People aren’t getting the message: most greyhounds don’t back-up

WHILE we have been on record for over a year now about the constant over-racing of stayers, the problem is not limited to that category.

Not long ago Geelong stewards cautioned Jenny Hunt, trainer of Dyna Malaise, about its high frequency efforts over sprint trips. Last Friday, they might well have tried again as Gracas King, the upcoming boom sprinter, now in the care of Jason Thompson, nicked out in front of the field in a Grade 5 over 460-metres. Sadly, as a $2.30 favourite, it gradually faded into 3rd place, over two lengths behind the winner in a fairly average 25.86.

Following a brilliant start to its career at Maitland, Gracas King moved to Victoria and had previously won over the Ballarat and Shepparton 450-metres trips in really smart times, leading all the way, so the favouritism was reasonable.

Was there a problem this time? Maybe. It had raced only four days earlier at Shepparton and five days before that at Ballarat. Too much of a good thing? Going on its Geelong run, that looked to be the case, but we may never know.

However, that episode was nothing compared with the unbelievable effort by Greyhound Racing Victoria, the Sandown club and 16 trainers to run a heat and final of a 5th Grade 715-metres series on the 12th and 16th of April – only four days apart.

Commonly, most of these dogs cannot handle a seven day break, let alone four days, as we have demonstrated repeatedly over the last year or so. It matters little whether they are 5th Graders or top class stayers.

So what happened in the final? Well, two of them were involved in a fight but were well back at the time. One improved – Destini Shadow – but it was not a fair comparison as it had come out very badly in the heat and barely managed to get into 4th spot to qualify for the final. The others ran between one and eight lengths slower time except for Mo Town San, which improved by one length. The $2.20 favourite, Why Not Wayne, ran 0.39s or six lengths slower although it led clearly in both heat and final, fading in the latter. The final winner, Feikuai Polly, ran two lengths slower.

There was nothing wrong with the track, quite the reverse, judging by Fernando Bale’s great 29.10 run and other very smart times.

All in all, it was a dog’s breakfast for punters and a big risk for the dogs involved.

More importantly, what on earth were all these people thinking in the current industry climate? To play Russian Roulette with their dogs’ health when the name of greyhound racing is under threat must be the dumbest practice seen in decades. And what of the supervision of the racing authority? It makes a mockery of the all the waffle about welfare.

Going further afield, what can we expect when Space Star and company step out next Saturday in the final of the 720-metres Gold Cup at Wenty? Will it be a repeat of the heat and final a few weeks ago when it ran 41.71 in the heat and 42.09 in the final – a six lengths drop? Probably. The trick will be whether Sweet It Is can avoid trouble for once and put some real pressure on it. Sweet It Is is one of those rare exceptions to the rule in that it is able to back up well after a seven day break.

There is an answer to this conundrum, as well as other challenges such as designing better racetracks. That is to commission genuine studies, done by independent professionals, to establish the real facts and the likely reasons for better or worse outcomes. The age-old practice of relying on trial and error, “the trainer knows best” or a wet finger can no longer be tolerated in the modern age.

Incidentally, going back to the Geelong track mentioned above, please note the high number of occasions when the stewards report includes the phrase “ran wide in the home straight”. There is nothing new about this as it has been going on ever since the new track was built. The logical conclusion is that the camber is wrong, which should be easy to fix.

Just by the way, recently I paid one of my infrequent visits to a track (who needs to do that these days?). At Gosford, a walk-around suggested it has quite a good camber everywhere, especially around the home turn where flattening often occurs.. The first turn is no good and the 400-metres and 600-metres boxes are badly sited, but the camber is excellent. Viewing is hampered by the lack of height and the absence of a grandstand, making it hard to pick out runners in the back straight. So, like many, I found it easier to use one of the many monitors inside the trainers’ lounge. Members of the public were noticeably in short supply, perhaps because the club never advertises and it now takes you an extra few minutes to locate the track entrance. (Note: I live 15 minutes’ walk from the track).

Back to the big picture, the inference is that both authorities and clubs are paying little attention to the cause and effect of race interference. Some of that is due to wayward, or even over-raced, dogs but a great deal is a direct result of poorly laid out tracks and is controllable. To pretend it is not happening likens the problem to previous attitudes to live baiting.

More Stewards Errors

The Meadows, Race 3, 19 April.

“Earl Bale (8) crossed to the inside soon after the start checking Zipping Eastwood (7), Ride The Rails (6), Gunmetal Rebel (5), Quicker Than Al (4) and Satsuki Bale (3).”

Checking five dogs? Rubbish! It never happened. All the “checked” dogs did their own checking. Earl Bale whizzed around the lot of them.

