The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

The modelling for racing turnover, at the outset of Covid-19, was particularly precautionary and prizemoney levels reduced temporarily in most states.

Peter Davis

19 December 2021

The modelling for racing turnover, at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, was particularly precautionary and prizemoney levels reduced temporarily in most states.

Lockdowns accelerated opportunity for punters and the predicted paucity in fact turned into a landslide of cash.

Now, in West Australia, owners and trainers are in a pitched battle with Racing and Wagering WA to return their ‘taken’ prizemoney.

RWWA acted to decrease all prizemoney by 20 per cent from April to the end of July in 2020 and, in recent days, has announced a process to reinstate that back to owners and trainers.

The retained prizemoney totalled $700,000 and, from February 1 to July 30, $750,000 will be added back.

That’s a 10 per cent increase to the prizemoney pool but not to the folk who had their prizemoney stripped in the first place.

Certainly, WA offers the best average prizemoney (per race) in the country but there is a significant principle being ignored here.

RWWA decreased returns to individuals and have reinstated the loss to industry. That’s what has angered the ‘natives’.

Submissions, back as far as 12 months, were made by trainers to have their losses reinstated but the decision of RWWA was to increase base prizemoney.

What looms is a standoff between RWWA and trainers nominating for the New Year’s Eve meeting at Cannington.

Whether a nomination boycott for one metro meeting carries any weight remains to be seen but the resolve of those at the core is steely.

Kody Charles, for example, lost $8000 from his WA Oaks win in May while the top echelon of trainers will have accrued a significant portion of the $700,000 retained by RWWA.

The Victorian Greyhound Owners, Breeders and Trainers’ Association locked horns with GRV over prizemoney levels mid-year.

Meetings at Cranbourne, The Meadows and Ballarat on July 3 attained no nominations and were abandoned due the strength of the GOTBA members resolve.

Whether the proposed New Year’s Eve ban for Cannington is a mere aberration or ominous portend of what is to come, the fact is that strength in remains in numbers.

HEADING EAST

After 11 years at the helm of Greyhound Racing South Australia following nine years at Sandown, Matt Corby has stepped away from greyhound racing.

The proud Victorian is returning to his roots and an abiding passion has now evolved into ‘work.’

Come January 17, Matt will be the Chief Executive of the National Golf Club which comprises four of best courses in Victoria – all ranked in the top 50 in the nation.

The Cape Schanck facility embraces 54 holes while a recent merger with Long Island Golf Club puts the National in a unique category.

“The opportunity cropped up quickly and, being a golf tragic and from the Mornington Peninsular, the pluses were significant,” Corby said.

“I’ve loved my time here in South Australia and in racing and there was no real concept to return to Victoria in the short term … we are really well established here now but the family will be returning ‘home’.

Corby leaves GRSA in a particularly buoyant time.

Wagering increases have been returned to industry and GRSA is the benchmark across the nation on transparency and fairness.

Track infrastructure and facilities have been well progressed and modernisation has not been lost on the GRSA Board.

“It’s difficult to say goodbye, we’ve made lifelong friends here and the kids (Sam 16 and Hannah 13) have lived most of their lives in Adelaide.

“I’ll be getting along to as many greyhound meetings as possible and Sky Racing will be the main fare in our clubhouses,” Corby laughed.

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE

Greyhound Racing New Zealand released its 2021 Annual Report on December 13.

The following morning, SAFE NZ – an animal rights charity – issued a press release, which claimed that 232 greyhounds “were killed” during the 2020/21 racing season, and further claimed that the Annual Report “shows that the greyhound racing industry is clearly not addressing animal welfare concerns.”

As is the case with assertions from activists, the real numbers were ignored.

The GRNZ 2021 Annual Report disclosed 187 greyhounds died or were euthanised during the 2020/21 racing season for reasons unrelated to racing.

Of these, 117 greyhounds were euthanised for various medical reasons on advice of vets and 60 died of old age, illness or accident.

A further 15 pups died after birth and three were euthanised on veterinary advice.

Research on the mortality rates for puppies in the general dog population indicates a range of 11-13 per cent is expected yet the puppy mortality rate in New Zealand for the past season was two per cent – a factor of five times less than all other breeds.

The number of euthanised dogs related to racing activity was 27 – not 232 as SAFE appears to claim.

GRNZ’s decision to make data available is important. The misrepresentations in Australia are rarely challenged and, for too long, no entity engaged in defending the racing industry.

On distant shores, the Irish lead the way in advocacy.

The unsubstantial claims made publicly are quickly countered and they have an active view of social media misinformation.

Late last month, Shelbourne Greyhound Stadium Limited, which is 99 per cent owned by the Irish Greyhound Board, lodged papers in the High Court this week, naming five people who have been involved in protests against greyhound racing, as well as “other persons unknown”.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/greyhound-racing-company-takes-high-court-action-against-protesters-1.4099745

Fortunately, in the past 12 months, Greyhound Club’s Australia has stepped up in an advocacy role and is ready and prepared to rebut the misinformation anti-greyhound racing elements propose.

Incoming CEO Troy Harley knows greyhound racing inside out and fully understands how negativity can be debilitating and at no point prior GCA’s engagement has any entity supported rank and file participants.

GRNZ refuted SAFE’s alarming and false metrics by means of real numbers which, if supplied in Australia, can tell a very positive story.

The rants of activists are based on estimates and speculation dating back to 2014.

What’s needed for GCA to do the best job they can, is for Greyhounds Australasia and individual states to make available all relevant tracking data – matings, whelpings and retirements.

Whole of life track is now the norm and re-homing has never been more accepted by the community but there still is an impasse on a collective strategy.

Welfare and industry support should be GA’s number one priority.

MATCHED

While national attention was on The Meadows for the inaugural running of The Phoenix, Wentworth Park’s match race series went the way of Zipping Kansas in a clash with Wow in a fast 29.46.

Supply and demand prevail in all aspects of business but punters are either a) lazy b) naïve c) ignorant or d) clueless when it comes to what Fixed Odds are on offer.

At The Meadows on Saturday, the TAB Phoenix Match Race saw Music Event prevail at $1.80 while Lala Kiwi SP’d at $1.50 thus 121 per cent – a profit of 21 per cent on a matched book while Betfair’s matched bets totalled $40,000 at 100.2 per cent.

The strangest outcome on the night was the capacity of Tabcorp offering an Exacta option in the two-dog Match Race!

The punters which took that ‘bait’ fall into the aforementioned a, b, c and d categories inclusively.

Responsible gambling is rammed at punters yet Tabcorp should be more responsible in their wagering options.