The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

'Twas just a maiden at Gawler on Friday yet the win of youngster Emerley Spicy would have given owner Judi Hurley a tremendous thrill.

Peter Davis

5 December 2021

‘Twas  just a maiden at Gawler on Friday yet the win of youngster Emerley Spicy would have given owner Judi Hurley a tremendous thrill.

For the past 12 months, the South Australian GOTBA stalwart has battled significant health issues and was hospitalised for more than two months in the middle of the year.

Greyhounds have been Judi’s ‘life’ for more than 40 years and, while her health might preclude another crack at training, her interest and focus has not waned.

Hurley trained Emerley Spicy’s mum Saldana and this May ’20 juvenile is the first of her pups to race.

Vadim Roz will now plot a path for Emerley Spicy as Hurley watches on and, at only 18 months of age, the daughter of Aston Dee Bee has genuine upside.

Her mum Saldana won the Bayroad Queen (731m) at Angle Park in May 2019 and she, embarrassingly, represents of Judi’s racing moment of shame.

Just two weeks after the Bayroad Queen success. Hurley hit the deck in the pre-race parade and, for a few moments, many trackside feared the worst.

Fortunately, the tumble proved to be harmless but it’s still a source of merriment for Judi’s nearest and dearest!

TIGHT FINISH

Saturday night’s meeting at Cannington represented the final piece in the puzzle for Racing and Wagering WA’s The Phoenix aspirant at The Meadows on December 18.

In a match race, Vice Grip was untroubled to account for Fernando Star in a career best 29.54, with the time also, comfortably, the quickest of night.

At the other end of the spectrum was the 12-race card’s opener – a Novice – in which Paul Stuart’s Block Chain prevailed in quite remarkable circumstance.

Stuart’s youngster landed in front from box five and, having won at Cannington in 30.14 on November 6, those supporting the son of Kinloch Brae had good reason to be confident of a collect.

The contest, however, quickly changed shape. Passing the 600m boxes, Fired Up Karl made ground to the inside of Fontella yet his focus waned.

Exhilarate then extended up the inside and, after being well back mid-race, the vision below speaks volumes.

Has there ever been a more ‘confused’ finish in any form of racing?

At first glance, the photo finish is difficult to sort out, with the yellow rug of winner Block Chain obscured while Exhilarate (four) and Fired Up Karl (six) dead heated for second. Then came Son Of Hecton (one) while Like You was fifth despite going across the line mid-fall.

In a celebrated training career, Paul Stuart (aka ‘Moses’ to his friends) has had his share of bad beats yet, this time, Lady Luck was on his side.

Tight: The unusual finish in the opening race at Cannington on December 4.

CO-OPERATIVE COUNCIL

With the NSW Council elections out of the way, GRNSW gets clear air to press on with the upgrade of the Thirlmere trial track in Sydney’s south west.

The facility has laid idle for just on three years and with race day pressures on all venues, GRNSW’s positive response has been to refurbish the co-tenanted facility.

Muswellbrook race track is being refitted with a new rail and lure mechanism and the Muswellbrook’s old hardware is being refurbished and re-purposed for Thirlmere.

The Christmas break is problematic for all businesses yet GRNSW is hoping that Thirlmere can be operational in the first quarter of 2022 and it’s been a process made a deal easier due to the Wollondilly Council’s proactive approach.

Something in the order of $300,000 will be the outgoings – a significant saving on a greenfield site and in a time frame that helps all participants.

ROAD MAP

Consistency in the determination of penalties has been a talking point with participants for many years and, in coming days, the NSW Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission will release penalty guidelines.

Until now, registered participants (facing sanction) have had limited access or knowledge to likely penalties but that’s changed.

From the most minor infraction to the presence of a permanently prohibited substance in a swab, participants will have perspective on expected penalties.

Every case gets treated individually yet repeat offenders will have ‘loading’.

That is, a first offense will attract a minimum sanction and regardless of the infraction, early pleas, clean records and other mitigating circumstances will reduce penalties.

In just two months, the new Greyhounds Australasia Rules Of Racing become law and, in addition to local rules in all states, a new welfare focus is to be introduced.

Following the downturn in flights due to Covid-19 constraints, a proliferation of road transport has appeared which is to get real scrutiny.

Chain of command regarding transport has never been fully addressed and GWIC are very serious about the movement of registered greyhounds from person to person (both registered) by an unregistered or non-approved transport operation.

Oversight is being considered right now and, whether a transporter becomes ‘approved’ or regulated to preserve the highest welfare standards, the ‘çowboys’ operating right now will have the blow torch turned up.

The function of kennel returns for educational purposes (a la Greyhound Racing Victoria) is also on the agenda.

LINE IN THE SAND

On January 31, GA’s new rules will be in place and, while the rule book runs to 101 pages (a link is below) new marring and failing to pursue the lure sanctions are important.

No longer can a greyhound which has, to the eye, marred be slapped with an FTP given that it first eased in order to marr.

RULE CHANGES FOR PROBLEM GREYHOUNDS IMMINENT

Marring will, on February 1, will take presences over failing to pursue for any wayward customer.

Importantly, at the same time, thresholds have been introduced regarding the residual presence of banned substances (from meat products for example) and screening limits (for therapeutic substances such a dexamethasone) which have never existed, are in place.