelson and formed an agreement to build a circular track, similar to the one in Melbourne.

Nelson died on August 19, 1946, after which the LGRC purchased the White City land and track from his estate for twelve thousand pounds.

The last meeting was held at White City in 2004 when racing moved to the Mowbray Race Course, joining with the thoroughbred and harness racing codes which were already racing at the site.

The second of the three tracks to open in Tassie was at Hobart at the Tasmanian Cultural Association (TCA) grounds. The track opened in January 1935, with racing conducted on a grass surface for the following 71 years.

In 2007, the Hobart Club moved premises, relocating to Tattersall’s Park, Elwick, at the thoroughbred race track.

With greyhound racing already in Launceston and Hobart, a group of greyhound racing enthusiasts campaigned to bring the sport to the Devonport area. The new track, situated inside the trotting track at the Devonport Showgrounds, was held on April 3, 1952.

The track was converted to sand during the 1980s.

The track continues to operate at the showgrounds, with Tas Racing renting the site off the Devonport Show Society.

Tasmanian feature greyhound races

Because racing within Tasmania is a relatively small industry, there aren’t as many feature races as many of the mainland states such as NSW or Victoria.

However, each of the three tracks within the state has a flagship race with group status, all of which attract the best greyhounds in the state and from across the country.

  • Group 1 Hobart Thousand (461m) – Hobart
  • Group 2 Launceston Cup (515m) – Launceston
  • Group 3 Devonport Cup (452m) – Devonport

Best Tasmanian greyhounds

There is always plenty of discussion regarding ‘the best’ greyhounds from any state, or era. Australian Racing Greyhound has devised a list compiling some of the best chasers the Apple Isle has ever seen.

Chinatown Lad: The dark brindle was a staying champion during his time on the track, winning the Group 1 Sandown Cup, the Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup, the Group 3 Swan Challenge and the Group 3 Chairman’s Cup. He also set three records throughout his career at Wentworth Park, Cannington and Devonport.

Buckle Up Wes: Arguably the best sprinter to have come from Tasmania, the Ted Medhurst-trained greyhound won the 2014 Group 1 Topgun and the Group 1 Australian Cup. He was also a finalist in the Group 1 Paws of Thunder, the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg and the Group 1 Winter Cup.

Rewind: A Hall of Fame inductee, Rewind dominated greyhound racing in Tasmania between late 2010 and 2013, becoming the most prolific winner the Apple Isle has ever seen when claiming an unprecedented 61 wins.

Ophir Doll: The legendary bitch is the only greyhound to have won two Hobart Thousands.

True Vintage: A champion of the sport from the 1980s, True Vintage ended her career with 66 starts from which she amassed 40 wins, 13 seconds and two thirds.

Bomber’s A Flyer: The best Tassie sprinter during the mid 90s, Bomber’s A flyer won the Hobart Thousand, the Gold Cup, the Easter Cup, the Launceston Derby and the Illingworth Classic.

Betting on Tasmanian greyhound races

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