Aussie Trainer Making An Impression in New Zealand

After making several major moves during his involvement within the greyhound racing industry, former NSW trainer Glen Quirk appears to have found his niche in New Zealand. Based at Foxton, in the North Island, near Palmerston North, Quirk is enjoying a successful stint with his emerging team of chasers that are starting to make a name for themselves around their local tracks.

The 29 year old grew up on the Central Coast of NSW and started his adventure within the greyhound world when he was just out of school. Quirk’s first greyhound, Punk Rock Rebel, won three races and turned into a handy producer with her son Kevin Oh Seven the first reserve in the Group 1 National Derby won by Elite Blue Size.

“Me and my friends bought a dog from the Dapto Auction as a pup, but we had no idea what we were doing with it. I ended up getting William and Margaret Bright to give us a bit of help and they introduced me to Tony Riley and I ended up working with Tony for a couple of years”, Quirk explained.

After trying his hand at training a few of his own chasers, Quirk then joined up with established mentor Mal Cuneo, before mixing it with some of the area’s well-known identities as he was finding his spot within the sport. After briefly leaving the industry, Quirk returned and made his biggest move to the land of the long white cloud

“I ended up getting a job with Mal Cuneo and I worked with Mal for about six or seven months up at Cessnock and then I went off on my own again, working with my good friends Kayla and Corey Spliet and I was with them for a while”

“Then I gave up. I went and worked for the mines for about three months and I didn’t like it at all. I got back into the dogs and Mal Cuneo got a job over here working as a trainer for Gary Harding in about 2008 and he asked if I wanted to come over and work for him”.

“I came over here and worked here for a while. He and Mal had a kennel on the property and Karen Walsh also had a kennel on the property. I worked with Mal for a while and then I ended up working with Karen’s kennel and I was there for maybe twelve months”.

Quirk then returned home to Australia, but only temporarily, before he was enticed back to New Zealand

“I went back at worked at Keinbah again, trained a few dogs myself for about nine months. Then Gary Harding had a job opening up over here again so I reapplied for the job. Then I worked for Karen for another two and a half years”.

An incredible opportunity then came for Quirk to start his own kennels on the property of one of New Zealand’s most prominent trainers

“Paul Freeman has a property out here where he has got three kennel sheds. He and his partner Angela were cutting their numbers down and they only needed two. They said if I wanted to get out and stretch out on my own that I could use one of their sheds. So, I have 20 kennels of my own that they are kind enough to give me and help me out”.

Quirk did not take long to get on his feet, taking over the training of many of Freeman’s greyhounds with good results. With the help of his friend, Sivan Erueti, Quirk currently uses the facilities of the Freeman property to prepare his chasers.

“I was lucky. I got plenty of support because I had already been here for a couple of years. Paul gave me a kennel that I could kick on straight away with. I had the kennels plus his property and he gave me free reign of his property to do what I want and he started me with 15 dogs of his own so I was a bit lucky in that aspect”.

With 20 dogs now in work, Quirk rates the promising Hypotential as the best in his kennels. The son of Ahane Lad and Hypo Bella started his career in Victoria where he won one race before making the voyage to join Quirk’s establishment. The black dog now boasts the strong record of 35 starts for 11 wins and 10 minor placings.

“He is out injured with a hip support at the moment but I think I have won seven or eight races with him. He is an Aussie import that I got off Steve Clark. He is a good little dog, he is probably just a bit below the mark of group status but he won a good heat of a race and he ran third in a group one heat at his last start”.

Quirk also reached an impressive milestone last month, training his 50th winner in New Zealand. Quirk put the polish on Cawbourne Bully when he overcame a wide box eight draw to land a 21.84s victory at Manawatu over the 375 metre dash. The Where’s Pedro campaigner has now won six races for Quirk and his Australian connections

“Hayley Gilbert owns him, he is an Aussie one that they sent over to Carolyn Hore and Carolyn sent him down to me- I’m in the Wanganui area and it’s a little bit less competitive down here. He is going well, they sent me three of them actually Cawbourne Bully, Cawbourne Banksy and Captain Osti and they are going well without being superstars”.

