Do we have a leader?

THIS one snuck quietly by and I did not notice it at first. In the aftermath of the live baiting episodes GRNSW has just called for proposals for a review of education and training methods.

Coincidentally, this followed a March 19 recommendation in these columns for authorities to “set up expert studies into training techniques and practices.”

That’s good stuff and perhaps shows the benefit of introducing some new blood into the racing hierarchy – namely Paul Newson, the interim CEO of GRNSW. Of course, he is a public servant in real life but is so far showing he does not mind getting his hands dirty and initiating needed measures.

But more interesting is a small paragraph at the bottom of the announcement.

“The work should be in the form of a written report and involve a presentation of project findings to GRNSW, senior manager of interstate partner controlling bodies and Greyhounds Australasia.”

The reference to “senior manager” naturally means the CEOs of other state authorities. Consequently, Newson has obviously rounded up the troops and got their agreement to take part in the study, and its recommendations. That’s more good stuff.

Conventionally, these things tend to start with Greyhounds Australasia and end up six to twelve months later with wishy-washy outcomes, largely because that organisation has no power of its own and depends on each and every state having their own meetings and then often deciding to go different ways (which is why there are reams of paper devoted to printing local rules in each state).

Bypassing that process and cranking a project into action is a breath of fresh air.

However, it not only indicates considerable strength and diplomacy from Newson, but also points up the value of having a CEO who can actually run the show. At the same time it emphasises the benefits of not being forced to hang around until the board (i.e. a committee of management) spends heaven knows how long discussing the matter.

Boards of directors should never be involved in operational matters. Their value is in major policy and financial approvals, and in hiring and firing the CEO. That’s all.

Given Newson would have greater prestige and get paid much more in his day job he will not hang around forever. Even so, it is food for thought. Anyway, well done so far.

A passing note: The GRNSW study will pay someone $75,000 to do the work. This is nowhere near enough to do a proper professional job, given all the investigation and analysis that should go into it, and the national or international coverage that is needed. At best, the report will indicate areas which warrant a follow-up. So be careful.

Too tired – got a headache?

Well, the mercurial Tears Siam did it again in the 725-metre handicap race at The Meadows last Saturday. Anyone who can pick how this dog will run deserves a medal. This time it put in one of its better runs (although not its best). However, whether all the runners put in their best efforts is arguable. Consider here how the top five performed on Saturday, compared with the average and best of their previous five runs. All times are corrected for handicaps and different tracks.