WHAT IS COURSING
Taken from The Queensland Journal (By Gavin Fitzpatrick)
These conditions apply in Victoria and some will not be implemented in Queensland
WHAT IS COURSING ?
A greyhound course is a competition between two greyhounds over a distance of approximately 320 metres in a straight line.
Released form slips at one end, they run into a catching pen at the other end.
Two greyhounds are released from slips by a person known as “the slipper”.
“Slips” is a term to describe the lead used by the slipper.
A set of slips consist of a lead approximately two metres in length with a wooden handle which is held by the slipper, at the other end of the lead there are two collars attached which, when placed around the neck of each greyhound, are centrally secured by a metal pin. Attached to the pin is a nylon, cord or wire cable which in turn runs through the centre of the lead and through the centre of the wooden handle held by the slipper.
Once through this handle the cord or cable us attached to a leather wrist strap fixed around the wrist of the slipper.
It is the duty of the slipper to secure both greyhounds in slips so as to have then running smoothly behind the lure and to release them as one.
The coursing season in Victoria is held between mid April and the end of October.
The lure at coursing meetings varies from one track to another. Most are of a type which is connected to a wire cable drawn down the centre of the track and after each course is brought back immediately in front of the slipper.
A few clubs, namely Melton, Charlton and Healesville have different lure drive systems.
Charlton and Healesvillle have an “arm on the rail” type where Melton have a unique return cable at the left side of the track with an are with lure attached to that cable.
Coursing events are held at Benalla, Bendigo, Camperdown, Casteron, Charlton, Healesville, Lang Lang, Maryborough, Melton, Penshurst, Terang, Endenhope, Geelong.
WHY COURSING ?
Despite what a number of people may think, there is a definite role for greyhound coursing. It is a traditional sport which has been continued in Victoria for more than 100 years. Although live hare coursing no longer exists in this state, the present form of coursing came into vogue in 1965.
Greyhound coursing for various reasons does not suit all people, however it certainly does suit most people.
Being mainly a weekend sport, it suits those people who are unable to get away from work in time to take their greyhounds to a night meeting.
It suits the trainer who wishes to make his greyhound fitter and keener (yes, keener) for circle racing.
Coursing people know only too well the merits of coursing in preparation and sharpening up a greyhound for circle racing.
We see time and time again coursing greyhounds which return to the circle and virtually “find a leg”. It's not a miracle or fluke effort, it is more often that not, due to the fact that the greyhound had a stint as coursing.
Coursing is also conducted in a picnic atmosphere. You can take your barbeque and esky of partake of a meal provided by the club at a small charge and have a great day out.
If your greyhound(s) progresses beyond the first round you can expect to be reasonably busy all day and not just sitting around as the case if your greyhound is in a circle race late at night.
The financing of coursing meeting is a joint venture.
Each coursing club receives an allocation from the N.C.A. Prize Money Trust Account.
The clubs of course are expected to do their part in contributing prizemoney to each of their meetings.
This is done usually by the receipt of nomination fees, conduct of raffles, providing meals on the day etc.
GRADING (these grades are only available in NSW)
MAIDEN: For greyhounds which have never won a stake.
TWO COURSE LIMIT: A two course limit means the event is open only to greyhounds which have not raised more that two flags in any one stake.
PUPPY STAKE: These events may be catagorised as either dog or bitch or mixed puppy stakes. These events are open to only puppies which turn two years on or after the first day of July of the year during which the greyhound is competing.
ALL AGED STAKES: These stakes are mainly for adult dogs and bitches. Some clubs put on All Aged Bitch Only, which prove very popular. (It is a well-known fact that bitches are at a distinct disadvantage against the dogs on a straight course - the disadvantage is deemed by the experts to be in the order of three lengths).
SPEED STAKES: These events are only for greyhounds which have previously competed in a race of qualifying event on the circle or speed.
OVERFLOW STAKES: These events are held when the club is also running a cup event. Once the cup field is filled the remaining entries for the cup are placed into the overflow of the cup.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: The club conducting the meeting has a discretion into which event certain greyhounds are placed.
A great advantage with coursing is, no matter how many events your greyhound may win in this area - in fact - if he was to win the Waterloo Cup but was a maiden on the circle, he remains a maiden on the circle. The winning of coursing events has nothing to do with the grading of your greyhound on the circle.
Conversely, if you have a Free for All greyhound on the circle, he is still eligible for a Maiden in the coursing.
Each coursing track varies in the distance of events, however each event on a program are run over the same distance. In the main, most courses are run over a distance of approximately 320m from slips to the winning post.
The longest course of all is probably at Melton while the shortest is Lang Lang.
There is no kenneling of greyhounds as we know at circle tracks. At any coursing meeting the kennel for your greyhound will be your motor vehicle of trailer. (Only Victoria and NSW).
This item of discussion also can be the subject of a great deal of argument with so many trainers differing in their opinion and the manner in which they feed their greyhounds.
Suffice to say, if you feed well, have your greyhound fit and up about half to 1 kilogram on his normal circle racing weight, he should perform well.
WHAT TO TAKE TO A COURSING MEETING (Only Vic, NSW & S.A.)
(1)Woolen collars, keep a supply of both red and white collars to be worn by your greyhound depending on where he is drawn for a particular stake. Make a habit of keeping one of each colour in your pocket.
(2) Extra leads for catching.
(3) Buckets - for washing your dog's feet between the courses.
(4) Ice - If you have a greyhound with tendon problems.
(5) Liniment for rubbing down between courses.
(6) Towels for drying your greyhound on a inclement day.
(7) Rugs. Keep a supply of woolen and waterproof rugs for a change in the weather.
(8) Bowls for your greyhounds meal of drink. Some trainers do not feed any bulk food on coursing day but every greyhound competing should be given a high protein drink between courses.
(9) Greyhound registration papers
(10) Stopwatch - if you have any interest in clocking events in which you are not involved.
WHAT TYPE OF GREYHOUND MAKES A GOOD COURSING GREYHOUND ?
There appears to be no set rule to this question, however your greyhound must be keen and fit.
Size of a greyhound is not all important. Do not believe that a big greyhound will be better that a smaller one.
Also, do not think because a greyhound has just broken the track record for 298m at Olympic Park he will be unbeatable on the coursing scene.
The greyhound likely to success at coursing is the type which on the circle shows exception speed to the first turn but is unable to continue that speed around the bend.
It is necessary to have a greyhound which can run out three courses strongly. You may not know whether or not it can until you try it.
There is no doubt may trainers are wary about the requirement to run their greyhound up to three times at a coursing meeting. This wariness can only be due to such trainers not having gone through the experience to see the benefit it can be to the greyhound.
You may be amazed at how easily these animals can cope with three runs in one day.
There would be dozens of average circle greyhounds which would be cup class at coursing and yet there are many which are top class circle competitors which probably could not reach a final if tried at coursing.
Betting at a Plumpton meeting is a punter's paradise. There is always at least one bookmaker, sometimes two or three.
When it is realized there are often between 60 and 100 individual courses on one day, the punter could not want for more. Many a shrewd clocker who has sat clocking individual courses has made a tidy sum by the end of the day.
Where else would you be able to back up your dog on four separate occasions in one day.
This can be done by backing your dog for each individual course and also for the final before the first, second or final course.
Good odds can also be obtained particularly when you consider you are backing greyhounds which in each course are running against only one other competitor.