Burden Park hoping to hit the Jack(pot)

Bruce Smith and the Burden Park will be cheering for Aston Rupee on Friday night. 259230_02 Picture: Stewart Chambers

By Marcus Uhe

All eyes at Springvale’s Burden Park Bowling Club will be drawn to the 2021 TAB Melbourne Cup at Sandown Greyhound Racing Club on Friday night.

The club has drawn the hot betting favourite, Aston Rupee in the Melbourne Cup Community Sweep, with a first prize of $6000 up for grabs.

Trained by Devon Meadows trainer Glenn Rounds, Aston Rupee has been in terrific form this year, winning his last four consecutive races and missing the podium just twice from his 31 starts in 2021.

Burden Park club President Bruce Smith was over the moon when he learnt that they had drawn the favourite in the sweep.

“I couldn’t believe our good fortune,” Smith said. “I was there last Friday night when I saw it win its heat and fingers crossed it’ll go one better this week.

“If we were lucky enough that this dog wins for us, we could put that money into some new furniture for the club. That’s going to be the main priority because we badly need to upgrade our furniture, and that money will go a long way to doing that.

“It’s really the chairs in the venue that are a bit dated. You start talking 150+ new chairs, that’ll soon suck up a few dollars.

“It’s so much needed, and we’re just super excited about being involved.”

Like many community sporting clubs, Smith said that the last two years have been difficult financially for Burden Park.

“With the Covid lockdown, our income stream obviously dried up. We just couldn’t have any events.

“Now that we’re back playing bowls and something like this has come along, it’s given us a real push along. It’s really great.”

Any incorporated sporting or community group based in Victoria was eligible to enter the sweep with a $13,000 prize pool.

64 available entries in the sweep were filled within a week, with eight winners from last Friday night’s heats chosen for the “The Worlds’ Greatest Greyhound Race”

Sandown Greyhound Racing Club CEO Adrian Scott said that the sweep was designed to provide a cash injection to clubs that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

“This is the second year now that we’ve done a community sweep,” Scott said. “It’s trying to support some clubs that have certainly been impacted by Covid and it’s an opportunity for them to pick up a few bucks.”

“It’s just a really good way to try to get the community involved.”

Smith said he’s trying to organise a group of his teammates to head to Sandown to see Aston Rupee race again.

“I’m going to try and have as many as I can to try and get to Sandown and watch the race live. We want to be there to cheer it home.”

Scott likes their chances of seeing it past the post first.

“I don’t think there’s much doubt that he’s the quickest greyhound in Australia.

“He just needs a bit of luck in the barrier draw, but if he can find the front early in the race, he’ll take a fair bit of running down.”

The Melbourne Cup will be run just after 8.50pm on Friday.