He's ridden a racehorse at an elite level on the biggest stages in the country, and he has won more than a dozen Group 1 events, yet champion jockey Brenton Avdulla admitted to having nerves when he walked out at Wentworth Park's greyhound track earlier this month.
Avdulla's love of greyhound racing is widely known, but he went a step further late last year when he secured his handler's licence which now allows him to box and catch dogs at official race meetings.
Having "chickened out," he said, at an earlier meeting, he got over his nerves and led out and boxed the greyhound he owns - Fernando Hunter - at the city race meeting on March 4.
More than that though, Avdulla also became a first-time winner with the dog recording a stunning seven and three quarter length win.
Trained by Michelle Sultana, Fernando Hunter won again at Wenty on March 11, taking his record to 19 wins and 10 placings from 45 starts. However, on tis particular occasion Avdulla wasn't available to box the dog. He was instead riding Private Eye into fourth place in the Group 1 Newmarket at Flemington in Melbourne that afternoon.
As for what the future may hold in this sport, "I'd really like to train greyhounds,'' Avdulla said.
The minister for Racing Kevin Anderson and member for the Upper Hunter Dave Layzell were on hand on March 5 to cut the ribbon and officially open the upgraded racetrack and facilities at Muswellbrook.
The $2.8 million upgrade includes a full refurbishment with the remediation and re-profiling of the track and the turf surface, a new safety rail, safety padding on the turns and in the catching pen, and the installation of a Safechase lure system.
Unfortunately the grass on the track had not quite knitted perfectly for the proposed first TAB meeting on March 11. Therefore a new date has been set for the grand opening which will be held on April 16.
The team at GRNSW's Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) are always kept busy whether it be at their two facilities at Western Sydney and Wyee on the Central Coast, or around the state with the regional programs, but this time of the year you are likely to see plenty of the team out and about.
Apart from the regular schedule of adoption days at numerous locations almost every weekend, the team also has one of the most visited stalls at the Sydney Royal Easter Show each year.
The 2023 Easter Show will run from April 6 until April 17, but there will be no time to rest for the GAP team, who will be at the Sydney Family Show on April 23 when they take part in National Adoption Day.
Apart from the dogs, there will also be some celebrity guests attending the National Adoption Day this year.
This article was produced as part of an ACM partnership with Greyhound Racing NSW.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.