The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has tested one and all and it’s neigh a miracle that all three racing codes have continued to function.

Peter Davis

15 August 2021

THE ongoing Covid-19 crisis has tested one and all and it’s neigh a miracle that all three racing codes have continued to function.

Lockdowns evolve daily and in NSW, the state was completely shackled on Friday at 5pm and the move by GRNSW to equalise prizemoney for events beyond 440m was a positive, proactive move.

GRNSW has churned through something like $350,000 per month in the support of owners and trainers across the state by providing ‘çity’ prizemoney from Temora to Lismore and all TAB venues in between.

For the next three weeks, trainers will have races beyond 440m offering $2600 to the winner for grade five events and proportional increases for higher grades.

Yes, the $4000 and $5000 to-the-winner races have been ‘parked’ for the moment but will return.

Sadly, the social media narks have attacked the decision and the venting is all about self-interest. The opportunity to race remains and GRNSW has worked tirelessly to ensure NSW Health protocols have been followed.

And for those who have not received direct notification of changes from GRNSW, the message is simple … just tick the box on your www.thedogs.com.au profile page (if a member), or advise the GRNSW racing team and your details will be added, and you’ll be kept informed.

CASH CONVERTER

The mediation between Greyhound Racing Victoria and the Victorian Greyhound, Owners, Trainers and Breeders’ Association has passed three weeks and, in the next seven days, there should be a tangible resolution proposed.

Whether the GOTBA is content with GRV’s offer remains to be seen but the levels of Victorian prizemoney will come under even greater scrutiny next week when oversight of average prizemoney (across the nation) is published without Group race prizemoney factored in.

That is, no Melbourne or Australian Cup cash, no Million Dollar Chase, no Golden Easter Egg, Brisbane or Perth Cups for example.

Group racing is a high benchmark which every participant aspires to get involved in but the reality is that week-to-week racing is the bread and butter which sustains all.

Stay tuned!

BAD BEAT

All punters have a sorrowful tale to tell, a bad beat which just refuses to fade.

Mine was in the days of the NSW TAB’s Superfecta when, at WP, a bet struck which was cancelled before leaving the tote operator’s window, would have resulted in a 50 per cent portion of a $70,000 pool.

And on Friday, a colleague, remained in the fetal position for some time after the running of race six at Richmond with a bad beat for the ages.

His NSWTAB four-leg all up (with Zipping Ontario as the anchor) snared a remarkable 5X multiplier which accelerated his return from $5656 to a stunning $28,280!

Ultimately the patron saint of bookmakers came to the fore and the actual result is even more painful after watching what transpired.

Video here

Opportunity is often an orphan and the next time the TAB’s multiplier is activated, it’s short odds something like 1.1X will arrive rather than 5X.

LISTENING IN

On Friday, the NSW Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission conducted an important forum on the proposed new national racing rules which come into effect on November 1.

The Zoom meeting included GRNSW, GBOTA, Greyhound Clubs NSW, prominent owners and trainers, the Australian Worker’s Union and Racing Analytical Services Limited Managing Director David Batty.

The purpose of the forum was to introduce the relevance of rule changes, how the analytical processes work and how levels are reported along with the incidence of positive returns.

The metrics were stunning! Nationally, RASL tested 33,753 swabs from greyhounds in the past 12 months and only 28 were returned as positive to cobalt and or arsenic (found in kelp, sardines and some injectable supplements).

There were 115 total positive swabs for 2020/21 across all substances which includes Theobromine (chocolate and caffeine), the anti-inflammatory Meloxicam and Dexamethasone etc.

Only three positive samples were reported by RASL from NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory combined for cocaine and its metabolites.

Both Queensland and WA have their own labs and do their own testing but RASL act as their confirmatory analyst.

On this day, it was clear that GWIC takes consultation seriously and looks to those impacted by the new rules to be genuinely engaged.

Threshold levels were discussed. David Batty considered all levels were very fair and, in the case of cobalt, a positive sample, he asserted, cannot be returned via nutrition and or supplements.

The normal resting level for greyhound regarding cobalt under is 10ng while the threshold is placed at 100ng – yes, 10 times a ‘normal’ reading.

Positive swabs (via knackery meat) will be mitigated after November 1, by means of a new threshold which has not been in place to date. A positive return to contaminated meat (ketamine, morphine and xylazine are specified) until now had no wiggle room … a bit like pregnancy – positive or negative, no in between.

Another six prohibited substances – butylscopolamine, carprofen, dexamethasone, firocoxib, flunixin and meloxicam – will attain a threshold from November 1.

Local rules were also discussed as was the change to wagering regulation on races in which greyhound trainers have starters.

In harness racing, trainers and drivers are prohibited from placing a bet on any horse other than their own. For the thoroughbreds, jockeys cannot bet whatsoever but a trainer can back another horse in a race which they have runner(s).

The discussion is live around which way greyhound racing will head but what is required is absolutely clarity. Maybe it’s the harness racing version which is crystal clear!

GWIC’s consultative processes have greatly improved and this engagement is indicative of the where the commission is heading.

IT’S A BET

There’s growing concern about Fixed Odds wagering which, in greyhound racing, has a foundation in Bet365’s opening markets.

Stewards regularly grill trainers about market movements yet the Fixed Odds prices are open to compromise by the ‘early divers’ without being set for significant money.

No doubt, Bet365 plays the man and not the ball in many instances.

There is a vindictive nature about the context of opening markets and those ‘false figures’ confuse stewards who don’t understand marketplace percentages and wagering.

And then there is the inexplicable ‘overs’ opportunity.

Take for example the well-related Miss Integrity. The Stratheden-based youngster stepped out for the first time on her home track at Casino on May 20 and it’s said that $4 was on offer (from box one) in the first Fixed Odds market.

The bush telegraph was running hot with fast trials for the daughter of Barcia Bale.

With no performance trials in play in NSW, wagering operators are usually careful with newcomers but this contest went against the grain.

Miss Integrity’s litter brother Rebellious, to May 20, had won his only three starts at Warragul (twice) and Sale in slick, best-of-the-day times when long odds on.

And let’s not forget about sibling Substantial – a sizzling 23.59 winner at Bendigo on April 16 before a cracking 29.37 Sandown win three weeks later … two full weeks before Miss Integrity’s debut.

Each profile should have had alarm bells ringing when the assessing price offered at Miss Integrity’s debut but that, seemingly, went through to the keeper.

In the end, Miss Integrity finished second and fingers were burned.

The opening prices – being too short or too long – translates to trainers being questioned by stewards about a betting movement which they had no influence over.

Fixed Odds wagering operator’s prices (on the day of the contest) mirror each other and it’s driven by the domino effect. A change from one provider is automatically translated throughout the market place and that’s something which stewards are oblivious to.

Do greyhound racing’s stewards do their own markets for races they work on?

I think not! And on that basis, a please explain (to trainers from stewards) regarding price fluctuations goes beyond the pale.