A Repeat Lesson – Don’t Do It

Dyna Willow started racing at 20 months of age and has just finished at 40 months. During that time she won quite a few good races but also lost many she might have won.

The bitch had two periods of highlights. The first was in November/December 2013 when she won three in succession at Sandown and Wentworth Park, the last two in very good time. Following that she put in two good runs over the 650m trip at Sale. The second batch of three in a row occurred in March/April 2014, all at Wentworth Park, also in good times.

Those aside, she won a few but lost a lot, never running quick times.

The saddest part of her career was the last bit – the 11 runs since (apparently) an enforced layoff between April and July this year. For the most part these were disappointing performances, save a single win at The Meadows in 42.58, itself an ordinary time. There was little spark in those runs, which no doubt indicated that retirement might be the best option. And so it has happened.

The major characteristic of her entire staying career (from August 2013 onwards) was that she was continually backing up at seven day intervals or close to it.

For a bitch of undoubted ability, it is strange that she did not win more often and was often beaten by big margins. What can we put this down to? Niggling injuries? Bad luck? Boredom? Physiologically spent?

Each may have played some part but the evidence strongly suggests the last is the dominant factor, not just because of her own experience but also because of similar careers of other stayers. Of all the stayers racing over the last 18 months only one can be said to have put in well in every race they competed in – Sweet It Is. Even then, Sweet It Is has improved somewhat since moving to a new kennel earlier this year. Every other stayer has been erratic, including Xylia Allen. Many previously good winners have followed up by just plodding around with the pack. That has to be due to the way they are built and the way they are placed in races.

Of course, the question that is impossible to answer is whether Dyna Willow would have been more successful had she raced less often? I would suggest most probably yes. That is sometimes hard to manage due the habit of authorities of scheduling heats and finals seven days apart yet it is something that impacts on both welfare issues as well as punters’ fortunes. Some also claim that over-racing affects breeding capability.

Now, for punters looking into the upcoming four heats of the Bold Trease over 715m at Sandown, consider these starting points. Of the 32 dogs drawn, 20 have raced in the last 8 days, 11 of those raced only 5 days ago. The other 12 last raced 10 or more days ago. The lucky finalists, if you can use that term, will have to do it again in another seven days. As for tips? No chance – too many imponderables and too many ordinary performers.

Fortunately, Sandown fans have got eight heats of the Melbourne Cup to spend time studying. They are full of classy dogs and will not be easy but at least you know the dogs will be raring to go.

BETTER TRACKS – OR MORE OF THE SAME?

Pictures are now available of works under way to build a replacement track at Traralgon, together with a new multi-facility building. The old premises looked out on a tri-code circuit, including a harness track which has now been deleted.

While no detailed plans have been published (why not?) club manager Hec Caruana comments that “It will be a big beautiful two turn track with plenty of versatility with its use. There will be five race distances (i.e. five sets of boxes), ranging from approximately 315 metres to 660 metres”.

Already, that offers two traditional suspects. First, the continuation of short course racing (ie 315m, which replaces the old 298m trip) panders to the wishes of trainers with crook dogs rather than to customers who invariably prefer longer races. Second, the 660m number appears to copy the middle distance trips constructed in recent times at Ballarat, Bendigo, Shepparton and Warrnambool, all with biased and disruptive bend starts. Neither is a good move.

It would be a saving grace if the 660m start were to be located in a shute off the track proper so as to reduce early interference – just as the gallops do. Limited examples of that approach are available at Canberra 600m and Northam 588m, seemingly with better outcomes. Anyway, that remains to be confirmed.

As for racing over the “shorts”, I hardly know what to suggest. They are a test of jumping ability alone and therefore add little to the sustainability of the breed. Customers, even mug punters, feel cheated when one comes up (many barely look at the distance to be covered) and want more bang for their buck. Yes, I realise many trainers ask for them. But why? Surely those dogs can be reasonably competitive over a 400m trip.

