GRNSW to introduce six-dog fields in NSW

PROMINENT Northern Rivers trainer Sonia Kempshall does not believe the introduction of six-dog fields will have an impact on reducing the injury rate within greyhound racing.

Kempshall’s stance comes after Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) announced it would be trialling the format of six-dog fields at Lismore during the new Non-TAB meetings scheduled in the area.

“I am fully into welfare issues and improving the sport, but I am in two minds about it – I still think there is going to be interference in the races so I don’t know if it is going to be a good thing or a bad thing,” Kempshall told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“I think having an arm which goes further out on the track would be a better decision.

“At the moment the dogs all want to cross down onto the rail to follow the lure which causes a lot of interference, but if the lure were in the middle of the track I don’t think it would matter whether there were eight dogs or six – the injury rate would still be reduced.

“Extending the arm so that all dogs have got an equal opportunity rather than having to dive down to the rails – that’s the way to go.”

The trial of the six dog fields will be used to collect data to assist in the impact the reduced field size has on injury rates.

Six-dog fields formed part of the recommendations of the Joint Working Group – a body established in 2015 to assist with the NSW greyhound racing industry’s strategic approach – and also by the University of Technology of Sydney as a part of the report commissioned by GRNSW into optimal track design for canine safety.

The six-dog meetings will be trialled in place of the gap in Non-TAB racing in the Northern Rivers area since the closure of the Tweed Heads track last December and is expected to be conducted at least until the end of the financial year.

However, Kempshall also questioned the negative impacts six-dog fields could have for the industry if implemented across the state, including a possible reduction in betting turnover.

“You have to look at it from the betting point of view as well – it could affect betting activity,” she said.

“Additionally it means that more dogs won’t get runs – there will be less dogs per race which could cause issues because there is already enough of a problem with not being able to get runs.

“If they want to reduce the fields they will have to provide more races – particularly masters races and racing for lower graded dogs as well.”

Past Discussion

  1. Katherine I do not see in this day and age ,Drones could not be used in the middle of the track.

    There are plenty of clever young people in our sport, who I would think could come up with some schemes.

    Think of the savings in running a lure that is not on a metal rail with  wire ropes etc.

    After all these drones appear to be very versatile.  They even fight wars with them and very effectively.

    Ray Adcock  NZ

  2. 8 dogs 12 dogs 6 dogs. Most will.still try and go to the fence with Longer arm or not. It’s easier for them I belive. Just like when I drive a car around continueus corners I opt for the inside line. Easier to handle at top speed

  3. As I said earlier if ” safety ” is the primary focus..1. Deep harrow every track 2. Get rid of the clocks 3. Get rid of bend starts 4. Race up a straight with a drag lure …Reducing fields to six is only going to piss the punter off..I know personally I hate when i see NTD displayed on the tote ..No punters , no pay

  4. Personally I think this is good news whether the way to go or not I am not sure , but what’s good is our industry leaders starting to take major initiatives to optimize racing safety . This is a trial on non tab racing so won’t impact wagering income which will need to be considered . I believe smaller fields can actually increase wagering , very attractive to some sections of the market. Lots more to be considered I am sure .. bend starts , hoop or wider lures, straight track racing , surface maintenance v USA methods , the initiative whether right or wrong is a good start

  5. we need to have open minds . the sport has done nothing to improve for 60 years , if it doesnt work….then try something else , but dont just sit there and do nothing…to do nothing is going backward.

  6. while holidaying overseas recently , an old english man got talkin to me , and he was involved in greyhounds in britain…he said they wont bet on australian dogs because all you are betting on is who gets out of the first corner out of trouble….food for thought.

  7. Could be a good option for maiden races? A revamp of the the reserve system should be looked at so it doesnt get to 4 and 5 dog fields while a bunch of others miss out altogether?

  8. With these sort of changes to our racing, it wont be long before greyhound racing ceases to exist in this country…it would appear those who control GRNSW are steering us into oblivion..death by a thousand cuts…lunacy..

