The Centralian Advocate Fri 28 May 2021
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Australia, Central -- Newspapers
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50 SPORT FRIDAY MAY 28 2021 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 Jason Lyon before piloting I Am The Fox to victory at Fannie Bay in March. Picture: Caroline Camilleri STAR Victorian jockey Jason Lyon jumped on a late and last-minute flight for Darwin from Melbourne on Wednesday night, but just missed his shot at freedom. Lyon did not make it to the Top End in time to avoid a mandatory quarantine period at the Howard Springs facility. It is a blow for this years Alice Springs Cup winner on I Am The Fox, who could now be out of action and miss out on prizemoney opportunities for Saturdays meeting at Fannie Bay. Its an unlucky one for Grassy, but unfortunately thats the nature of the Covid-19 pandemic its a moving beast, Thoroughbred Racing NT CEO Andrew OToole said. OToole and officials from TRNT and Darwin Turf Club are desperately hoping the ongoing pandemic does not affect this years Carnival program, like it did last year. The 2020 Darwin Cup Day crowd was capped at 7500 last year, leading to a big loss in gate revenue for an attendance which is always around the 20,000 mark. The pandemic is throwing up all sorts of issues for us, OToole said. (Victorian trainer and 2017 Darwin Cup winner Neil Dyer) is here, but Im not sure about (former champion Top End trainer) Stephen Browns situation and if he might have been exposed to the virus in the Greater Melbourne area. Were expecting more than 110 horses for Carnival, but the Covid situation does cast some doubt. Darwin Turf Club could only host four races on its card on May 8, with officials hoping the pandemic does not discourage any interstate trainers to come to the Top End in the coming weeks and months. Theres not necessarily a lack of trainers at the moment, OToole said. We had one of Gary Clarkes horses Divine Red get injured (before May 8) which left us with four horses, and you need at least five acceptances for each race. LYONS LUCK OUT AMID COVID CARNIVAL FEARS EXCLUSIVE JOSH SPASARO DARWIN Greyhound Association manager Greg Aldam says his small but dedicated committee with a passionate core group of trainers have worked tirelessly to secure the Territorys only current Listed race. That will be the Chief Ministers Cup at Winnellie Park on July 18. Its fantastic for the club because of the past five or six years weve been back on Sky Channel, with a good local base of committed trainers to maintain sold fields, Aldam said. Were the masters of our destiny and weve been consistent over a period of time, and Sky Channel locked us in a contract and the NT government has been essential in our success. Were racing 75-odd times a year and maintaining good numbers on the track. (Greyhound Clubs Australia executive officer) David Simonette and his team looked for a nice fit into the calendar. And its a good fit for racing Australia-wide (to have the race on July 18) and another factor for our carnival. Aldam has driven a consistent racing schedule over the past five to six years, which has delighted Greyhound Clubs Australia officials. If youre not racing consistently over a period of time you dont get this opportunity, he said. Weve made little improvements to the quality of our racing and improved lighting has led to this. Were about to do our next track upgrade again. LED lighting has led to a more clear and more precise light which is better for the audience and our greyhounds. Aldam also emphasised that animal welfare at his club has been a top priority. Weve done a lot of animal welfare work with rehoming them its about giving the greyhounds a quality life while they race and afterwards, he said. Hard work pays off for team JOSH SPASARO Suns are still on horizon GOLD Coast Suns have not been lost to the Territory this year, despite their Round 11 clash with Hawthorn at TIO Stadium being transferred to the Sydney Cricket Ground. Hawthorn was not allowed to leave Melbourne as planned yesterday due to the Territorys Covid-19 border restrictions after Greater Melbourne and Bendigo were declared hot spots. But Gold Coast chief executive Mark Evans (pictured) is already working on Plan B in order to b r i n g t h e Suns to Darwin later in 2021. Our T e r r i t o r y p a r t nership m e a n s much more to us than just a game, Evans said. We have had AFL and AFLW players and staff in town all week visiting schools and supporting local footy to help grow the game and promote healthy, active lifestyles. We will now work with all parties involved to find a way to play our annual Darwin fixture later in the year. AFLNT chief executive Stuart Totham said frantic lastminute efforts to bring the game to the Top End had fallen short of the mark. There were late attempts to get Hawthorn up here through a series of conditions that would have to be applied but they were rejected by the chief health officer, Totham said. The AFLNT team has been looking forward to this for some time and has been working very hard in the background with the AFL, Gold Coast Suns and Melbourne Football Club to launch the Sir Doug Nicholls Round and structure a fantastic community engagement program in the Territory over the next two weeks, so were all a bit gutted. Next weeks MelbourneBrisbane blockbuster is under review despite the round 12 clash at Traeger Park still being a week away. Well take a deep breath and start working on that game early in the week along with Covid guidelines. Automatic refunds will be made available to anyone who purchased tickets for the Gold Coast game. Tickets purchased by credit or debit card via Ticketek will be refunded in full, including ticket insurance premium. The NT Thunder Academy girls curtain-raiser game featuring some AFLW All-Stars will go ahead as planned from 4pm tomorrow. GREY MORRIS DARWIN Greyhound Association has ticked plenty of boxes in recent years, which is why it is now set to host the Territorys only Listed race the Chief Ministers Cup on July 18. But it is the safety of its track and wellbeing of its dogs that has really impressed Greyhound Clubs Australia executive officer David Simonette. Its a safe little club, and thats really important the welfare of its greyhounds, Simonette said. I live in Perth, but we have a number of Western Australia trainers who love going to Darwin over its Cup Carnival, such as Tim Mullany and James Jeffries. Theyll go up there for a holiday and bring some dogs with them. The club now has Sky Channel coverage every Sunday and a Wednesday every month, too. Its a great venue for dogs to race at where they might not be overly competitive in the cities down south. The Sunday timeslot for the punters is also a really good one. Youve usually got AFL and NRL games finished by then. The Darwin club produces good betting turnover. The club also receives tremendous support from the NT Government. You watch the greyhounds on TV and you see the signs supported by the NT Government at the track. DGA president Robbie Brennan had a chuckle about the latest coup for his club. This puts us in front of the horses, he said with a laugh. But this shows how much weve grown as a club. We dont want to stagnate and we want to keep moving forward. Were looking to have great trainers such as Stephen Whyte, Tom Tsouvelis and Jamie Hosking come up and support us during Carnival time. And we got a big crowd on the same weekend as Bass In The Grass. DOGS ARE BARKING AS CLUB GETS A LISTED RACE EXCLUSIVE JOSH SPASARO