The flood of such events at Traralgon and nearby Cranbourne, as well as at Dapto, Grafton, Albion Park and even Wentworth Park is not helping the industry. Ditto for the awful 311m at the old Olympic Park. Note that Horsham and Warrnambool both got rid of their ultra-short trips – extending them to 410m and 390m respectively and getting plenty of starters – and I have not heard any great complaints about the changes. It’s up to GRV to lower the boom here.

Past Discussion

  1. Bruce you are obviously not good enough to tip winners in staying races and blame everything else but this fact. I’ll help you out. 
    Race 3 – Shall She Rock ideally suited out wide. Mepunga Tiara could lead early but is a few lengths short of its best. Double Rinse will finish very strongly.
    Race 4 – Only two winning chances with Flying Twist to lead and Sweet It Is barring massive interference will run it down in home straight.
    Race 9 – Zipping Maggie should land close to the bunny here. Dyna Kayla likes to get wide on the track so will give her room. Expecting Dyna Kayla to cause some early interference. Beks will be finishing strongest but Zipping Maggie to hold on. 
    Race 10 – Blinker’s On is clearly the best but interference can hold him up. Zipping Rory needs to get across to rail early but Mystic Twist and Starc will keep him wide. If he got to rail early he could give Blinker’s On a big fright but expecting Blinker’s On to find his way through and take this out.

  2. Bruce you are obviously not good enough to tip winners in staying races and blame everything else but this fact. I’ll help you out. 

    Race 3 – Shall She Rock ideally suited out wide. Mepunga Tiara could lead early but is a few lengths short of its best. Double Rinse will finish very strongly.

    Race 4 – Only two winning chances with Flying Twist to lead and Sweet It Is barring massive interference will run it down in home straight.

    Race 9 – Zipping Maggie should land close to the bunny here. Dyna Kayla likes to get wide on the track so will give her room. Expecting Dyna Kayla to cause some early interference. Beks will be finishing strongest but Zipping Maggie to hold on. 

    Race 10 – Blinker’s On is clearly the best but interference can hold him up. Zipping Rory needs to get across to rail early but Mystic Twist and Starc will keep him wide. If he got to rail early he could give Blinker’s On a big fright but expecting Blinker’s On to find his way through and take this out. 

  3. Not to detract from your point but 42.58 at The Meadows an ordinary time? Please, you do your credibility no favours with such dribble. It would be in the top 10-20 times ever recorded over that trip.

  4. Not to detract from your point but 42.58 at The Meadows an ordinary time? Please, you do your credibility no favours with such dribble. It would be in the top 10-20 times ever recorded over that trip.

  5. Trainers in this country today are the most skilled and educated people in the art of training greyhounds i’am sure they know when and how much to race there greys and don’t need a greyhound desk reporter making wild assumtions about how much racing a greyhound should or should not have to perform at its peak and by the way they don’t win every start there’s this thing called luck in running , bruce racing a fit greyhound and without injury every 5/ 7 days is nothing they thrive on running as any trainer knows , 1960/ 1970’s they used race 3 times in one day , getting there by train ,Not long ago in most states of Australia greyhounds started racing 13/14 months old puppy races zoom top started racing 15 months and won plenty ……..Bruce the wanna be trainer you best leave the training to the trainers and stick to reporting the facts ol mate

  6. Trainers in this country today are the most skilled and educated people in the art of training greyhounds i’am sure they know when and how much to race there greys and don’t need a greyhound desk reporter making wild assumtions about how much racing a greyhound should or should not have to perform at its peak and by the way they don’t win every start there’s this thing called luck in running , bruce racing a fit greyhound and without injury every 5/ 7 days is nothing they thrive on running as any trainer knows , 1960/ 1970’s they used race 3 times in one day , getting there by train ,Not long ago in most states of Australia greyhounds started racing 13/14 months old puppy races zoom top started racing 15 months and won plenty ……..Bruce the wanna be trainer you best leave the training to the trainers and stick to reporting the facts ol mate

  7. Jimmy what you say about the old days is correct. No argument there.
    The problem today is breeders are not breeding the durability of the dogs of those days. That’s why we see so many 300m squibs. 700m races week after week takes so much out of dogs and Bruce’s point of the 7 day back up does not suit some dogs over the staying trip.
    Times change, the breed has changed, training technique have changed.
    Bruce has been on this point all year and I find it a valid point worth thinking about.

