By David Lewis
THE cancellation of last Sunday’s race meeting at Tara Raceway, due in part to a significant number of Victorian trainers and their greyhounds unable to cross the border, also impacted on the 2020 Ian Badger Trainer of the Year and the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year presentations.
By the time the announcement was posted the meeting would not go ahead, Judy Sellen (formerly Badger) and members of her family were already in Mount Gambier for the weekend after making the trip down from Adelaide.
So in order to acknowledge Allendale East trainer David Peckham’s 2020 Ian Badger Trainer of the Year award with 134 winners a photo shoot took place at an empty Tara Raceway complex Sunday morning.
Ms Sellen was joined by the leading trainer, along with her daughter and son-in-law Shantala and Ryan Chung Gon and granddaughters Ayesha 10 and Poppy 6.
This is the third year the Ian Badger Trainer of the Year award has been recognised.
It came about purely by chance after Kevin Jones and Monty Wilson stumbled across a cobweb-covered trophy in a shed at Tara Raceway.
As it turned out, the trophy, which is now part of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s memorabilia display, was for the 1979-1980 Leading Trainer and had been won by Ian Badger.
Later, the MGGRC committee of the day decided to name its annual Leading Trainer award after the inaugural winner – a man who had loved his greyhounds and greyhound racing and had been a dedicated club man.
Badger was on the committee of what was then known as the South East Greyhound Racing Club when racing commenced at Glenburnie on Saturday, July 21, 1979.
He was secretary the following season and president between 1984 and 1986 and again between 1988 and 1990.
In 1996 he was awarded posthumous life membership of the MGGRC after having died on March 31, 1995 at the age of 46 – just under two years prior to greyhound racing commencing at Lake Terrace East.
Judy Badger, more often than not accompanied at Glenburnie by the couple’s pre-teen daughter Shantala, was the secretary/treasurer of the SE Greyhound Club Ladies Committee that had been formed in August 1978.
This committee had been active in fundraising and had catered for the many owners and trainers on trial days with a refreshments stall.
Of the $55,000 spent on the Glenburnie track prior to opening day, $25,000 had been raised by raffles conducted over the previous six years, while $10,000 had been raised by donations.
Upon leaving Tara Raceway on Sunday morning, Shantala headed for Glenburnie and the racetrack where all those years ago greyhound racing got its start in Mount Gambier.
These days there is not much to suggest greyhound racing was ever conducted on the inside of the thoroughbred track.
But for her it still holds plenty of memories.