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The official behind the rise of the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club


 

DSC-1171.jpgJust a few years ago, the volunteer-led Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club committee would ring around to Brisbane trainers begging them to race their dogs at the Club.

In those days - around 2016, 2017 and into 2018 - the picturesque club would battle to get nominations and usually race with a six-event non-TAB program without much depth in those fields.

There was only one or two paid staff and officials at Capalaba in those days - usually the starter of the races - while the rest of the club’s officials would do it for the love.

The Club were not flushed with cash either.

“We were in massive strife as a club, very much so,” then club volunteer Erin Cameron said.

Now, into 2021 and over two years since the grass track has been converted to a full-fledged TAB club, circumstances at the track look a whole lot different.

Attempts were made before this to lift the Club to TAB status, but it finally got over the line in December of 2018.

Take last Sunday’s meeting for example, they had exceptional fields – all 12 of them – with any of the staff and officials on hand paid for their support of the Club.

The upgrade to TAB status has completely reserved the fortunes and future of the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club.

Past and the current committees strived to get the club on SKY channel, displaying their beloved dogs around Australia, and deserve the credit for their efforts over the years.

But, those down at the grass track in the south area of Brisbane believe one official went the extra mile to ensure the club was sustainable into the future.

The Treasurer of the Club, who doubles as a trainer, Cameron, is that one person.

Cameron’s outstanding work has been recognised over the years, winning the Woman in Racing Award previously and is now a member of the Racing Queensland advisory panel.

“It was not great prize money back then; now we are on TAB, we have seen the prize money increase,” Cameron reflected this week.

“It is fantastic where we are at now, it was a massive step.

“We could not have done it without all the volunteers, the past and current committees.

“As a club, we are in a much better financial position now.”

On top of the increase to TAB status, the Club has recently had their facilities upgraded - partly funded by Racing Queensland - including works on their kennel blocks and other general improvements around the track.

While many around the Club will go out of their way to praise Cameron and her countless hours of work, she is not having any of it.

She is humble and will always push the plaudits on to others around the club and committee.

Races

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Capalaba | Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club | 12:55 PM

MISS YOU STACEY 5th Grade H

President of the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club, John Catton, says Cameron is the lifeblood of the Club. 

"Erin came to us around four years ago and she is so enthusiastic and passionate, she has driven much of the things behind the scenes," Catton said.

"She is a breathe air for us, she does a lot of our camera work, photography and social media stuff.

"Erin's contribution to the Club, it is one of the best in the entire racing industry, I believe.

"It is not just at the Club either, she works with the animal welfare people and is on the advisory panel."

Catton detailed the Club's financial improvement over the last few years following the upgrade to TAB status. 

"We fought for five years to get the Club upgraded...we went from having no money in the bank and basically being insolvent to thriving right at the moment," Catton said.

"We are moving ahead with a number of infrastructure projects and moving into other spaces to further our revenue streams.

"Hopefully our elevation helps push the entire industry forward, not just us as a club."

There is optimism around the Capalaba's growth going forward, with more families are attending race days, getting the next generation familiar with race dogs.

Social media has also played a key role in this, with the Club regularly sharing nice images of participants interacting with their dogs, hoping to educate people, which has built a bigger audience online and has translated to more punters on track.

As Capalaba’s prospects have completely turned around, so has Cameron’s life and her involvement in the racing code.

She did not grow up around greyhounds but a work friend from Melbourne around six years first gave her an interest, which has led to a love for dogs.

Cameron was gifted a dog as a pet, which led to acquiring race dogs soon after, then volunteering at the club.

She had always watched the dogs on television and had a flutter on the punt, but these days, the greyhound industry is much of the club’s committee members life.

“I just fell in love straight away,” she said.

“I love it, the dogs are just beautiful and so are the people you deal with in the industry.

“They will do the best for you if you look after them, give them all the love you can.”

The Cameron kennel hold their own against some of the bigger Queensland team of dogs, picking up two winners since October of last year, as well as many other minor placings.

As well as training her own kennel, Cameron also works for other leading trainers, catching and handling greyhounds at race meetings.  DSC-1198.jpg

Being a newcomer into the industry, Cameron was welcomed to the races or at the trials by people who have raced dogs for decades.

“Everyone was wonderful, that is what makes greyhound racing, the people,” she said.

“I love helping the volunteers here at the club, they are beautiful people.

“I have met so many new people, they all gave me advice, I could not have done it without them.

“They are so helpful, everyone helps everyone out, we are all in the same races, but we help each other out.”