‘It's A Joke': Azzopardi Livid Over Cup Clash

LEADING Victorian trainer Anthony Azzopardi has implored racing officials to get their act together ahead of his Group 3 Temora Cup quest.

LEADING Victorian trainer Anthony Azzopardi has implored racing officials to get their act together ahead of his Group 3 Temora Cup (457m) quest which gets underway on Sunday.

Azzopardi will venture to Temora for the heats of the $54,000 series with exciting youngster Tattooed and grand campaigner Salad Dodger, runner-up to She's A Pearl in last year's edition of the race.

Yet the Melbourne Cup winning mentor does so "growingly frustrated" after being forced to bypass Friday's heats of the Group 2 Horsham Cup (485m) due to the inexplicable scheduling clash of the two races.

"Why even bother having a group race calendar; there's clashes everywhere," an exasperated Azzopardi said.

"Why on earth would they have it that the Horsham Cup and Temora Cup clash forcing you to choose between one or the other? They're only six hours apart.

Salad Dodger is returning for the Temora Cup heats on Sunday

"Both races are after the same dogs on the same shape of track for the same prize money – at the same time! Even split them up by a week. But they end up right on top of each other.

"It's just stupidity. I hardly even look at the calendar anymore. There's no point … there's clashes everywhere!"

While prize money has never been better for participants with group class level greyhounds, the pool at that elite level has also never been more diminished.

And this is exemplified with the Horsham-Temora Cup bungle with Horsham cobbling together just four heats for their group 2 heats on Friday while nominations for Sunday's Temora Cup meeting have been extended until Thursday.

In years gone by, Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) has prided itself on attracting eight heats for their flagship country cups but in a rapidly changing environment, Azzopardi says it's imperative these events are still given every chance to flourish.

"With so many races I understand it's not easy but surely we can do better than what we are serving up at the moment," Azzopardi questioned.

"Maybe the time has come to get some participant input in bringing the calendar together to better optimise it through trainers' eyes. 

"With the clash this week all the two clubs have done is deny themselves the best chance of bringing together the best fields. Both races will suffer as a result.

"And people might say not many people will travel interstate but surely we need to create a situation where they are at least given the chance!"

Sunday's Temora Cup heats will be staged just 48 hours on from the finals of the Group 2 Richmond Derby and Oaks on Friday night, adding a further layer to the issue.

While Greyhound Clubs Australia (GCA) constructs the group race calendar the body, which comprises member clubs from around the country, can't ultimately dictate the programming of events to state authorities. 

That, along with a proliferation of new feature races, many of which haven't yet attained group status, has made the task of compiling the group race calendar difficult, if not impossible.

Latest News Articles