With the different styles of racing between Australia and New Zealand, comparisons are often drawn between the quality of canines. Recently, some of New Zealand’s best have been able to match motors with their Australian counterparts and quash the speculation that they are of a lesser calibre. This is something that Quirk has noted, however as a rule he does believe that Australia has the upper edge over New Zealand’s largely hobby-based industry

“It’s a smaller industry over here so it is more of a hobby based sport. In general it is a lot weaker but the top echelon of dogs is probably as good as in Australia. Karen (Walsh) took Thrilling Brat over and he won a group 1 and Thrilling Quest won quite a few good races. Clone Your Own is also winning a few good races in Melbourne. So the real top dogs over here can compete with the top dogs in Australia”.

Looking to the future, Quirk hopes to expand his setup but is content at the moment to manage his numbers as they currently stand.

“I only have 20 and that is my maximum at the moment. I’d like to expand but because I am on Paul’s place and I only have the 20 kennels it is big enough to start with. In the future I would like to expand and get up to about 30 or 40 which would be better”.

Smart Valentino’s Scratching Throws Sydney Cup Wide Open

A star-studded lineup of stayers will battle it out tonight at Wentworth Park, vying for the coveted Group Three Sydney Cup worth $25,000 to the winner. With the unfortunate scratching of Smart Valentino from box one, betting will be thrown wide open after his perfect box draw and personal best of 41.88, had many already declaring another trophy was heading to the mantelpiece of trainer Mark Swift.

After the heats were run and won last Saturday night, Angela Langton was victorious in both races with talented chasers, Set Sail South (42.20) and Infinite Wish (42.34), capping off a spectacular night for the Victorian trainer.

Mark Gatt’s Gradence was gallant in defeat behind Infinite Wish, just nudged out at the finish and Bell Haven for Edward Medhurst put in another solid performance to finish runner up behind Set Sail South.

The all-important box draw will play its roll tonight as greyhounds vie for their position at the first turn and rely on pure heart and stamina to last out the grueling 720m journey.

Group Three Sydney Gold Cup

Box One – Suits Us – Kenneth Burnett ($19.00): finished fifth last week behind Infinite Wish and is yet to record a win over this distance at the track. Has the right box but will need significant improvement to test this hot field.

Box Two – Set Sail South – Angela Langton ($2.60): extremely impressive on debut at the track last week, making his way through the field after a steady start to streak away at the finish in a fast 42.20. Only needs some luck from this draw and will be hard to beat again.

Box Three – Lucy Wires – Robert Britton ($6.00): was at the tail of the field for the majority of her heat last week behind Infinite Wish. Flashed home to finish in fourth spot and will be one to watch if she gets some luck tonight.

Box Four – Bell Haven – Edward Medhurst ($8.50): began fast from box six last week and sat behind the early leader, waiting to make her move she copped a few checks and sprinted to the finish to place second behind Set Sail South. Expect another big performance tonight from this talented stayer, with luck the only element required.

Box Five – Number Krunch – Darren Sultana ($23.00): finished third last week behind Set Sail South after being squeezed out at the start and forced to the tail of the field. Ran home very well and took a lot of ground off those in front of him.

Box Six – Pride Of Egypt – Dawn Garrett ($16.00): very talented stayer who has racked up a stack of wins over the middle and staying distances in recent times. Began very poor last week and took enormous ground of the greyhounds in front of him and didn’t have any luck on the home turn. Expect another solid performance tonight, very capable of stealing this.

Box Seven – Infinite Wish – Angela Langton ($4.40): was outstanding on debut at the track last week, edging out track specialist Gradence in 42.34. Will be looking for sixth consecutive win tonight and has a perfect box draw inside a slow beginner.

