AGRA Group racing records leave a lot to be desired

THERE are certain things in life which do not need to be stuffed up, or at least not stuffed up on a regular basis, and data entry is one of these. Especially data entry when it involves simply transcribing a set of clear results and placing them into a spreadsheet.

While I am forever grateful that a start has been made on recording the rich history of greyhound racing in Australia, and AGRA can rightfully claim to be very much at the forefront of this, I am getting heartily tired of seeing a constant stream of very basic mistakes logged into its year-on-year listings of Group results. Mistakes that will be there forever. Unfortunately, the whole process appears to be getting worse, not better.

While I have not made a note of every single mistake I have come across in the recording of these results, which are all available online, I thought I needed to write something about this sad state of affairs when entire Group races start going missing from the central record.

In 2015 there were 35 Group 1 races conducted across the country. The AGRA website, as of Wednesday January 13, shows the results of just 26. So, what’s missing. Well, unimportant events like the Winter Carnival Cup, (520 metres – Albion Park) and the Hume Cup (600 metres – The Meadows) and there’s also something called the Topgun (525 metres – The Meadows).

Of those listed, races such as the Sandown Cup and Maturity Classic have no distance appended. Yes, we all know what distances they race over, but that’s not the point. It’s laziness on the part of the person inputting the data. Go to the Group 2 list and the Cranbourne and Warragul Cup’s are recorded without a distance. And so it goes on.

The Sir John Dillon Memorial, run over 595 metres at Sandown, was won in the amazing time of 22.89 according to the results. The margins were 4 x 0.5. Yet a quick check of the GRV website shows the race was won in 33.89 and the margins were 4.08 x 0.44. While I’m not really a fan of these precise margins (4 x 0.5 is fine with me), that’s not the official record. Then there are races where the margins are just 0.3…that’s it, nothing else.

No, it’s not just 2015 that looks like a dog’s breakfast. The 2014 Sir John Dillon Memorial, a Group 3 event, is not recorded at all. In 2013 the Gold Coast Cup is entered twice, as is the Dapto Puppy Classic.

Here’s a radical solution. What about getting someone who has more than a passing interest in greyhound racing to key in the data? At least there’s a chance they’ll remember to put in margins and proper times, and should be able to spell the names of the finalists correctly. They may even have the nous to recognise a mistake when it does, almost inevitably, crop up. Failing this, what about getting someone to double check the data before it’s processed?