Race to riches
By BOB ANTHONY
BORDER Park Raceway will be the centre of the greyhound racing universe this weekend when it hosts the running of the 36th Galaxy.
The Galaxy, the richest country NSW greyhound meeting with $25,000 in prizemoney on offer, has attracted some of Australia's finest greyhounds, with punters hoping to use the eight heat races on Saturday as a guide to pick the winner of the big one, the Galaxy final on Monday.
It's make or break on Saturday, with each of the eight heats a sudden-death clash, offering a place in Monday's final for the winner.
Since its inception in 1971, 21 Galaxy winners have come from NSW (including four from the Northern Rivers), eight from Queensland, four from Victoria, and one from Western Australia, while last year's winner, Lilli Pilly Power was the first to claim the title for Tasmania, although she completed her final preparations in Murwillumbah at the kennels of Tweed's leading trainer, Glenda Dart.
Border Park chairman of directors Harry Plegder said the Galaxy had grown from humble beginnings as organisers searched for a race which would be unique to the new raceway and set it apart.
"We were tossing around ideas for a name until someone in the office suggested it be called 'Galaxy' ? a meeting of the stars from the greyhound world ? and the name stuck," Pledger said.
"When it first started, the prizemoney was $1000, which wasn't bad for back then, now it has grown to $25,000 which has added to its appeal for trainers and breeders."
The 2006 Galaxy has attracted a near-record number of nominations, with 64 of the best greyhounds from some of the country's leading trainers including Graham Bates, Jason Thompson, Len Pore, John Finnn and Reg Kay, selected for Saturday's heats.
The heats start at 1.15pm, while Galaxy final day on Monday promises to be a real family affair, with rides and activities for the children, vintage cars from Wintersun making an appearance and a 10-race program featuring the Galaxy final at 2.30pm.