Box Eight – Gradence – Mark Gatt ($3.80): drawn to perfection out wide as a notable slow beginner. Has a stack of ability and only needs some luck to be victorious. Very gallant in defeat behind infinite Wish last week, just being nudged out at the finish and look for him to wind up at the concluding stages of the race.

The Sydney Cup will be run and won at 9.47pm tonight (EDST).

What Did Week One Of The Golden Easter Egg Teach Us?

Leading into the semi-finals of the Golden Easter Egg, let’s look back at last week’s results and see what lessons can be learned and where tidbits of information can be taken out. There were, after all, 80 of Australia’s leading greyhounds on the one card, and as always the winners weren’t as predictable as many believed. So here are some of the more interesting observations that might prove handy to remember before attacking Saturday’s form guide;

Jagger Swagger is the real deal – Many would claim that Jagger Swagger was already a star of the track before his heat last week, but I personally had a couple of doubts whether the impressive from out of the age-restricted races would carry across to the Open Class. After his unsuccessful runs in Melbourne late last year, and starting from box eight, it seemed reasonable to take on the favourite in heat six, but boy, he charged past the field after a moderate beginning and made the opposition look second-rate. Hot Irish, a bitch that many would know was written about during the lead-up, was simply unable to get anywhere near the Mark Azzopardi trained chaser, and those two pummelled the rest of the field. Regardless of how he goes from box two Saturday night, Jagger Swagger be winning plenty of races in the month to come.

Victorians now know the name Princess Black – There would have been many people in Victoria tuning into heat two of the Egg to see the fortunes of popular Warragul Cup winner, Nitro Cee. However what was witnessed instead was a devastating win by the lightly raced Princess Black. With a perfect demonstration of how to overcome a middle draw, Princess Black ran dead straight from box six and cleared the field easily out in front. From there it was over, and multiple city winner, Imry Bale, along with Nitro Cee were powerless to stop her. Princess Black comes up against the abovementioned Jagger Swagger in the semi-final – a clash to get many a mouths watering.

Sometimes Speedy should never, ever, leave the Mackay kennel – Former South Aussie Sometimes Speedy has always been a handy chaser, but now under the care of Jason Mackay, this daughter of Collision has become the pin-up girl of NSW racing. She has a Group win to her name, and could add the Golden Easter Egg to her CV if her current form continues. To think this is the same greyhound that ran third and fourth in juveniles and Grade six races at Angle Park in October last year. Without taking anything away from her S.A connections, her improvement since coming to the East coast must suggest that her future will no longer lie in the City of Churches.

Race times are to be taken with a pinch of salt – Without doubt, one of the more agitating things about modern day racing is this tendency for clubs to doctor their tracks up beyond belief for the big races. Personally, I think it undermines any impressive times set and takes away the excitement of seeing a lightning run. Last Saturday night was another case, where eight of the ten heats were sub-29.75, when we would be lucky to see a run that fast once a month throughout the year. It not only brings an element of indifference to the spectator, but also becomes deceptive when lining up form once the feature series concludes. Wentworth Park aren’t alone here either, and it would be unfair to single out this years’ Egg as having an over-prepared track. I can recall several meetings in other states where grade fives were pulling out free-for-all times on the night of a Cup meeting.

The Wheeler domination is easing – Remember a couple of years ago when the Wheeler dynasty filled seven of the eight Melbourne Cup final spots? Well it’s safe to say that the streak they were experiencing with their brigade has now eased, after they failed to claim a single heat of the Egg. Not for one second am I saying they have become unsuccessful, but the sheer dominance of the past 24 months has seemingly dissipated across the board.

Capable dogs from good draws should be respected – Time and time again dogs that are either out of form or facing a class rise come up and cause a boilover when drawn well. Nearly every greyhound punter I’ve ever come across recognises the tendency for inside runners to do well in big races, and yet sometimes they still go around at incredible value. Stetson Donna has always been the type of greyhound to be hit-or-miss, but drawn one in arguably the weakest heat of the night, she lands the prize and pays over $30 on some totes. A winner of over 12 metro races and $100K in career earnings, she certainly flew under the radar of many and never deserved to be those odds.

