We will tell you what’s good for you

I QUOTED billionaire Warren Buffet the other day when he warned about “arrogance, bureaucracy and complacency” in business. Here’s one reason why I did that.

Welcome to the new, updated Tabcorp racing website. It arrived without warning on the morning of March 3. It also appears to have been developed without any dialogue with punters or any road testing of its content.

It contains easier access to each dog’s form, which is fine if you have nothing else. However, you might suspect it has followed a pattern developed in NSW where wall sheets are produced by the Daily Form Service under contract to Tabcorp. In short, it is based on thoroughbred criteria, many of which are inappropriate for greyhounds. Here are the highlights.

1. There is no sectional information.

2. A narrative comment is posted below each dog’s form but this is no more than a worded version of the data on the formline. A waste of space.

3. Career data is shown as 31:7-17 meaning 7 wins and 17 places. The industry convention is to show the number of Wins, Seconds and Thirds.

4. Track codes are different to those commonly used by racing authorities.

5. Boxes for reserves getting a run are not shown.

6. It offers finishing positions for the last 20 starts, which is largely useless information. Reasonably current form is what counts.

7. Dog’s ages are shown as 2 yr, 3 yr, etc, which is not helpful as, for example, a given dog could be 2 years and no months or 2 years and 11 months – a world of difference.

8. It provides data for performances “First up” and “Second up”, which is a guide often used for horses but which is less relevant for dogs. The time gap used to derive this info is not shown.

9. It includes SKYFORM selections and ratings (100-95-90, etc) which experience shows to be hopelessly unreliable and often irrational. The tea lady could do better.

10. As reported here the other day, results pages no longer include pool sizes or starting prices, thereby denying customers of an important perspective. Those figures are available prior to the start of the race but vary hugely in the last minute or so.

11. For the moment, old results pages are accessible by going to Results>Previous Results>Previous Website. You must answer Yes to a question asking if you want to do this. If you do, you can then obtain all the starting prices and pool sizes. How long this facility will continue is unknown.

12. Accessing information like scratchings requires the viewer to scan each race page, one at a time, and toggle down and back to obtain all the info. The previous single page per meeting option has disappeared.

13. The option of selecting NSW or Victorian prices has also disappeared. We now do not know which set is being posted and obviously cannot make comparisons.

All this has the hallmarks of a system devised in an ivory tower somewhere.

Both right and wrong?

Stewards Report, Race 8, Sandown 5 March

“Stewards spoke to Mr. G Dailly, the trainer of the greyhound Allen Deed regarding the greyhounds racing manners on the first turn. Allen Deed was vetted following the event. It was reported that the greyhound sustained a sore neck injury, a 5 day stand down period was imposed. Acting under GAR 69(B)(1), the stewards charged Allen Deed with failing to pursue the lure with due commitment (by reason of injury). Mr. G Dailly pleaded not guilty to the charge, Allen Deed was found guilty and stewards directed that the greyhound perform a Satisfactory Trail (all tracks) pursuant to GAR 69(B)(a), before any future nomination will be acepted (Sic).”

First – on the first turn – Allen Deed did what literally thousands of dogs have done before him. From his course near the rail he stepped to the right. This is a peculiarity generated by the track itself, not just by dogs which, like Allen Deed, prefer to race in the centre of the track. In the past, I have often termed it the “Sandown Two-step”. It is a design fault.

Second – “failing to pursue the lure” is rubbish. The dog did chase at every stage of the race. He just did it awkwardly, whether due to the injury or not.

Third – the way it performed suggests that it may well be suffering from a chronic problem (neck or otherwise) that affects it more on some occasions than others. (Its performances last August were infinitely worse than last Thursday but attracted no comment).

Fourth – a holiday may be a good thing but only so long as the time is devoted to finding out what is wrong with the dog. The Daillys should line up a string of muscle men and dog whisperers to work until they identify the real problem. This is a wonderful greyhound and a crowd pleaser and so deserves pulling out all the stops.

But it was a pity that these goings-on detracted from the marvellous run by My Bro Fabio to win the race in 29.29. This dog has amazing strength in the second half of a race but it was also noticeable how it maintained its fast pace throughout the second turn. A lot of dogs can’t do that. This and many other runs make you wonder how a selection panel ever could have left it out of the last Topgun field.

APOLOGIES to fans of old time music hall, radio and movie stars, as well as baseball followers. In haste, in an early version of the last article, I wrongly assigned the famous Who’s On First skit to Laurel and Hardy. It was, of course, Abbott and Costello, as an alert reader pointed out. For my penance, I have written out here the full script (which did vary from time to time).

Abbott: You throw the ball to first base.

Costello: Then who gets it?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: Now you’ve got it.

Costello: I throw the ball to Naturally.

Abbott: You don’t! You throw it to Who!

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: Well, that’s it—say it that way.

Costello: That’s what I said.

Abbott: You did not.

Costello: I said I throw the ball to Naturally.

Abbott: You don’t! You throw it to Who!

Costello: Naturally.

Costello: Now I throw the ball to first base, whoever it is drops the ball, so the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What. What throws it to I Don’t Know. I Don’t Know throws it back to Tomorrow—a triple play.

Abbott: Yeah, it could be.

Costello: Another guy gets up and it’s a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don’t know. He’s on third, and I don’t give a darn!

Abbott: What was that?

Costello: I said, I DON’T GIVE A DARN!

Abbott: Oh, that’s our shortstop!

The identity of the writer has been disputed, which may also turn out to be true of the myriad of authors of the schemozzle which is overwhelming racing in Queensland.

Past Discussion

  1. I’m sure the Dailys will take your tip as they are obviously inexperienced. Oh that’s right they are pretty well the leading trainers in Victoria.
    Oh and the incompetent track vet found a neck injury, but with your university degree in Vet medicine, you diagnose a more cronic injury via a sky channel monitor. You’re amazing !!!!!

  2. I’m sure the Dailys will take your tip as they are obviously inexperienced. Oh that’s right they are pretty well the leading trainers in Victoria.

    Oh and the incompetent track vet found a neck injury, but with your university degree in Vet medicine, you diagnose a more cronic injury via a sky channel monitor. You’re amazing !!!!!

  3. On the tab site I know I took part in testing and was asked into tab head office. Also got an email telling me it was coming. The form could be better though.

  4. On the tab site I know I took part in testing and was asked into tab head office. Also got an email telling me it was coming. The form could be better though.