The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

Dubbed the Postcard Bandit, Brenden Abbott is ‘credited’ as OZ's most notorious robber, with a string of robberies to have netted over $5m in the 80’s.

Peter Davis

3 October 2021

Dubbed the Postcard Bandit by police, Brenden Abbott is ‘credited’ as Australia’s most notorious armed robber, with a string of robberies considered to have netted over $5 million in the 1980’s.

Abbott’s standing, however, is under threat … not from an individual but by greyhound racing’s administrators nationwide.

The latest pillage of the code’s funding come from Racing Queensland as evidenced by its Annual Report which was released last week.

In short, greyhound racing revenue is compromised in order to support harness racing in the Sunshine State.

That said, the saga is repeated nationwide yet, in the case of Queensland and Western Australia, one overarching hierarchy simplifies the metrics and all greyhound racing participants should be appalled.

Racing turnover is skyrocketing – hence prizemoney increases in NSW and Victoria in the past two weeks – yet there will be a contraction once stay at home punters get back to work. Meantime, the windfall needs to be spent wisely.

At the start of the Covid pandemic, prizemoney was reduced in some areas (20 per cent in WA for four months) given the uncertainty around wagering levels. Remember that?

Queensland Racing held firm on their prizemoney levels when others retreated but their Winter carnival was, understandably, abandoned.

Sadly, greyhound racing in Queensland, metaphorically speaking, is working a full five-day week yet getting paid for three.

The NSW Inter-Code agreement has been gouging participants since the privatisation of the TAB in 1996 and no government has had the courage to put a review in place.

The Queensland Racing Annual Report runs 86 pages yet the nub really lies in just a few graphics. Try these out!

Excepts; The leakage of greyhound funding to harness racing is spelled out in RQ’s Annual Report.

 

The Racing Act in Queensland legislates that RQ must act in the best interests of all three codes and they’re doing just that for harness racing but it’s at the expense of all greyhound participants.

The ratios are: Gallops $256m income ($146.2m prizemoney), Greyhounds revenue was $52m with $25m returned to industry while harness racing income was $26m (by means of fewer meetings) yet $22m was put back into prizemoney.

The outcome is: Greyhound racing receives 48 per cent of their earned revenue, the gallops is at 57 per cent and harness is, wait for it, a numbing 82 per cent (as per the images above).

For the 20/21 Financial Year in Queensland, a profit of $7.149m resulted, with greyhound racing’s bottom line being $12.478m while harness racing lost $7.25m.

GRNSW and RWWA annual reports are not far away and comparisons to RQ will be plain for all to see.

Average race prizemoney in Queensland is excellent – second to only WA. Just image what greyhound racing in Queensland would offer if all three codes were returning in the order 60 per cent (as is the case at GRSA) to participants?

And, to that end, the propping up of harness racing is not proportionate for greyhound and the gallops. It’s a scandal and there’s not much anyone can do about it.

While GRNSW have much needed track upgrades in the works, RQ’s Yamanto project is progressing.

They hosted a public meeting at Ipswich dogs on September 4, stepping through the three proposed tracks (distances etc), government approvals timeline, facilities and planned kennels.

The new facility is budgeted for in the RQ Annual Report at $38m. It’s scheduled to be completed in 2024 and is reportedly on track.

When Yamanto is complete, the Queensland puzzle will be sorted. Bundaberg and Rockhampton upgrades should have been long-completed and Townsville’s tenure will surely have been resolved … or relocated but this capital investment should not be akin to Oliver wanting ‘more’ and disaffect prizemoney.

The metrics around distribution should be easy – make it proportionate to income!

MOVING BUT STAYING PUT

Having taken the helm at Bendigo in early 2011 when the club was under administration, Troy Harley has overseen a $750,000 turnaround in the club’s bank balance.

Now, the ex-pat Novocastrian is now changing tack and leaves the BGRA – a genuine industry club which focuses on providing for the participants whether it be trials, racing, facilities etc – to take over from David Simonette as the CEO of Greyhound Clubs Australia.

