How to sell greyhound racing – equality of the sexes

TENNIS is over for the moment with various views on the respective merits of the women’s and men’s finals.

Personally, for once I found the girl’s contest a more attractive one, not least because it was up against a more predictable match on the following night. Novak was never going to lose and so I preferred to watch the cricket rather than put up with the scruffy, cranky Scot he was up against. I have seen his tonsils too often to put up with them any more.

What it brings to mind is that greyhound racing is a near unique sport in that the boys and girls all race against each other. Roughly equal results ensue although post-racing income strongly favours the top male sires.

Amongst a hundred other features, that equality of the sexes should be part of the national promotion of the code – more so even than the thoroughbreds where females often get some preferences in the weights.

Readers might have ideas about what those other 100 features could be.

To put it all into practice, we need only to disband the ineffectual Greyhounds Australasia organisation and replace it with a meaningful and active National Racing Commission. Anyone vote for that?

TAB chickens coming home to roost

Fairfax’s Max Presnell, who knows where most bodies are buried, has paid homage to longtime Sydney gallops bookie, owner and breeder Col Tidy, often known as “Coogee Col” and part of the famous Coogee Bay hotel racing mob patronised by the heavy hitters (including sometimes by Michael McHugh, currently heading the Special Commission of Inquiry into greyhound racing).

Tidy recently died after a long illness.

Presnell tells us that some years ago Tidy wrote to him with a critical message. “Lack of vision by racing administrators and government advisers have (sic) been the ruination of the racing industry in NSW. The TAB, originally introduced to benefit racing, has now taken control. NSW has sold its soul by allowing privatisation”.

It can be argued that the TAB has brought with it many good features for everyday punters. However, when the chips are down a public company always votes in the interests of its shareholders, regardless of the wishes of the racing industry. Indeed, all the government-TAB packages effectively left so many gaps in the marketplace that they encouraged the birth of the Northern Territory bookmaking fraternity. Although they are now overseas-owned, every one of those was originally a southern state bookmaker who refused to put up with a lopsided regime at home.

Western Australia, with the last government owned TAB in the country, is supposedly in the throes of switching to privatisation.

(For interstate readers, Coogee and its beach are one step south of the better known Bondi. The hotel is owned by a bookie and also favoured by many footballers).

Provincials more interesting

It was a fascinating little race at Traralgon last Saturday night. A few extra dollars (and the absence of competing 600m races at The Meadows) had attracted some classier starters, including Star Recall which managed to shave some time off the existing 595m track record. The former WA racer, now in the care of Jeff Britton in Geelong, finished strongly in running 34.29.

Actually, Star Recall had led easily but the evergreen Sisco Rage (3) railed underneath it at the main turn and went to a comfortable lead in the back, with Nifty Neveelk pushing up on the rail as well. However Star Recall had no trouble picking them up in the run home. It seems that Star Recall must be marked down as a middle distance dog only these days.

Two interesting points: it is always surprising how some dogs maintain high speed on the turns while others can’t do it. Star Recall is in the latter group. It reminds you of days when that fine racer and sire, Lansley Bale, always ran better times at the tighter track at The Meadows than it could at Sandown. Conversely, powerful dogs like Awesome Assassin were pretty ordinary at The Meadows (and at Angle Park) but excelled over the longer straights at Sandown. Perhaps it’s the difference between left and right handed dogs?

Then the fertile imagination of our stewards claimed that “Star Recall (8) crossed to the rail on the first turn checking Nifty Neveelk (6) and Call Me Tickets (1)”. It did nothing of the sort. Star Recall certainly ran over to the rail but that had no effect on the other two dogs as it was well clear. Any interference at that point was caused by Call Me Tickets moving off at the turn.

A good point about the Traralgon track is that 525m runners get a pretty clear run to the first turn, no doubt helped by the wide positioning of the starting boxes, relative to the rail. From the judge onwards I suspect interference would be further reduced were the wide hooped lure in use, thereby encouraging some dogs to stay further off the track.

Still

10 days ago at Sandown Our Zayney Nash fractured its hock going around the first turn. It actually managed to finish the race a long last. But at least it survived. This continues the long line of similar queries about the track, or at least its first turn. Are these incidents the result of previous cracks in the bone or is it the high pressure generated on this particular turn? Or what?

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Past Discussion