Early speed is worth its weight in gold – All night last Saturday, runners were unable to make up any more than two places throughout the run. Whether there were too many good dogs running ‘super’ times up front, or whether there was high amounts of interference is arguable, but either way, you had to be on the speed to give yourself a chance. This isn’t just an observation either, as official results tell us that not one heat winner came from any further back then second with a lap to go.

The Paws of Thunder was just confusing – Sometimes form lines from a Group 1 series just don’t stack up the next time around, and that was certainly the case from January’s Paws of Thunder series. With the exception of Cavendish Flyer and Ritza Ryder, all other finalists from the Paws final were engaged last Saturday and only Fully Advanced managed to repeat the dose. You would have done a lot of dough using the previous Group 1 on the track as your base.

Another Dollar Wins Christchurch Leg Of Jetpets Sister Cities Cup

The first heat for the Jet Pets Sister Cities Cup was conducted yesterday afternoon in Christchurch with New Zealand star Another Dollar for trainer J McInerney booking his trip to Adelaide for the $40,000 final on Thursday 27th September at Angle Park.

The defending champion who took out the title on his Addington home track last year flew the lids from box 6 showing his brilliant early speed crossing the field easily and from there was never headed rating a slick 30.50 for the 520m journey.

Joining him in Adelaide will be Know Spunk for trainer G Cleeve who ran a game second to the champ after being crossed early from box 2 however he kept finding to the line to only go down by 3/4 lengths.
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“Rose Hi” Double For Thompson At Casino Greyhounds

There is hardly a meeting goes by on the Northern Rivers without Trevor Thompson’s greyhounds featuring. Most of these dogs are named with a “Rose Hi” moniker and Trevor was at it again on Friday with a winning double at Casino.

It was Socks Rose Hi that opened proceedings for Trev, when he swept around a jamming field at the first turn to race away with the Westlawn Finance stake. He ran 23.52 in winning by 5 1/4 lengths.

Ted Rose Hi, a half brother to Socks, railed through at the top turn to take out a heat of the Ab Casey Memorial in 28 seconds even. He overcame box five, and the time can be ignored when assessing form as it was the final heat, and the track was a little soggy after rain during the day.
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Manawatu Greyhound Club Buckles As GRNZ Call In Debt

The Manawatu Greyhound Racing Club is scrambling for money to pay off a massive debt it says was dumped on it last year by the sport’s governing body.

Lawyers’ letters are arriving, the coffers are bare and the club president has suffered a heart attack from the stress because of the $660,000 bill.

When the new greyhound race track was built at the Manawatu Raceway in 2007, the club thought it had a great deal based on a gentleman’s agreement.
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Greyhound Racing In Chaos As Crime Runs Rampant

In a bizzare aftermath to the story we ran last month with regard to leading trainer David Schofield and his handler Willie Hodgson and their run in with greyhound officialdom and the law; Police have now had to be called to two greyhound meetings last week after threats were made to kill a trainer’s pregnant partner and others.

New Zealand’s Sunday Star Times Racing Editor Barry Lichter has reported that “in scenes described by one frightened bystander as akin to a gangster movie, threats to break bones and “chop your f—ing head off” were made”.

At the the heart of the sensational scenes are allegations of accusations that dogs are being drugged, and an increase in competition for the higher prizemoney on offer after the country’s leading trainer, John McInerney of Christchurch, set up a satellite kennel in Palmerston North run by his son Stephen. The fallout has left officials struggling to maintain order in the code.
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Greyhound Racing New Zealand Reduces Stakes

Despite the current economic environment, Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) has taken every step to try and maintain industry funding to both its Clubs and the Licenced Persons. However the funding impact of the recession has meant that GRNZ has had no choice other than to reduce stake levels for the next racing season.

From 1 August 2009 all standard minimum stakes will decrease by 5% consistently across all classes and grades as compared to the current 2008/09 season. This 5% decrease is in place of the previously announced 15% stake level reduction.