  8. Jimmy what you say about the old days is correct. No argument there. The problem today is breeders are not breeding the durability of the dogs of those days. That’s why we see so many 300m squibs. 700m races week after week takes so much out of dogs and Bruce’s point of the 7 day back up does not suit some dogs over the staying trip. Times change, the breed has changed, training technique have changed. Bruce has been on this point all year and I find it a valid point worth thinking about.

  9. Davey I belive the decline in stout bloodlines is a direct result over inbreeding speed lines in this country which has produced to many speedy small skinny introvert shy squibs ……. agree but in saying that every greyhound can run 700m if trained right its just some will be faster than others .. just same as sprinters………… bruce has been making a point all year round about greyhounds backing up within 5/10 days according to he’s stat’s they don’t win so the trainer must be to blame ??? My vet tells me greyhounds peak at most up to 8 to 10 weeks straight then decline in condition a lull period till they pick up again ?? Trainers know when to race a fit dog and when to rest………… no top trainer go’s into a race event wanting to lose as for training technique’s not a lot has changed free gallop or drag lure up a straight is the main tech always has and always will be ..walking machines are just aids not complete trainer

  10. Davey I belive the decline in stout bloodlines is a direct result over inbreeding speed lines in this country which has produced to many speedy small skinny introvert shy squibs ……. agree but in saying that every greyhound can run 700m if trained right its just some will be faster than others .. just same as sprinters………… bruce has been making a point all year round about greyhounds backing up within 5/10 days according to he’s stat’s they don’t win so the trainer must be to blame ??? My vet tells me greyhounds peak at most up to 8 to 10 weeks straight then decline in condition a lull period till they pick up again ?? Trainers know when to race a fit dog and when to rest………… no top trainer go’s into a race event wanting to lose as for training technique’s not a lot has changed free gallop or drag lure up a straight is the main tech always has and always will be ..walking machines are just aids not complete trainer

  11. I notice he left Miata out of the consistency loop……. I agree as awesome as Xylia was she flopped a lot the week after a fast run where as for the most Miata came out n would in some cases go faster again… But I agree with what’s been said above we’ve lost a lot of strength and I truly do believe it’s due to a focus on speed breeding Ive currently been looking at a number of US options to gain some strength in my pups moving forward…..

  12. I notice he left Miata out of the consistency loop……. I agree as awesome as Xylia was she flopped a lot the week after a fast run where as for the most Miata came out n would in some cases go faster again… But I agree with what’s been said above we’ve lost a lot of strength and I truly do believe it’s due to a focus on speed breeding Ive currently been looking at a number of US options to gain some strength in my pups moving forward…..

  13. Bruce – I’m getting really tired of hearing you whine about jumps into a bend for greyhound racing. As an owner-trainer-punter-breeder I feel I am qualified to give you a rebuttal on this topic. Bend starts as messy as they are and they can be mightly annoying for trainers and owners in particular, are rarely if ever, career ending for the dogs. Contrast this to flying up a straight from the 500m boxes on most tracks and then bunching happens. Most significant crashes happen on the first bend up a straight and the results can be devastating. As annoying and unpredictable as the jump on bend is, I will take this anyday even as a punter over a straight into a sharp bend only to see the dog I backed smack into the fence and later get put down when I read the stewards report.

  14. Bruce – I’m getting really tired of hearing you whine about jumps into a bend for greyhound racing. As an owner-trainer-punter-breeder I feel I am qualified to give you a rebuttal on this topic. Bend starts as messy as they are and they can be mightly annoying for trainers and owners in particular, are rarely if ever, career ending for the dogs. Contrast this to flying up a straight from the 500m boxes on most tracks and then bunching happens. Most significant crashes happen on the first bend up a straight and the results can be devastating. As annoying and unpredictable as the jump on bend is, I will take this anyday even as a punter over a straight into a sharp bend only to see the dog I backed smack into the fence and later get put down when I read the stewards report.