  9. Not sure about will have to because everyone is getting out. I have nominated a maiden for 5 weeks, was reserve twice and no run the other 3 weeks now the pt has run out. So plenty of dogs about. Don’t say must have bad form either as hasn’t had a start and has won 2 PT’s

  10. GRNSW are totally incompetent.They’re failings are astounding.They are responsible for spme of the industries issues over the decades causing a big drop in breeding.This results in less dogs in NSW, less dogs equals less races, oh hang on, lets go to 6 dog fields where turnover will drop.Your shit GRNSW!

  11. True, I was back 2013 English derby night I was at Romford track. Spoke to some serious dog punters at the bar. All reckon they would rather punt an even money chance in a 6 dog field with draw to suit than a 2-1 chance in a eight dog field where dog is not drawn to suit.

  12. Six dogs Fields, this should be supplemented by another 4 races and reserves  used to make up six dog fields when there’s  a late scratching , most trainers will Trail their  greyhounds pre 1st race  at  a Tab  meeting  so  they would be on Track anyway  .All this  is well and good ! but, if there is not  a major upgrade in Track Infrastructure Animal welfare will not improve even if there is 4 dogs fields, and to suggest  that it won’t effect wagering is only guessing ? so remember  this is Australia not America,  but then again conservatives love to follow the Yanks no matter if they are right or wrong ? 

  13. When heat policy comes in and people scratch then maybe fields will have only four dogs in race’s. Also short priced favorites will be shorter. Dont start on bends and make track circumference bigger and keep eight dog fields. No punters no dogs

  14. RHADCOCK Some dogs or really a hell of a lot of them run and jump from boxes on the noise the lure makes, not to sure drones would be the way to go, also it would be near on impossible for them to follow the same line all the time then you bring weather into it as well.

    Not a bad idea Ray, but lots could go wrong but worth looking at. All it would take is a phone call to a company that do things with Drones and ask questions.

  15. Personally I think the dogs have got too fast for some of the outdated tracks in NSW hence the injuries.

    Some tracks wouldn’t have had anything done to them for years.

    This is nothing but another band aid solution from a body with no vision. They don’t have the money to upgrade tracks so they are coming up with band aid solutions trying to limit the damage.

    The water buckets is exactly the same. They banned barking muzzles and noticed dogs were dehydrating from playing up in the kennels, so instead of reversing the decision, they came up with the band aid solution of water buckets.

  16. You need times for form and you have the nerve to say pissing the punter off , ill tell you this Arejay no times = lack of knowledge on how to read form its one of the main things used by punters and iv been punting dogs since i was 12 im now 52 that’s 40 years. Iv also trained dogs including an Australian Cup finalist.

  17. Doesn’t mean much Terry as in trials you have no idea what yr up against so they could be miles apart in ability, and in a race they are graded so more evenly matched.

  18. Form 1 – 2 – 3 And don’t give me ya 40yrs of punting shit ..Back in the day it was all hand timed and those times were never true .. the game was that corrupt you ran what they wanted you to run .. As for ” pub ” punters very very few read times they look to see if it’s run 1-2-3 and assess off that form only your professional punters really use sectional times and overall Guess what ? Those professional punters aint the ones paying the bills.. most bet through bookmakers or agencies not with the TAB so again no distribution to our sports prize money …

  19. 100% the bloke that did the uni study thought he was genius saying all racing should be up the straight, I asked him if he thought all the dogs would just stay in their own lane like Olympic swimmers? No idea but paid plenty

  20. I agree getting rid of bend starts would be a plus!  Deep harrowing however would introduce other problems.  (1) For example we would see a lot more split webbing injuries which is often just as career ending as a broken hock.  (2) It would certainly slow the dogs down but the dogs only slow down for a reason, that is it’s a much more difficult (harder) run in soft sand and more torn muscles.

    I agree with you about the reduced fields.  The Melbourne cup (horses) has 23 or so starters and the tote only pays out on 1 winner.  The money wagered on the other 22 is all profit. 99% of punters lose, turf club wins.

    Lets not forget this is a NSW (GRNSW) proposition.  Slow death by over regulation.

