The Sunday Afternoon "Finish On"

In South East Queensland and the NSW Northern Rivers, Mother Nature’s persistent rain incidents have been unkind for some months.

Peter Davis

22 May 2022

IN South East Queensland and the NSW Northern Rivers, Mother Nature’s persistent rain incidents have been unkind for some months.

Epic flood damage sees the city of Lismore a long way from rectification while there’s very little chance greyhound racing will return to Coleman’s Point.

Albion Park and Capalaba were also devastated but have returned to the fold while Ipswich was conscripted to race seven days a week and, now, that stress has parlayed into Ipswich having two meetings cancelled in just five days.

The annual Ipswich Show curtailed racing (on May 15 as programmed) and staff, which have dealt with the ‘show traffic’ year after year had only two days to reinstate the racing surface. In previous years – without the water table being at its peak – that’s been comfortably completed.

Tuesday, May 17 was different – very different.

A little less than 30 minutes prior to kennelling, the meeting was canned by stewards citing an unsafe racing surface.

How can participants in SEQ be treated so poorly? The communication between the club, Racing Queensland and the Racing Integrity Commission was zero in effectiveness and the respect shown to owners and trainers is non-existent.

Group 1 winning trainer Tony Brett was bitterly disappointed on how Tuesday’s fiasco played out.

“The Show is on every year and the staff (at Ipswich) have always dealt with it but the disdain shown to participants makes me angry,” Brett said.

“It is tough to get trial sessions in this region (let alone race) and this meeting was called off after everyone has arrived at the track.

“I had owners coming down from the Sunshine Coast and, just on 90 minutes into their trip, I told them to turn around and go home.

“I get the underlying water issue but this should have been addressed by RQ and RQIC Stewards on Monday or very early Tuesday morning.

“The dogs have missed a start and the nominations for Ipswich on Friday closed before the Tuesday meeting was abandoned … just how do we keep dogs race-fit with so little opportunity (to trial or race)?”

So, Tuesday passes and, after long discussions, the trusted comment from RQ and QRIC suggested “this won’t happen again” yet, come Saturday, history repeated itself.

Again, heavy rain conspired to have the Ipswich track’s surrounds waterlogged and working on the track (to make it race ready) only exacerbated the sloppy nature of the surface.

Such was the downpour, Doomben’s gallops were postponed (to Wednesday) and Capalaba’s Sunday meeting was cancelled at 2pm on Saturday.

A window of no racing for five days after the 2023 Ipswich Show has been put in place but there’s more to fix than just that.

Safety and welfare is at the forefront of these cancellations but the comms and timing gets zero out of 10. Just why an early call on Capalaba was possible but not at Ipswich questions whether RQ and QRIC can get this right.

This racing game needs to be conducted with mutual respect and, right now, Queensland participants are copping the rough end of the pineapple.

WHAT LIES AHEAD?

Greyhound racing’s strong position in the wagering marketplace, jobs, economic impact, community engagement and vastly improved welfare outcomes represents a strong augment that the code is flying.

The downside is the political climate which will next be tested on November 26 with the Victorian State Election.

No doubt the ‘greenest’ state in the commonwealth, Victoria polling day may prove to be a watershed time for racing – not just greyhound racing.

Activists are careless with facts and they will double down next time to force a possible minority government to bow to their wishes.

What needs to be in place is a strong, factual, cohesive and effective campaign to thwart the negative narrative which will come.

Just who fights that battle? Greyhounds Australasia’s historical lack of advocacy and operational agility makes it ineligible but the battle looming is real and the time to act is now.

NO DATA

A prime example of the inefficiencies at GA was highlighted by the data blackout which hit media outlets on Wednesday.

Greyhound Racing Victoria is a conduit for race fields to media outlets and an expired digital certificate was not able to be reinstated until Saturday.

The void had newspapers unable to carry race fields and websites (like the Greyhound Recorder) were unable to secure data whatsoever.

Surely the poor functionality of GA is the final straw. Wagering will have surely been disaffected and that cost will affect the income streams for all three codes.

Time has come for GA’s Board to stop navel gazing and act so that advocacy and not so trivial issues such as data supply is professionally handled.

HANG ON A SEC!

A good deal of angst has circulated late last week regarding a standardised lure purported to have been thrust on trainers in Victoria by GRV.

Calls to GRV’s Chetwynd Street bunker found that decision makers have yet to tick off on the likelihood of the bizarre-looking lure being substituted for the ‘squeakers’ which trainers educate pups with.

No doubt a discussion is being had about lures but nothing (I’m advised) is set in stone and full industry consultation will be undertaken before change is (possibly) made.

DREAM ON

The gathered throng at Cannington on Wednesday might not have been Perth Cup Final like yet place was rocking after Our Dream Girl won her maiden (at start two) over 520m.

The youngster is owned by the Our Dream To Chase syndicate which is 30-strong and 27 of the owners were trackside to see the gritty performance first hand.

Living The Dream: Our Dream Girl’s delighted connections.

Having just turned 19 months of age, Our Dream Girl has plenty of upside. Her reliable box manners and tractability stands her in good stead for an imminent rise in class.

Not only is Our Dream Girl talented, she’s got Dave and Christine Robartson applying the polish and could not be in better care.