Grass greener for sacked WACA curator
Fresh start: Cam Sutherland surveys his new turf at Ascot racecourse. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Former WACA pitch curator Cam Sutherland has broken his silence on his mysterious sacking last year, revealing his disappointment at how his cricket role ended as he begins a new working life in WA horse racing.

Mr Sutherland, who this week started as Perth Racing's general manager of tracks, confirmed he had made an out-of-court settlement with the WACA after lodging an unfair dismissal claim last November.

He said he was unable to disclose details of his settlement but admitted not having watched much of the Perth Ashes Test in December because of the bitterness surrounding his departure.

WACA chief executive Christina Matthews said in October that Mr Sutherland had been sacked because of a "serious breach of policy".

Mr Sutherland maintained yesterday that he had done nothing wrong in the position he had held since 2005.

"It was disappointing, absolutely, it was eight years there," he said. "My charter was to bring back the pace and bounce and I think you've seen that.

"The last five Test matches at the WACA have just been almost sold out and that's purely because of what we did.

"The WACA went through a stage where it was just like every other Test venue and now people go, 'Wow, we can't wait for the WACA Test'. I take enormous pride in the fact that I instigated and drove that.

"It was well documented that the facility had never been in better shape and that's what I think Perth Racing has seen in my performances."

Mr Sutherland said he faced a challenge in growing grass long enough to provide vital cushioning for WA gallopers, where in the past he had delighted in preparing the rock-hard WACA wickets that struck fear into visiting batsmen.

"In a cricket scenario, I think there's almost nine times the body weight going through the front leg of a fast bowler and that's the last thing you want in a horse because it would become lame pretty quickly," he said.

Mr Sutherland said he was focused on ensuring the Belmont track was in prime condition for its opening on May 3.

The West Australian

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