The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

The highlight at Albion Park on Thursday was Jungle Deuce's win in the Flying Amy yet a clear distraction was the scratching of David Smith’s runners.

Peter Davis

13 June 2021

The clear highlight of a fantastic night at Albion Park on Thursday was Jungle Deuce’s commanding performance in the Group 2 Flying Amy yet a clear distraction was the post-kennelling scratching of David Smith’s four runners.

His admission to race-day administration of Beta-Cel electrolytes and Traumeel was deemed to have contravened Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83A (e) and set a fire under trainers nationwide.

Ignorance of any rule is no defence but just where is greyhound racing heading if a trainer – as was the case with David Smith – cannot properly hydrate his dogs properly on the day of a race when travelling the sort of distance he covered to get to Brisbane?

Traumeel is widely used and comes in cream, gel or tablet form. Manufacturer Heel Vet promotes the product as being: “a natural effective medication with a combination of 12 botanical and 2 mineral substances for treating and rapidly resolving inflammation, muscle and joint pain.”

Importantly, Traumeel is considered a natural medicine and not performance enhancing ergo non swab-able.

Greyhound racing needs to engage in and promote drug free racing and absolutely be strong with penalties reci illicit and performance enhancing substances but this is going beyond the pale.

David Smith was oblivious to his wrong doing.

Whether the rules are appropriate or applied even handily across all states – being National rules – is a moot point.

Interestingly, all Queensland trainers are of the precisely aware of the application of GA 83A (e) and work around the same.

“If I need to hydrate a dog in transit home from Rockhampton or Bundaberg, I’m forced to leave any electrolytes away from my car, certainly not at the track,” one Brisbane trainer said.

“This is a real welfare issue and the rules stewards are imposing has serious hydration issues for many dogs. The products used are either prescribed by a vet or are over-the-counter mineral compounds which do not offer any concerns with swabs.

“I understand the rules are there but are the rules correct or being applied within a decent welfare outlook?”

How do trainers travelling any substantial distance hydrate post-race if unable to have products like the popular Vytrate (an oral rehydration therapy containing a mixture of glucose, glycine and electrolytes), Coconut Water, Beta-Cel, potassium tablets etc with them?

This oversight is akin to banning professional tennis players consuming a banana (to thwart cramping) or disallowing the use of Powerade and Gatorade for sports athletes. Is a packet of Panadol in a trainer’s car glove box also an issue on race day?

The oversight in Queensland has been as finite as a trainer being told to report the use daily of Manuka honey on a dog which had the portents of tonsillitis.

This has got to be sorted out!

Welfare is a major concern for all in greyhound racing yet the GA rules (which are under review), are flawed in so many ways and this one is the gold medal favourite.

The draft GA rule update closed feedback on June 7 and, on June 30, the GA Board was slated to convene and endorse the new national standards but that has been extended.

Let’s hope in the next few weeks someone at Board level addresses these issues and that stringent swabbing protocols will expose cheats while those attending to hydration and the hound’s well-being can do so without the prospect of fines and or suspension.

GETTING AWAY

At Casino on Thursday, four races were conducted over 300m and the second (race three on the afternoon card) was noteworthy.

In race three, the trip start (seen level with the boxes next to a ‘witches hat’) was not activated by the lure yet, without human intervention, the lids came up a couple of seconds ‘late’.

Tripped up: Casino’s 300m trip start. Pic Supplied.

The stewards soon announced a review of the start yet ‘All Clear’ was soon announced with the post-meeting report stating: “Following the running of the race Stewards issued a hold all tickets announcement, to review the length of the lure at the start of the event and the delay in the lids opening. After reviewing the race footage, Stewards were satisfied that no greyhounds were prejudicially affected and as a result all clear was declared.”

Interestingly, the next line offered: “The field jumped evenly with (sic) ROCHILL STORM (1) dwelt at the start.”

Rochill Storm is by no means a good beginner and there is no inference that an incorrect decision was made by the GWIC stewards on the day but it just underscores the variance in rule application from state to state.

Race Three at  Casino went this way:

The start of races one, four and 10 got away without fuss.  Here’s the start of Race Four.

Now, Race 10

Back on May 1, Paul Stuart’s Rapido Lass got within a metre or two of the lure at the winning post the first time (in a 600m event) and that was considered enough for the contest to be abandoned. Many considered the incident failed to disaffect the result and the decision to be incorrect.

Had the Casino matter been in WA, a very different outcome was assured.

Marring and failing to pursue the lure are so very confused in Victoria, race day administration of electrolytes is a hanging offence in Queensland and in NSW it’s OK to have the lure 40m ahead of the dogs at the start.

GA’s National Rules are being strictly observed or completely disregarded when need be, so what’s the point of such a disrespected set?

GREAT EXPECTATION

The first meeting on the new Grafton track is less than 24 hours away and the praise of the new facility has been universal.

Trial sessions have been fully booked, with more than 320 trials conducted in the six of the past seven days.

Punters looking for a guide to ‘winning times’ is that a grade five dog over 407m on the old track getting down to 23.20 seconds, should run 20.30 to 20.40 over 350m.

“We’ve had a lot of five-dog trials and the dogs drawn in the middle of the field have not been disadvantaged,” Grafton President John Corrigan said.

“On Monday, we have one 660m race, six over 450m and four 350m races and we’d like that mix to be a blueprint for the future.”

Grafton’s fantastic winter carnival kicks off on June 28 with heats of the Clarence Valley Sheds Maiden while, 48 hours later, heats of the $20,000 to-the-winner Sprinters Cup (450m) will be decided.

The Stayers Cup heats are also on June 28 with all finals set for July 7.

Trials for winter carnival aspirants are still available yet racing twice a week in the short term does limit trial days.

OVER THE DITCH

The Amazing Chase complemented the prestigious Duke of Edinburg Silver Collar (779m) in Auckland (Manukau) on Sunday and the spoils in the 50th anniversary of the test of stamina went Karen Walsh’s Thrilling Amelia (Mogambo – Monaco Icon).

Conducted on similar terms to Sandown’s Speed Star, the Amazing Chase had an interesting preamble with the Cole kennel electing to withdraw two qualified runners and, therefore, elevate their Auckland Cup winner Federal Morgan into the NZ$25,000 to-the-winner event.

Sadly, Federal Morgan, when clear in the final heat, suffered a significant injury and his career may well be over.

While all-but certain to salute, his faltering then impeded Drink Shoeys and his time was only third best yet just .10 seconds short of gold medal status.

Dave and Jean Fahey’s It’s A Blaze cut down Pedro Lee to win the opening Amazing Chase heat in 30.26 and ultimately his winning time prevailed.