Punters In The Weeds After Gardens Bungle

A starting mechanism malfunction at The Gardens on Thursday has parlayed into the most outrageous stewarding outcome, well, ever.

Peter Davis

26 May 2022

A starting mechanism malfunction at The Gardens on Thursday has parlayed into the most outrageous stewarding outcome since ‘tin hare’ racing was introduced to Australia by Frederick ‘Judge’ Swindell in 1927.

The 272m contest for Masters-aged dogs (four years and over) attracted a full field of eight with Mark Bell’s Go Wild Bella starting the popular elect.

Unfortunately, the trip mechanism (for the passing lure to open the boxes) failed and by the time they came up, the lure was all-but at the first turn – some 50 metres in front of leader Blue Highway.

At no stage was the lure within camera shot and broadcaster Phil Roberts immediately sounded a warning to punters: “the boxes have failed to open … so they’ve opened subsequently but the lure had gone considerably past the boxes.”

Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission stewards then considered the problem and inexplicably declared the contrast and fair race!

Greyhound racing’s National Rule 109 on lure position is:

(1) … the lure is to be controlled so that it is at all times positioned at a distance of not less than five metres and no greater than eight metres ahead of the leading greyhound.

(2) Following the running of an Event, the Stewards may permit a variance to the distance required by subrule (1) of this rule that occurred during an Event if satisfied that as a consequence of the variance no greyhound was advantaged or disadvantaged so as to affect the outcome of the Event. (3) If the Stewards are of the opinion that the outcome of an Event has been affected by the positioning of the lure, they may declare the Event to be a No Race.

GWIC Chief Steward Wade Birch said: “I did not see the race live and the meeting has not concluded yet an immediate, full debrief will take place.

“All meetings have a proper review and this will be no different. I will talk to the steward in charge as soon as the meeting has concluded and the Commission will make a statement thereafter.”

Such was the lack of intent to pursue the lure, four of the eight dogs, after the finishing line, speared towards the 400m boxes but no harm was done.

Punters were left bemused with the bizarre decision to declare this 272m scamper a fair contest.

What’s the point of having a rule set if they’re not acted on?