The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

The WA Government’s decision to not allow non-vaccinated people has parlayed into RWWA introducing a local rule regarding vaccination from February 5.

Peter Davis

16 January 2022

The McGowan’s Government’s decision to not allow non-vaccinated people to do much more than shop for essential items in WA has parlayed into Racing and Wagering Western Australia introducing a local rule regarding vaccination for all three racing codes with is operational from February 5.

The local rule has had immediate impact with premiership winning trainer (and leading owner) Dave Hobby deciding to walk away from greyhound racing.

The RWWA rule mandates that all licensed persons at racetracks must be vaccinated and Hobby, given personal health issues, has not been vaccinated and has no intention of being vaccinated.

Hobby has commenced the dispersal of all race dogs which include Cannington 600m record holder Mambo Monelli, the promising Chestnut Monelli while the Mike and Michelle Quinsee-owned team which Hobby prepares is also being sold or placed elsewhere.

Such are the numbers involved in work at Monelli Park, some quality performers (which might not be sold) will need to move to interstate as many WA trainers have the ‘house full’ sign up.

At Cannington on a Saturday, Hobby regularly had up to 10 and as many as 16 greyhounds engaged and his departure will leave a void.

Hobby in 2021 won 344 races in WA and $1,886,3783 with a remarkable 19 per cent winning strike rate while 51 per cent of his 1809 starters were place.

Twelve months earlier, the Nambeelup-based veteran won 372 races and $1,802,577 at 22.4 per cent win ratio and both seasons do not include the generous WestCha$e breeders’ bonuses.

Short term, it’s expected that the show will go on with young pups to be educated and saplings being pre-trained but the February 5 mandate looms large.

Outside Hobby’s control is the transportation of greyhounds whether they have been sold or relocated for racing. Flights are constrained by Covid restrictions and the exodus will be a work in progress.

THE WEEK AHEAD

The only real winner in the world of litigation are lawyers yet one betting brouhaha which has the portents of a legal ‘stink’ will make news in coming days.

A substantial six figure sum was snared last week by a punter who started the day with a greyhound bet – the first leg of a treble (another greyhound bet then a horse racing leg to finish up) and another double.

The opening leg saluted at $8 and the second at $1.22 yet the double was quickly resulted as single wager with the first leg cancelled after the running on the race. Leg three prevailed at $1.90.

No contact was made by the bookies to the punter.

The bet was not settled to his satisfaction and their customer service team soon had the firm’s principal on the ‘blower’.

The explanation (by the bookie) was that the wrong price had been offered.

Just how a bet is cancelled after the event goes beyond the pale and dutiful punter has the matter being investigated by regulator.

Human error might be in order here yet fair play would have been to contact the punter before the race and cancellation after the fact seems dodgy to say the least.

The way this was handled, a sceptic’s view would be that the punter had no prospect of success. A win was to be refunded, a loss providing free-hit for bookie!

The next seven days will be interesting.

THE MOCCASIN AFFECT

The Paws Of Thunder, National Derby and National Futurity in NSW and the Golden Ticket series at Albion Park hold attention at black type level yet another (off track) battle looms in rural Victoria.

Come February 4, the Horsham Greyhound of the Year will be announced and the winner – via a point score – was Banjo Bert.

Prior to the 2021 racing season, Banjo Bert was in the care of trainer Gary Harding and in November 2020, Harding was deemed to have an inappropriate ‘lure’ at his property – an old, moss-covered moccasin which had sat on a water tank for some time.

Greyhound Racing Victoria’s inspectors confiscated the moccasin and an inquiry was opened.

Now, 14-plus months later, Harding’s fate is about to be decided yet the Horsham Club has ruled that Banjo Bert is ineligible for the GOTY due to Harding’s circumstance.

Incredibly, Banjo Bert was not on the property in November 2020 (when the moccasin was removed) and could not have been ‘schooled’ on the footwear.

The Horsham Club was unaware of the removal of the said moccasin and, with facts in hand, it’s expected that the GOTY decision will be reviewed.

That aside, why does it take 14 or more months to get this matter determined?

Such delays are not fair on participants and why such trivial matters cannot be resolved in a timely manner needs to be addressed.

The delay causes anxiety and uncertainty and the delays on integrity issues are not constrained to GRV.

LET’S TALK

Social media lit up on Thursday when a bill put out for public consultation by the Department of Primary Industries following their discussion paper last year caught breeders’ gaze.

Part of the DPI’s proposal in their prohibited and restricted procedures (for all animals) includes “surgical artificial insemination on a dog”.

https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/1324948/NSW-Animal-Welfare-Reform-Discussion-Paper.pdf

If the draft bill is passed by parliament and becomes law, frozen insemination would be banned.

The bill is designed to replace the Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act yet the banning of surgical artificial insemination will destroy greyhound breeding in NSW if instituted.

The Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission, Greyhound Racing NSW, the NSW TAB Club’s Association and the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers’ Association are making submissions to the DPI and individual breeders should also make themselves heard.

It’s not too late to act and the Govt (again) needs to hear the collective greyhound community’s voice.

A State election is just over 14 months away and, surely, the Perrottet team can’t afforded another pitched battle with greyhound racing participants.

SHELLING OUT

The Christmas break and the impact of Covid-19 on supply chains resulted in severe shortages pet food (all proteins) in the past week.

Not only was red meat in short supply, poultry processing was hindered by process workers being unavailable and prices have sky quickly escalated.

Add in ever increasing price of fuel and the recent prizemoney increases are soon diluted.

In NSW, the third tier of prizemoney increases are about to hit the deck.

Country and provincial returns have shot up and, now, the cash at Wentworth Park, from February 1, gets a boost.

Maybe, the next time an increase is investigated, it will be a travel subsidy of sorts.

At present, NSW trainers yet $60 for the first runner engaged at a meeting and $30 thereafter. A ‘kinder’ option would be to make it $50 across the board and

THE WINDS OF CHANGE

The February 1 NSW prizemoney increase is good news yet on a national level, the change in racing rules (from Greyhounds Australasia) have participants concerned.

On face value, it seems as though any product not registered with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) will be a banned substance in greyhound racing.

Interestingly, Orobolin – an approved oestrus suppressant for greyhounds – does not have APVMA approval but it is able to be administered via an exemption under GA’s rules.

Despite the welfare positivity, Tvati Oil is yet to attain APVMA clearance and would need to secure an exemption to be used by trainers from February 1.

What GA needs to disclose, in plain English, is a list of prohibited and allowable substances as a guideline.

Are retail products (vitamins, liniments etc) APVMA approved and therefore usable?

What are the proposed disciplinary elements (fines/suspension/DQ) of the use of non APVMA products and are they considered permanently banned substances?

Is a home-made liniment (recipes abound online) no longer usable? Can an olive oil/liniment mixed rub be still used?

In just two weeks, the rules will be in place and trainers deserve some answers from GA.