Fun for any age and any budget is on the cards at this Saturday’s Traralgon Cup.
At stake in the fourth and final event in the Gippsland Greyhound Carnival is a prize purse of about $65,000 for the main event.
“It’s our biggest race of the year,” Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club manager Steve Clarke said.
“We want people to get the thrill of greyhound racing, it really is an adrenaline packed sport.”
The group two Traralgon Cup isn’t just about which dog has its day, or night, there’s also a points classification race at stake that could add even more take home cash for the winner, along with the title of Gippsland distance and sprint champion.
With 12 races on the card Clarke said the speed of each race and the overall pace of the event was attractive to everyone.
The races are fast. The 525-metre distance track record holder did it in under 30 seconds.
“It’s exciting in that it’s quick,” Clarke said.
“You’re close to the action and it’s over in an instant, it’s adrenaline filled.”
While there’s a formal dinner that’s sold out, there will also be free children’s activities including a jumping castle and big screen gaming, a fashions on the field competition, local and visiting food trucks and much more.
“There’ll be a ton of activities for the kids,” Clarke said.
“It’s good quality street food at low prices and the drinks are at bar prices.
“It won’t break the family budget to have a day out.”
Clarke said there’s also a parade ground where punters can see the dogs before they run, so it’s possible to pick a winner from other attributes.
“The dogs are like athletes, you can tell if a dog’s fit, it looks good,” he said.
“My wife picks as many winners as I do and she picks them on colours and names.”
One big local hope is Jesaulenko.
Sired by College Causeway and Elite Fairy, he’ll start from box eight and trainer Terri Morris is hoping she can add to Jesaulenko’s two wins from five starts.
“He’s just fast,” she said.
“He loves what he does and he’s fast. He’s a package, a complete package.”
Morris has 12 years’ experience as a trainer and her parents got her into the sport.
She said the greyhound racing community was one of the things that kept her coming back.
“There is some fabulous people in the industry and between the people and the dogs you just can’t get a better work environment,” Morris said.
Named after Carlton great Alex Jesaulenko, the high-calibre pooch is a finely tuned athlete.
To keep in shape he gets a run on a treadmill every morning and a straight-line sprint once a week.
But, just like a pro, he also enjoys the spoils of being at the top of his game.
“He gets cheese and bacon brekkie rolls,” Morris said.
“He’s spoilt rotten, he gets McDonalds after he races – a happy meal and a soft serve.”
The Traralgon Cup goes this Saturday from 5pm at Glenview Park, McNairn Road, Traralgon.
Gates open at 4pm and entry is free, as are many of the activities.