Trying to keep invaders at bay
IT WILL be locals against the rest of Queensland this weekend when the Bundaberg Oaks and Derby is held on Saturday at the racecourse.
In the second largest event for the season, after the Bundaberg Cup, four local greyhounds will be competing to keep the trophies and prize money in the region.
One will compete in the Bundaberg Derby with locally trained Topper Webb in contention to take out the event over 550m.
The favourites though are all from outside the area with Spring Firechief and Our Challenge expected to battle for the win.
Trainer of Topper Webb, Kylie Raines, says her greyhound is prepared to reperesent the locals.
"After no race last weekend, I've had to do a little bit more work on him," she said.
"He's drawn well but as the only local, with quite a few travellers, there's some tough competition that will be hard to beat."
Raines added the other trainers provide plenty to the event.
"The travellers support Bundaberg well. They support the club quite a bit, and compete in at least six to a dozen races a year," she said.
In the Bundaberg Oaks three locals will compete with El Galo Girl, Fusillade, and Dainty Lass in the eight dog field. One other hope, All About Hope, is also entered but is on reserve for the 550m event.
The favourite to take out the race is Ultra Blue whose fastest time over the distance is three tenths quicker than the rest of the field.
The meet on Saturday is another way the club is trying to recover after a negative 12 months for the industry.
A live baiting scandal uncovered by an ABC Four Corners investigation in February, and the finding of up to 50 greyhound carcasses in bushland near Bundaberg in April, have given the sport a tarnished image.
President of Bundaberg Racing Stephen Bland says the ordeal hasn't impacted greatly on the club.
"Early on it was bad, but memberships and sponsors have picked up, with crowds actually increasing in the last few months," he said.
Bland also said the club have done their bit to make sure everything is scrutinised.
"We investigated our own members and couldn't find any problems," Bland said.
"The venue is now fully licensed, and nobody is allowed on track without one member from the club."
The Bundaberg Derby and Oak day will be held at 3.30pm and 3.50pm Saturday.