MGRA Racing History

MGRA Racing History

The Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA) was formed in 1955. Across nine decades and three racing venues it has been recognised as the pre-eminent provider of top flight greyhound racing in Victoria.

A long and rich racing history

The MGRA first home and track was in Maribyrnong before moving to North Melbourne in and then into the heart of Melbourne’s sporting precinct Olympic Park. Monday nights from 1962 become an institution for Melbourne’s Greyhound Racing Community. The association held race meetings at Olympic Park up until the late 90s, then it then shifted out to Broadmeadows to a state-of-the-art purpose designed and built track aptly named ‘The Meadows’. (Sandown Park became the Associations interim home for a few years after leaving Olympic Park, as it waited for The Meadows to be completed).

The Meadows remains the association’s home today. The building of ‘The Meadows’ was a huge investment, but was also underpinned by a consideration towards supporting the local City of Hume community with a venue and events centre that could be utilised beyond racing activity. It sured up the associations future and gave rise to a jewel in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. The Meadows racetrack and venue today proudly holds the title as Australia’s most prestigious greyhound racing track.


Our History


The Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA) was formed separating out from GOTBA and registering as a company to hold the license to race greyhounds. With a new license, but unable to afford the £35,000 for the purchase of the White City track, the MGRA needed a home. To avoid a recess in racing, the MGRA began racing at Maribrynong paying a lease of £100 pounds a week while working on plans to establish a track at the football ground in Arden Street, North Melbourne.


On March 31, patrons packed into the North Melbourne venue to witness the hot favourite Rookie Rebel race to victory in the inaugural Australian Cup, which was to become the centre piece of the MGRA and greyhound racing in the following years.


At the General Meeting of August, the members of the MGRA were advised that negotiations for the move to North Melbourne were completed. Racing was to be conducted behind a tin hare lent by the
GTOBA of New South Wales, to be paid for when possible. Annual rent, payable to the Melbourne City Council was set at £7000 per annum. During early September, State Cabinet approved the MGRA plan to spend £50,000 converting the No. 2 oval at Olympic Park in Swan Street Melbourne for greyhound racing. The MGRA would pay annual rent of £5000 per year or 12.5% of gate takings whichever was the bigger, to the Olympic Park Trust


Take A Bow stormed home to victory in the last Australian Cup to be run at the North Melbourne track, with the last ever meeting to follow on April 16. But with new Chairman Bill Conroy at the helm it wasn’t long before the MGRA was back up and running. Come August, a crowd of over 6,000 braved cold weather at Olympic Park and witnessed Chief Secretary Arthur Rylah cut a white ribbon after the third race to declare the new track open.


Sent out favourite a greyhound by the name of Barunah took out the first ever Silver Chief conducted by the MGRA and took home the £800 prize money.


The successful connections of Australian Cup winner Boundless had an option of a $30,000 cash first prize or taking it in gold bullion. Unfortunately they decided on the cash and lost the opportunity of more than doubling their prize with the tremendous spiral of gold prices in that year.


The early 1990s saw declining attendance numbers and finances at the MGRA, but the club was faced by a further problem. Late in 1994 the Domain Tunnel (part of the Citylink Project) was proposed to run along the back straight of the track and was to become an issue of monumental importance that was to shape the future of the club. The initial plan was for MGRA to move out during the construction of the tunnel. But after further discussions, the Club was told by the Olympic Park Trust (OPT) that it would not be able to return despite holding a further 13 years of lease on the site. Both the OPT and the tunnel consortium "Transurban or Citilink" believed that no compensation was payable for the lease. Eventually after considerable negotiation, Citilink agreed to contribute a considerable sum to compensate for the relocation. With funds available, the Club began giving serious consideration to relocation options, with Broadmeadows becoming the early front-runner. So for the second time in 20 years, MGRA was on the move again.


With racing transferred to Sandown, the period leading up to the shift to 'The Meadows' was a difficult one, but the new site at Broadmeadows provided for significant optimism. First, it provided for greyhound racing on the northern side of the Melbourne. Second, the Hume Council was keen to engage the MGRA as a business partner in community development and third, the demographics of the area presented the MGRA with a great opportunity to attract a younger audience to greyhound racing.


The new track took about 18 months to complete and on Monday February 8, a huge crowd in the vicinity of 3000 people crammed into the new racetrack to welcome a new era for the MGRA. The Meadows was opened for racing.


Significantly, a chance opportunity through SKY Channel allowed for a move to Saturday night racing. First shared with Sandown, but then confirmed as the new solo MGelbourne greyhounds timeslot, the move to Saturday night racing has proven to be very successful and it is now the cornerstone of racing at 'The Meadows.'


In April 2003, a hand slipping track was established for local owners and trainers. On a racing front, the Directorate revamped the format of the Australian Cup Carnival in 2003 to include a first night that is highlighted by the Temlee, the Rookie Rebel and the Zoom Top as invitational feature events. The MGRA has also promoted now well proven group events such as the Silver Chief, the Maturity Classic, the Hume Cup and the Silver Bullet. Now traditionally conducted on (the horses) Melbourne Cup Eve.


In 2015 the club expanded in a major redevelopment that involved a major extension of both the upper and ground floor levels at the western end of the pavilion, creating greater function room capacity and enhanced disability access. It also included an extension of the current decking area at the eastern end of the pavilion including improved disability access, construction of enhanced function facilities on the extended deck, and ground floor upgrades of the betting ring area and the MGRA administration offices. The extension of the main grandstand eased the demand on the dining room area. The alfresco type function room addition to the stylish new decking area allowed the club to cater for an extra 120 people. In addition to Coalition Government funding of $875,000 from the Victorian Racing Industry Fund, GRV would provide $1,150,000 with the MGRA contributing the remaining $250,000 towards the total project cost of $2,275,000.


December 2021 saw the introducing of a new racing concept, The Phoenix. It was set and claimed to be the most exciting race to hit the greyhound racing calendar in recent memory. The concept utilises the opportunity to buy a slot (start box) in the race at a set price and then fill it with your own greyhound runner. Prizemoney is then shared between the 8 race runners, with the higher placing receiving more of the share. In 2022 the race become the richest greyhound race in the world, with a total prize pool of $1.65 million and a $1 million winner’s cheque. Inaugural winner Wow She’s Fast trained by Jackie Greenough has so far gone back to back in the two races held, and was raced by the slot holder Sportbet.

Racing Honour Roll

Maturity Classic

Silver Chief Classic

Rookie Rebel

Australian Cup

Super Stayers

“A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.” Robert Heinlein, American author (1907-1988)