The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

English and Irish greyhound racing conducts six dog events with an outside lure while box draws are seeded to mitigate interference.

Peter Davis

1 May 2022

ENGLISH and Irish greyhound racing conducts six dog events with and outside lure while box draws are seeded to mitigate interference.

Locally, and in New Zealand, wagering is driven by eight-dog fields and the randomness of a box draw creates has often seen incidents and accidents occur at box-rise.

On Anzac Day, the progressive folk in New Zealand conducted the country’s first meeting (at Addington in Christchurch) where the box draw was determined after trainers had advised of dogs Early Racing Traits.

Sixty dogs were nominated (with 47 contesting races) over 295m with six races being conducted by means of ERT with the opening race underscoring the day’s successful opening gambit.

Of the 47 drawn, 20 (43%) were deemed railers, 16 (34%), straight and 11 (23%) wide by trainers. No reserves were drawn in order to not compromise the integrity of the trial (a wide runner securing an inappropriate position).

Here’s the replay:

Not surprisingly, the stewards report asserted “No racing incidents to report”.

Such clean racing is a massive step forward regarding welfare and the accuracy of the trainers’ ERT assessment was that only seven dogs had their draw preference changed (being wide to very wide) following the meeting.

The GRNZ committee has seven categories for ‘grid’ positions being Determined Railer (DR), Railer (R), Straight Railer (SR), Straight (SS), Straight Wide (SW), Wide (W) and Extra Wide (XW).

Such was the accuracy of the trainers’ assessment of ERTs, only seven were amended by the GRNZ committee post racing, and two of those were from Wide (W) to Extra-Wide (XW).

The summary of the changes can be viewed here: https://www.grnz.co.nz/News/2831/PBD-Update

This coming week there will be nine 295m races run at Addington with seven being Preferential Box Draws, each at Class 1 – their lowest grade.

Box draws for the moment are conducted in a manual process yet, if fully embraced after this trial period, an automated function will follow.

Wagering was not disaffected by the preferential box draw yet a clearer wagering outcome will be at hand with a broader sample of events.

Good on the Kiwis! Greyhound Racing Victoria investigated a PBD process some time back but the ‘seedling’ concept failed to germinate let alone sprout a few green shoots.

It’s about time the collective CEO’s in each state got together and had a chat about this as it’s a waste of time trying to formulate a trial via Greyhounds Australasia.

MORE NEGATIVITY

Last week’s focus on the lack of advocacy shown by Greyhounds Australasia when lies, misrepresentations and or one-sided news is promoted by the media was highlighted quick smart.

In Perth, on Anzac Day, the main news bulletin on Channel 9 included an extremely one-sided and negative view of greyhound racing to the extent that the end play would be to ban the sport.

Channel 9 asserted that greyhounds WA was contacted for comment but refused same.

The facts are that an email was sent to GWA very late on Friday evening of a long weekend and no real opportunity was afforded to respond.

That tactic is tried and true by people who purport to give balance but the intention is invidious.

Soon after, Channel 10 followed with an agenda driven narrative which also failed the pub test of journalistic balance yet when the likes of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (and ‘election mode’ ups the ante) are involved, the idiom ‘there’s none so deaf as those who will not hear’ rings true.

Lies can only be thwarted by fact and strong resolve. GA should be the guardian of truth and provide the platform for a rigid and sound defense but it’s never been that.

Sadly, it functions merely a toll collector and let’s hope last Friday’s GA Board meeting in Adelaide had significant impetus for support and response to industry.

Rank and file participants are the victims and only Greyhound Clubs Australia has a plan moving forward and even their best efforts to secure support from GA was snubbed.

GET FAMILIAR

An interesting discussion point after Friday’s Million Dollar Chase semi final meeting was the perceived ‘gluey’ surface which, in general, many interstate aspirants failed to come to terms with.

Punters formulate a perspective for wagering on personal best times at tracks and on Friday, many dogs delivered (times and results) short of expectation.