GRNZ Chief Executive Jeremy F Kennerley explains: “Despite GRNZ making a number of cost savings across various aspects of the Code’s business and being prepared to use retained reserves, it has proved impossible to avoid cutting stake levels. The 5% reduction frustratingly negates the 5% increase provided to minimum stakes the same time last year.”
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Leading NZ Trainer Faces Ban After Fiery Night

Leading New Zealand trainer David Schofield has been warned off all racecourses and faces disqualification on a number of charges including misconduct.

And, if the result of an associated hearing against one of Schofield’s handlers is any guide, the North Island’s most successful trainer could be looking at a lengthy ban.

At a hearing in Auckland last week, Schofield’s handler, former Central Districts trainer Willie Hodgson, was disqualified for nine months on a misconduct charge.
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Waikato Classic Court Injunction Hearing Adjourned

Court proceedings filed against the Waikato & Districts Greyhound Racing Club by prominent Tirau greyhound trainer Gary Harding were yesterday adjourned at the Hamilton District Court to next month.

Earlier this month Mr Harding successfully applied for a district court injunction to postpone the $30,000 First Sovereign Trust Waikato Classic greyhound race at Cambridge.
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Todays Wairarapa Cup At Brewer/Gilbert/Lord’s Mercy

The Wairarapa Greyhound Racing has pulled off a coup for their TAB meeting at Solway Showgrounds, Masterton today.

Mindful of the strong support they receive from the local community, both in terms of sponsorship and patronage, the club sought permission to change the starting time from midday until after 5pm to give greater numbers of people the opportunity to attend, and the TAB agreed to their request.
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GRNZ Seek Harsher Penalty For “Punchy” President

In stark contrast to the GRV’s pathetic handling of Jason Thompson’s alleged assault in the aftermath of the Mlebourne Cup, Greyhound Racing New Zealand has appealed a three-month disqualification handed down to a former Auckland Greyhound Racing Club President over his assault on a trainer.

The code’s ruling body wanted Geoff Farrell banned for 12 months over his attack at a race meeting last October when he allegedly took offence at Waiuku trainer Steve Mann’s behaviour, knocked him into a flower bed, jumped on top of him, and unleashed a barrage of blows to his head.
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Top NZ Owner Trainer Escapes Procaine Positive With Fine

On the back of two recent Australian Stewards Inquiries in to Positive Swabs to procaine, one of New Zealand’s best-known owners and administrators, Thayne Green, has escaped being fined or suspended after one of his greyhounds returned a positive drug test.

New Zealand Racing Board member Green, who co-owned champion galloper Sunline, faced a charge of presenting a greyhound to race with a drug, procaine, in its system.
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NZ’s Waikato Classic Postponed By Court Injunction

The Waikato Times is reporting what we beleive to be the very first case of an Australian or New Zealand race in any of the three codes being postponed due to a Court Injunction taken out be a disgruntled participant.

Many greyhound owners, trainers and interested parties have often considered a court injunction when a finaliseed feature race draw has wrongly excluded, or wrongly included, a greyhound and the local greyhound authorities or club have not fixed their mistake or shown any inclination to “make good” on the problem. But none ’til now, to our knowledge; have followed though with it.
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Lord/Gilbert/Brewer Training Combo Train Half The Solway Card

Anyone who doubted that Andy Lord and Jodi Gilbert would make an instant impact on New Zealand Greyhound Racing had those doubts quickly erased last Sunday when the Foxton trainers, training under the training names of Daniel Brewer and Jodi Gilbert; won almost half the card at the Wellington Greyhound Racing Club’s highly successful TAB meeting at Solway Showgrounds on Sunday.

