By Jordan Gerrans
Members of Rob Weeding’s family were founders of the Rockhampton Greyhound Racing club and the trainer cannot remember the industry being as vibrant as it is in 2021.
Strong field numbers, expanding training ranks and a new and improved track and racing surface in Central Queensland – local participants believe the code is on the rise in the Beef Capital of Australia.
Weeding, who trains a team of four dogs in Rockhampton, was first introduced to greyhounds decades ago by his uncle and aunty, Carol and Albert Harker, who were founding members of the club.
The family have been in the game ever since and Weeding says the industry is thriving in Rockhampton.
“I think it is fantastic that the efforts Racing Queensland and the club are making to upgrade the track,” Weeding said.
“The money they have put in to upgrade it, on top of the efforts to promote the racing in Rockhampton.
“We need more younger people coming through, it is a great place to race here.
“We can see a major difference from prior to what we have now following the upgrades, watching the lure go around, it is a really good quality build that has happened here and it is great for the dogs, as well.”
According to Racing Queensland’s Senior Racing Manager for Greyhound’s Brenton Scott, Rockhampton is a club that has gone ahead in leaps and bounds over the last three years and he believes it will just continue to improve.
“They are a really progressive club and they are led by a hard-working committee and as a club they are well managed,” Scott said.
“The local fraternity have really got behind the industry as the prize money has substantially increased over the last three years.
“It is a go-ahead club with a big future ahead of them.”
Rockhampton trainer Dallas Beckett, who also doubles as the club’s Treasurer, detailed the impressive redevelopments that have been unveiled at their Callaghan Park-based track recently.
“We have had to get a new running rail…we have a nice consistent running rail that is much easier for the lure driver,” Beckett said.
“This new one should last another 20-25 years.
“We also now have full padding around the catching pen, inside of it, which is a really good bonus for the dogs, the more we can do to help them as they go around the track – the better.”