And then

Speaking of recording errors, as we did a few days ago, the Wentworth Park dividends posted on the Ozchase (GRNSW) website for last Saturday were wrong – every single one of them.

Past Discussion

  1. I would have hoped by now being 100 years old and probably following racing for a while you could read a race properly.

    It
    had nothing to do with backing up. His only run over longer than 400m
    was the win at Ballarat which was in a fast time leading all the way. He
    did not get a soft lead. He likes to work off the track. Unfortunately
    for him SHARED BONUS kept hampering him the entire way. It wanted the
    rail, and GRACAS wanted off and none of them gave in an inch meaning
    they exhausted each other out while ELFEN BALE mind his own business on
    the rail. After all that he was expected to fade the last bit after
    having a battle to race the whole way. Other races he accelerates to the
    lead and solo trials..That race he had to absorb pressure. Dont make up
    stuff again please.

  2. I would have hoped by now being 100 years old and probably following racing for a while you could read a race properly.

    It had nothing to do with backing up. His only run over longer than 400m was the win at Ballarat which was in a fast time leading all the way. He did not get a soft lead. He likes to work off the track. Unfortunately for him SHARED BONUS kept hampering him the entire way. It wanted the rail, and GRACAS wanted off and none of them gave in an inch meaning they exhausted each other out while ELFEN BALE mind his own business on the rail. After all that he was expected to fade the last bit after having a battle to race the whole way. Other races he accelerates to the lead and solo trials..That race he had to absorb pressure. Dont make up stuff again please.

     

  3. Seriously Bruce, you dishing out training advice to Jason Thompson and the like is like Oprah handing out diet tips to Kate Moss.

  4. Seriously Bruce, you dishing out training advice to Jason Thompson and the like is like Oprah handing out diet tips to Kate Moss.

  5. the worst trainers are victoria most dogs dont run two racers alike mostly because there usually two days apart and no one can see that the dogs are sore let alone check them over for injuries

  6. the worst trainers are victoria most dogs dont run two racers alike mostly because there usually two days apart and no one can see that the dogs are sore let alone check them over for injuries

  7. Worst trainers are Victorian? Let me think…I’m pretty sure Robert and Jeff Britton,Dailly,Greenough, Thompson, Vassallo,Ennis etc etc go alright with a dog lol

  8. Worst trainers are Victorian? Let me think…I’m pretty sure Robert and Jeff Britton,Dailly,Greenough, Thompson, Vassallo,Ennis etc etc go alright with a dog lol

  9. You are kidding Nicholas Vivian. The Victorian trainers are world class and would hold their own against anybody from any era.

  10. You are kidding Nicholas Vivian. The Victorian trainers are world class and would hold their own against anybody from any era.

  11. How many greyhounds have you trained bruce. A super fit dog recovers in 24 hours zoom top had 136 starts for 68 wins over all dist’s in 14 months and was rated the greatest greyhounds of all time .a dog has a very fast metabolism , has pups in 9 weeks a greyhounds body that has had a perfect cellular reproduction course has enough stored energy levels to sustain it.there are many underlying reasons why a greyhounds times and performances vary from week to week and by the way the fawn flash was born with a super metabolism that allowed her to endure such a wonderful career .she handled all tracks alike.

  12. How many greyhounds have you trained bruce. A super fit dog recovers in 24 hours zoom top had 136 starts for 68 wins over all dist’s in 14 months and was rated the greatest greyhounds of all time .a dog has a very fast metabolism , has pups in 9 weeks a greyhounds body that has had a perfect cellular reproduction course has enough stored energy levels to sustain it.there are many underlying reasons why a greyhounds times and performances vary from week to week and by the way the fawn flash was born with a super metabolism that allowed her to endure such a wonderful career .she handled all tracks alike.

  13. rob tyler if you had any idea about training dogs peter daperin would of been in your list i think he one of a very few that are good trainers

  14. rob tyler if you had any idea about training dogs peter daperin would of been in your list i think he one of a very few that are good trainers

  15. Sid Swain I get so pissed off with these keyboard warriors that are quick to lecture but haven’t got one iota of hands on experience with greyhounds. Stick to having a bet Bruce and leave the training to the experts-seeing you know the reasons why the dogs aren’t performing I’d imagine you live in Vaucluse and drive a Ferrari- then again….

  16. Sid Swain I get so pissed off with these keyboard warriors that are quick to lecture but haven’t got one iota of hands on experience with greyhounds. Stick to having a bet Bruce and leave the training to the experts-seeing you know the reasons why the dogs aren’t performing I’d imagine you live in Vaucluse and drive a Ferrari- then again….

  17. Tell me Steve. How many greyhounds are whelped each year in Australia? How many make it on the track?  How many are euthanased?  If you can answer those three questions, then we can talk. If you can’t you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about and aren’t worth giving the time of day to.