  21. Tony, you are 100% spot on. The only reason there is so much carnage in greyhound racing here is because of the distances of the races. There is so much short course racing these days, where races start close to, or right on, a corner. Just when they get up a head of steam they basically hit the bend together and crash, bang , wallop….half the field cartwheeling out the back. In the days when we trained greyhounds, 1980/1990 era, if your dog couldn’t run 500m strongly it was a struggle to even find a race for it. Wentworth Park, Dapto, Wollongong, Nowra, Bulli, Penrith were basically the main TAB tracks back then and they all had one thing in common…a very high percentage of races run at those tracks were 500m or longer, and as such those races commenced with a straight run of 60,70 or 80 metres to the first corner. The point is this..by the time they hit the bend, they had mostly sorted themselves out and there was significantly less damage and injury. There will always be injuries and spills in dog racing, its the nature of the beast. We don’t need new tracks built, that’s rubbish, we already have tracks all over the country. Get rid of the ” blink of an eye ” bullshit 300/350/400m vermin greyhounds that clog up our present day racing and force these ridiculous starting points. That is the modern day scourge on greyhound racing, in a nutshell every race to have a good straight run into the first corner…what do you reckon. I’ve called the greyhounds at all those tracks in the past, back in the day.

  22. Stirlsy RHADCOCK  I agree I think most of them time their exit on the sound. They certainly could not possibly be doing it by sight unless they have X ray vision. Also a lot of dogs get excited in the kennels and once again it must be the sound of the lure they could not see the lure. If you are in the kennel house you only have to watch the dogs to see what triggers them and it is not the sight of the lure. Obviously once racing the movement of the lure is very important.

  23. lone widow  Could not agree more lone widow – the laws of physics clearly show that the forces on a dog when cornering  are many times those forces on a dog running straight. They are also UNEVEN forces ( on the dog’s body )  which makes it even more of a problem.  Combine those cornering forces with a start on a corner with eight dogs is just an accident waiting to happen especially with maiden dogs.

  24. I think perhaps when people talk about “ignoring the clock” what they may be suggesting is  to discourage the need for some trainers to get faster and faster times to have records to their name. Obviously you need times, trainers need to know times as well in regards to decisions about what distances dogs can run and the punters certainly need them. The good thing about performance trials is that because the fields are really small with little interference the punters can get a very accurate time on the ability of the dog. The ego pursuing goal of getting dogs to run faster and faster and break records needs to become a pursuit that is secondary when compared to the safety of dogs.

  25. I think any reasonable idea to improve the safety and welfare of dogs is worth a trial. Watching dogs race at Angle Park – it is a very rare event that the dog in box 5 is not hit. Removing a dog from that box must cut down injuries and that is only one example. If an idea helps reduce injuries and extend the racing life of a greyhound it is worth a try. Whilst welfare in itself is an important goal if you want to be pragmatic it is a very expensive exercise to get a greyhound to the track to race. I recently calculated what I have spent on my current greyhound who has had eight starts and it is over sixteen thousand dollars  ( her initial purchase as a pup, paying to have her reared, feeding her, fees involved with GRNSW, petrol to the track and two very expensive trips to the vets) this is not an insignificant amount of money. It is unlikely that she will ever make a profit and that does not matter to me because she has a home with me regardless- however I would like to be able to race her and she also loves to race for as long as possible.

  26. BobWhitelaw lone widow 

    On the other hand Bob, and i know this goes against everything that’s been said before. So i’ll make a fool of myself.

    The TAB contribution is around 21% for greyhounds and we receive 13%.

    By having 6 runners and reducing the number of races per meeting to 10 instead of 12 closing some tracks, our take would be around 13% so we would have parity.  We would contribute 13% and receive 13%.

    Bob please tell me my shrivelled up 72 year old brain is packing it in.

  27. Bluestone What it means is less dogs needed for Racing, to effect breeding, and less prize money, and the industry  will be knocking on heavens door sadly, aren’t we supposedly moving forward ,then why are we going backwards  and some former and current GBOTA directors think its a good idea,  God help us !