Let’s not forget MDC favourite She’s A Pearl posted blazing sections in recording a career best 29.30 while Good Odds Cash (29.67) and Coast Model (29.69) where only just shy of PB’s but others struggled.

Both Gold Cup heat winners – Zipping Kansas and Super Estrella – posted times many lengths outside personal marks while, in the last MDC semi, Plaintiff (a winner at Sandown in 29.32) was cut down late and posted only 30.07 himself.

Interstate dogs seemed to struggle on this ‘unique’ surface and it was Groundhog Day for Ladies Bracelet and Bob Payne heat night just 24 hours later.

The highly promising McKeon Bale has won at The Meadows in 29.82 and has a handful of wins at Sandown in very smart times (incl 29.28 PB).

For perspective, former Melbourne sprinter Charlie’s Jar contested Race 10 at WP on Saturday and won in 29.93. The outing was his sixth at the track.

Had McKeon Bale ever met Charlie’s Jar in Melbourne, Charlie’s Jar would have been triple figures but at WP, he registered time that was 1 1/4 lengths faster than the highly promising youngster – while noting McKeon Bale did strike a little trouble.

No doubt Wentworth Park’s track was a safe racing surface and that’s a priority yet punting at WP might need to be treated like wagering on the horses when synthetic track-form (rather than grass) is in play.

CASHING IN

On Saturday, Frank Hurst will look to snare his second Million Dollar Chase with Good Odds Cash but there is a force of nature to oppose in She’s A Pearl.

In the Golden Easter Egg on April 9, She’s A Pearl had just on four lengths to spare over Good Odds and connections secured $55,000 for the runners-up position.

On Saturday in the Million Dollar Chase, the second placed greyhound will snare $100,000 which is well shy of the rule of thumb for black type events.

The MDC has yet to attain black type due to its recent inception but the winner’s reward is 83.68 per cent of the race’s total whereas Greyhound Clubs Australia has a guideline of 64 to 75 per cent for black type consideration.

In fact, MDC night is a mis-mash prizemoney-wise. The Bob Payne and Ladies Bracelet Final winners snare $25,000, there’s $5000 (or 20 per cent of first) for the runner-up and $3000 for third.

In the 720m Gold Cup, the winner is rewarded with $50,000 while the runner-up again banks $5000 (10 per cent) and third another $3000.

The 20 per cent runner-up ratio returns for the Maiden Final ($15,000; $3000; $1500) yet the MDC Consolation ($25,000; $7000, $4000) is another wild variation.

NSW prizemoney has improved dramatically over the past 12 months and promotion and marketing might swoon over winner’s purses but not every one wins and all need to survive for racing to prosper.

THER’YE BACK

After three months of only having Ipswich to race at in South East Queensland, a dried-out Albion Park resumes on Wednesday.

Trials were conducted over the weekend with 22.70 or thereabouts being posted by some performed dogs which had previously gone just a little quicker over 395m.

The track surface will certainly ‘bed down’ in the next 48 hours and work is continuing in the kennel precinct.

“Some fit-outs need to be completed but it’s really a cosmetic thing and that will be finished by Tuesday,” Brisbane Greyhounds Manager Luke Gatehouse said.

“The power to the track is still reliant on generators (in addition mains power) but mains power is available everywhere else.”

In other Queensland news, Racing Queensland has announced a Greyhound Retirement Readiness Scheme.

The scheme will provide a capped amount of reimbursement, up to $800 per greyhound, towards the cost of de-sexing, dental treatment, vaccination and pre-anesthetic blood tests for greyhounds that have been retired as pets.

RQ also has a Race Meeting Injury Scheme which covers all expenses (to $5500) for bone fractures; tendon injuries; and ligament injuries which varies from other state bodies.

In NSW, for example, a toe fracture is not covered and participants in NSW have been long frustrated by the significant delays in refunds from GRNSW and the appalling communications surrounding the refund process.

And in Queensland, the payment of veterinary costs needs not to be refunded if the greyhound resumes racing and that’s only recently changed in NSW.