Track name: Launceston
Address: Jellico Street, Mowbray
Phone: (03) 63261834
Fax: (03) 63264502
Racing Distances: 278m, 515m, 600m, 720m
278m – 15.85 – Bulla Country – April 13, 2015
515m – 29.09 – Xylia Allen – February 11, 2013
600m – 34.57 – Bell Haven – June 4, 2012
720m – 42.36 – Sitka – July 19, 2010
Run Ons Wednesday Morning 9am.
Normal trials on Fridays 6pm and 7pm during night thoroughbred season, Wednesdays 6pm and 7pm and after races Monday on nights.
Launceston greyhound history
Racing at Launceston is held on Monday evenings at the Mowbray circuit over 278, 515, 600 and 720 metres on a loam surface. The club moved here in 2004 after racing at White City for the previous 71 years.
Launceston was the first of the three greyhound tracks to open in Tasmania. The club held its first meeting on a straight track at White City on February 8, 1933, with seven races, including one over hurdles, on the card. The track had been bankrolled by Jack Nelson, a Tasmanian Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame inductee.
Nelson had built a 440-yard straight track on his property at Malunna in 1932 which also included electric lighting and a grandstand. The development of the track took place during the Great Depression and at a time when the Lotteries Act had no provision for gambling on greyhound racing. Working with Arthur Morgan, a fellow Hall of Fame Inductee, and five other keen enthusiasts, the White City Speed Coursing Track Pty. Ltd. was established. Each member contributed 10 pounds towards the costs of the first meeting. The first race, of six starters, was won by Lord Bounty in 17.0, with the winner receiving £2 15s ($4.75). The main event was the MacRobertson Cup, taken out by Buchanan in 16.8, earning his connections £5 ($10) and a cup, donated by Sir Macpherson Robertson of Melbourne.
On September 26 1935, a public meeting saw 27 greyhound racing enthusiasts form the Launceston Greyhound Racing Club. The club began leasing the track from Jack Nelson, who still owned the property on which it was built, with H.G. “Mick” Sturges appointed as the Secretary of the newly formed body.
The Launceston Greyhound Racing Club held their first meeting on October 19 1935. In 1936 the LGRC came to an agreement with Jack Nelson to build a circular track, similar to the one in Melbourne, for 200 pounds. The new horseshoe shaped track proved immensely popular and remained so until a new properly surveyed circle track replaced it when more land was acquired at a later date.
The first meeting on that new circular track at White City took place on January 27 1940, with 10 races, including a hurdle event. Most races had 10 starters. The winner of the first race was Cash Ruler, over 430 yards.
Jack Nelson passed away on August 19, 1946. The LGRC purchased the White City land and track from his estate for twelve thousand pounds during the season of 1947-48.
A photo-finish camera was used for the first time on April 9, 1949.
The track was later closed for a time to be remodelled, opening again on December 26, 1954. The last meeting took place on December 13, 2004.
Greyhound racing moved to the Mowbray Race Course joining with the thoroughbred and harness codes which were already racing at the track with the White City complex subsequently sold.
Had racing stayed at White City, urgent and expensive upgrade works to the track and racing facilities, estimated at $1.6 million, would have been required. Building refurbishments would have also been necessary and would have required a budget of around $4 million.
With greyhound racing moving to Mowbray, $2 million was spent upgrading the grandstand and public facilities with the track also receiving $3.7 million from Tote Tasmania for the installation of lights and the construction of the greyhound track. The move meant that all three codes could run their meetings and be operated from the same site.
The Launceston club has hosted the National Distance Championship finals in 1981, 1985, 2000, and 2006. It has hosted the National Sprint Championship finals in 2000 and 2006.
The club holds one group race during the year: the Group 2 Launceston Cup, run over 515m. This was first run in 1936, making it one of the oldest events on the Australian racing calendar. The only time it has not been contested since then was in 1945, the last year of the Second World War. It became a group 3 event at the outset of group-class racing in 1995 and was elevated to group 2 status in 2002.
The club’s other major long-established feature event is the Illingworth Classic.
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