Lord and Gilbert have only just resumed training after the team dominated New South Wales Greyhound Racing for many years, until Gilbert was disqualified in 2005 for 18 months after a greyhound trained in her name returned a positive to a metabolite of cocaine, the same metabolite (Benzoylecgonine) as involved in Tony Sacco’s recent positive swab in Victoria.
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Happy Ending For NZ’s Lost GAP Greyhound Missy

Missy the greyhound may no longer be fast around the racetrack, but her story of survival over 24 days has highlighted her endurance skills.

Missy, a 10-year-old former racing and breeding greyhound adopted by Christchurch couple Barbara and Gary Miln two years ago through Hounds 4 Homes, was found on December 29th after disappearing on December 5.
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Four Of NZ’s Best Greyhounds Go Head To Head

Four top greyhounds will battle it out in the $60,000 New Zealand Shootout race at Manukau Stadium on Thursday night.

Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) Racing Manager Ross Gove says the race is unique as it features only four dogs and is ‘winner takes all’.
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Size Can Matter All The Way Platinum Paws Winner

The biggest stake in the history of NZ greyhound racing in Australasia is heading to Queensland. Race favourite Size Can Matter comfortably won the $250,000 Platinum Paws final at Addington Raceway Friday night, and the $NZ135,000 first-place cheque.
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Size Can Matter All Set For Platinum Paws Glory

The flight across the Tasman has not phased Queensland’s hopes at taking out New Zealand’s richest greyhound race, says top trainer Dave Irwin.
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NZ Greyhound Racing Centenary Celebrations Start

Greyhound Racing New Zealand’s (GRNZ) commemoration of 100 Years of Governance starts today. The Centenary will unite people from all over the country to look back on what we’ve achieved together over the last century.
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Australasia’s Best Set For Platinum Paws Final

Excitement is building as New Zealand’s richest ever greyhound race draws near. The Gold Band Finance Platinum Paws race will run this Friday 17 October at 8:33 pm.
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NZ Greyhound Trainer Profile : Craig Roberts – Part 2

After several years at the top of the greyhound training tree, Craig Roberts found the pressures of the job proving too much. In the second of a two-part series, he talks to David McCarthy about changes he made and his plea for a new greyhound track in Canterbury.
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Size Can Matter A Class Above In Platinum Paws

Size Can Matter confirmed his favouritism for Friday nights Platinum Paws Final with an impressive all the way 30.14 win at Addington on Friday night.
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NZ Greyhound Trainer Profile : Craig Roberts – Part 1

New Zealander Craig Roberts came to greyhound training from a family of harness-racing enthusiasts, and success in another career. He switched after spending time at NZ’s old QE II race track at New Brighton. In the first of a two-part series, he talks about the good and bad along the way.
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Octanol Primed For Platinum Paws Semi Finals Friday

The David Hobby-owned and trained WA greyhound Octanol has settled in and trialled well in his quest to win New Zealand’s richest ever greyhound race – the NZ$250,000 Platinum Paws.
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Platinum Paws Favourite & NZ’s Best Chance Knocked Out

Drama and sensation were the order of the opening day of the historic $250,000 Platinum Paws greyhound meeting at Addington yesterday, and easily the biggest sensation was the exit of hotly favoured local bitch Winsome Ashley, who went out of the series after falling at the first turn and spraining a wrist.
Continue reading Platinum Paws Favourite & NZ’s Best Chance Knocked Out

Aussies Land In NZ In Seach Of Platinum Paws Glory

New Zealand greyhound racing is getting ready to celebrate the richest dog race ever held in the country, the $250,000 Platinum Paws.
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Jaykayell To Represent SA At Platinum Paws

Following last Thursday night’s one-off SA Heat of the Platinum Paws, Jaykayell has earned the right to represent South Australia in New Zealand for the Platinum Paws.
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Platinum Paws Just One Part Of NZ Centenary Celebrations

In less than four weeks Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) will commemorate 100 Years of Governance with a three day celebration in Christchurch.
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NSW Trainers Side Step NZ Platinum Paws Series

Following on from the poor nominations from Victorian trainers for New Zealands Platinum Paws Series, New South Wales has attracted just three nominations.
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