Staying Bits And Pieces

In summation, comments about the habit of backing up dogs too quickly in staying races generally favour a ban on the practice. Some disagree, saying trainers know best or that past years contained dogs which could do it without a problem.

In reality, the evidence is not on the side of trainers “knowing best”. It reminds me of two stories. Once, after writing in another paper, a trainer was furious when I was critical of him racing a bitch on both Saturday and Monday, each over 720m at Wentworth Park (the racing dates were different then). He was cranky because he said he had stayed up all Saturday night massaging and caring for his dog to make sure it was in good nick. It failed the second time but the real point was that he would have no way of properly assessing the dog’s actual condition. Looks are one thing, the insides another.

And he missed the big point. Even if he knew, the dog’s fitness would still be a query in the minds of punters (and stewards), who should be the main priorities in these cases. After all, industry success rests on the public having confidence in trainers’ abilities and integrity.

The other example involved the practices of a veteran trainer in another state with a kennel of a dozen or so dogs, including one very smart and successful bitch. The good one never raced more than once a week. The others normally started at least twice a week, occasionally three times, nearly always running 6th, 7th and 8th. What was he seeking? Petrol money perhaps, but who knows?

As for old time dogs, I always remember a comment made by the late Bill Pearson. “They are not as robust as they used to be,” he said. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as there have been major shifts in breeding patterns since then, obvious even to an amateur like me. The follow-up question to that is “what are we doing about it?” Is it a good thing? If not, what might happen to the breed if nothing is done? Runners fading at the end of staying races is just one illustration.

Are Dogs the same as Humans?

The Wanderers soccer club, recently Asian Champions, has yet to win a match in the A-League, following what The Australian called “their recent murderous travelling and playing schedule”.

AFL and NRL teams are notoriously unable to show their best after a short 5-day break.

Also from The Australian.

“Acupuncturist Ross Barr … describes the body as running off two batteries: a general, day-to-day one and a reserve battery powered by the kidneys. You can charge the first one with good food, rest, sleep and a healthy lifestyle. But if you’re feeling run-down and don’t manage to refuel, then you can slip into the reserve battery. This is your adrenal system, which takes more than a bowl of pasta and a good night’s sleep to recharge”.

Vets might be able to convert that language to dog talk.

And a Note about old time Sporting Clubs

Roy Masters in The Australian, talking about a former top player and administrator.

“When John Quayle was a footballer, Sydney rugby league clubs were ruled by committees, consisting of ex-players, shoe sellers and railwaymen whose knowledge of geography was confined to the location of the boardroom fridge. Each committee was headed by a secretary who did all the work, while the others talked about him, absolving themselves from decisions made, telling all those standing around the bar, “It’s got nothing to do with me.” There was always someone plotting to depose the coach, while another leaked stories to the press”.

That movie about the Collingwood football club comes to mind.

Youngsters of Note

In yesterday’s second grade (provincial) Sandown meeting all ten of the 515m races, including the maidens, were won in times below 30 sec. The best was 29.33 (Vapour Lee) which would have won five of the eight Melbourne Cup heats on the previous Thursday.

The future promises much.

Stewards Report, The Meadows, 15 November

Race 7
“Dyna Synch (7) crossed to the rail approaching the first turn checking Polly Bale (6)”.

No – never touched. Dyna Sync actually moved a little to the right at the jump, leaving plenty of room for Polly Bale to do as it wished.

Race 8
“Dyna Geldof (8) crossed to the rail approaching the first turn checking Jordan Allen (7), Quantum Bale (6) and Maximum Lil (5)”.

Gross exaggeration. Jordan Allen was actually bearing left at the start, hampering Quantum Bale, but still led Dyna Geldof in the run to the post so the latter could not have “crossed” it. Dyna Geldof overtook it only going around the turn. (Strange price, though. Dyna Geldof was always likely to lead so 33/1 was big overs. On the other hand, $1.30 for Size Does Matter was ridiculously short given that it was never likely to lead. Who did all that?).

This looks like more guesswork from the stewards as they watch from behind the boxes – not a good viewing spot.