An amazing thing has just happened. Ozchase, fathered by GRNSW out of GWA, has just altered its standard formguide layout to suit an individual customer.
Racing Queensland, following complaints from its own customers, asked Ozchase to improve the layout because people were finding it too hard to read the tiny print. After some dollars changed hands, Ozchase IT experts deleted some items and then were able to enlarge the print and it now looks good on the screen.
Unfortunately that’s as far as it goes. When you print out the meeting – minimum two full pages to a race – you find that the bigger print does not make it through, at least not on this writer’s system. It is exactly the same as it always was – tiny and near unreadable.
So, will this satisfy the Queenslanders? Probably not. It all boils down to how people use the computer-driven service. How many just want to check it on-screen and how many want to print something to take away with them? No doubt there are a lot of both types but we suspect many would want to take a formguide with them to the meeting or the TAB, or even get hold of one when they get there. In those cases they would need to take a magnifying glass with them, which is hardly practicable.
The same problem applies to races in NSW and the other three states which rely on Ozchase formguides. In total the guides are barely useful for lookers and much less so for genuine users (ie customers).
The Queensland evidence merely reinforces some home truths. NSW did not road test the program before putting it into service. Nor did Queensland authorities before agreeing to join the Ozchase push. Those are basic management errors. The outcome is that four out of five Australian greyhound supporters are discouraged or disadvantaged. What should be a key promotional tool turns out to be hard work.
The original source of the problems lay in the fact that fact that GNSW outsourced the design job some years ago to people who were allegedly expert in racing matters. In fact, following several interchanges with those people, I learnt they were not expert at all. In turn, the vast majority of users they surveyed about formguides were trainers (culled from GRNSW records). Now, while trainers obviously have an interest, 20 years of experience with many hundreds of users of form programs tells me that they essentially do little more than glance through them. It is rare to find one who actually studies or analyses the information in the way a serious punter might.
But, to look at the big picture, why is GRNSW so secretive about the job they do? Why make it hard to view or download the detailed information? And why have other states subscribed to a third rate system? After all, their job is to progress the industry on behalf of the public, particularly those who directly support greyhound racing, and who pay their wages. Yet they have done the opposite.
While on this subject, be alert to claims by racing authorities about the thousands of “hits” they get on their websites. No doubt that is true but there is a world of difference between lookers and users. “Users” are the people who process the information and then bet and boost the code’s income. “Lookers” are doubtful quantities at best.
Ozchase may well have proven useful for some back office functions but for formguide and race results it is a disaster. It needs a complete overhaul. Back to scratch and start again.
There is an irony is all this. GWA previously had one of the best formguides available. It ditched that in favour of the Ozchase option. Can you believe it?
WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT
Of course there will be a thousand opinions about the selections for the TOPGUN but surely the media release should have nominated who made them. All we know is that it was done by a “panel”.
In fact, there is a lot of historical rather than current form behind these selections. For instance, my view is that a single Group win does not make a champion. Any race, big or small, is heavily influenced by luck in the box draw and luck in running. What counts most are repeated top performances
As I write, Keybow has not raced for two months, which itself creates a poser, and it was erratic then. Four others have not raced for a month. Flash Reality has a fine record at Albion Park but has never won outside of Queensland and the Northern Rivers TAB-tracks. In fact it has never raced anywhere else except for two failures – one each at Dapto and in the Nationals at Cannington. Oakvale Destiny won in a restricted entry big race but is unlikely to match motors in this class, much as it fell short in the Adelaide Cup, mainly because of tardy starts. On the other hand, My Bro Fabio, which is a recent record breaker and in great form, only made the reserves? Very odd.
All told, with four states represented, it looks more like an up and down National Championship field.
What are the chances? Arguably, the slightly better runners are boxed outside so victory at the tricky Meadows track will probably depend on luck going into the first turn. Wide boxes never help there. However, I am suspicious of any dog which has not raced recently, so we will have to wait and see.