GCA has a solid foundation thanks to the industry insight ‘Simo’ has in spades and Harley has been involved with GCA on sub-committees and as the Victorian delegate to the peak body.

Not only has the club thrived under Harley’s guidance, he’s and advanced significant fundraising/community engagement activities and events (Give Me 5 For Kids month, the Mark Hughes Foundation and several others) in addition to social media coverage of feature events with Bendigo Cup 2020 coverage produced live from the track due to Covid lockouts.

Make no mistake, Simo’s departure left big shoes to fill at GCA but they’ve snared the right bloke for the job.

Next up is for someone to take the baton from Troy Harley and run with it – and that’s going to be a real challenge for the successor.

Troy and Belinda Harley are not planning to move away from Bendigo. His new role is more ‘family’ and ‘hands on’ greyhound friendly.

100% CHASE

As expected, a quality line-up does battle on Friday in the $40,000 to-the-winner Group 2 Black Top Final at The Gardens.

Having secured box one in the decider, many punters will side with Michelle Lill’s Grafton Sprinter’s Cup winner More Sauce but there is an elephant in the room.

And that’s Zipping Kyrgios. He’s drawn box five in the decider – certainly a challenge at the elite level but this bloke is the epitome of chase.

Breeders, punters, owners and trainers et al are often consumed by speed yet when the chips are down ‘Kyrgios’ morphs the likes of Rapid Journey, Bombastic Shiraz, El Grand Senor and, more recently, Feral Franky.

Martin and Fiona Hallinan’s Zipping Garth was never threatened in his brief, injury curtailed career and now is an in-demand first season sire.

Zipping Kyrgios is a Group 3 winner at Wentworth Park and this Black Top is the next rung on the ladder yet, the way John and Minnie Finn have him firing, anything is possible by year’s end.

His run home time at The Gardens on Friday was a stunning 11.92 – significantly quicker that of fellow Black Top heat winners More Sauce (12.30), Casual Glance (12.28) and Zulu Warlord (12.41).

Let’s not forget his 29.24 win was only one length outside Zipping Bailey’s 515m record and he’s posted 29.37 at Wentworth Park, 30.26 at Richmond and is the equal record holder at Dubbo (29.27).

Whether Zipping Kyrgios gets his chance at stud remains to be seen but he’s turning heads right now.

GOULBURN’S CUP

Will be interesting to see how many elite interstate-based aspirants line up for the Group 3 Goulburn Cup heats on October 17.

The $25,000 to-the-winner series should be attractive to Bendigo Cup hopefuls for those which might have not for that final (heats this Saturday) and the timing is advantageous but will Covid transport and border crossing constraints be in play?

Only Jeff Britton, Angela Langton and Andrea Dally-trained hounds headed to Angle Park for the Adelaide Cup heats and the changing nature of permit requirements between NSW and Victoria might curtail interest.

Pre-Covid, David Geall snared the Goulburn Cup with My Redeemer’s litter brother Emerald Rainbow in 2019 and last year, Wow cut down his bro’ Ad Astra in near track record time (24.33).

Wow will return from a break to defend his title, Ad Astra may well target the $10,000 to-the-winner Fireball heats (350m) yet the Lord, Hardman, Magri, Gatt, Smith and Finn-trained speedsters – to name a few – are sure to make the cup series highly competitive.

RED IS THE OLD RED

Thanks goodness October is here!

For September, Greyhound Racing Victoria decided to include an American flag on the red rug for all races in Victoria to ‘promote’ the co-mingling of pari-mutuel operations with the USA and geez it was a fizzer visually.

Streaming has been available to American punters for some time now and, those I’ve spoken to stateside, had no concept of the ‘marriage’. The spend on new rugs across all track in Victoria might not be grand in the scheme of things but “penny wise and pound foolish” is in play with this one.

The ‘American’ monikered rugs confused this writer and surely many others …  it’s doubtful one US cent was added to the coffers from the exercise.

Let’s hope the next promo will be better thought out.