Keeping greyhound records: close enough is really not good enough

THERE’S an old saying which has a few variations and a number of people to whom it has been attributed, but it basically goes, ‘A person who will not take care of the little things will not take care of the big things, for big things are but an accumulation of little things’.

More simply, follow the 6P’s Principle: Perfect Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance.

It seems as though the people in charge of the Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA), the body which should, in theory, be leading the way when it comes to providing quality information to the industry, have the attitude that ‘close enough is good enough’ when posting the results of its flagship Group and Listed races. An almost cursory look through the posted results on its website for the Group and Listed races run so far this year reveals a plethora of misspellings, missing details and incorrect information. I’m not sure if it’s worse this year than in the past, but one thing is for sure, it’s not getting any better.

I know I have banged on about this previously, but given where greyhound racing finds itself in a general sense, you’d think a little bit of extra effort would have been made to achieve a level of precision when it comes to material which is going to be officially archived.

I accept people make mistakes in the data entry field. Which, of course, should be all the more reason why a proper process of checking that entry is put in place. After all, if the corporate bookmakers and state totalisators can manage to get race fields and results correct day after day, surely it’s not too much to ask for AGRA to ensure the relevant information across just 138 Group and Listed events in a 12-month period to get it right? That’s just over two and a half races a week to log in and check. Surely someone can spare the equivalent of 15 minutes a week to compile this information and someone else can spare a further 10 minutes to check it?

It may sound pedantic on my part to be harping on about this, but I take the view that if something as simple and relatively straightforward as logging in the results of a major racing event cannot be achieved without errors then further up the level-of-difficulty chain how much of greater importance to the sport and its stakeholders is being missed?

We know what the results of poor record keeping and management has been in NSW. That failure to keep good, auditable records is one reason the state government has been able to have the sport banned as of July 1, 2017.

The failure to keep good records when it came to breeding left the way wide open for all sorts of less-than-flattering figures to be bandied about and used to condemn the sport. If proper records had been kept we would be in a position to argue our defence far more eloquently and, arguably, more effectively.

Most spelling mistakes are easily fixed by the person logging in the data: it’s found under the ‘Tools’ in the menu bar and is called ‘Spelling and Grammar’. No, it’s not perfect, but if it was actually used it does have a tendency to find more errors than not. At least if it finds something it’s not sure about it will ask the question.

Just to show I’m not generalizing, the following is a short list of some of the mistakes currently extant for the Group Racing results for 2016:

The Darwin Cup is rendered ‘Drawin Cup’; the Richmond Riches is rendered ‘Global Memorail Richmond Riches’; the runner-up in the aforementioned Darwin Cup is Arnhen Villain, not Arnhem Villain; The winner of the Ipswich Auction Series is called Magic Yessam by AGRA; according to form guides its official racing name is Magical Yessam; the winner of the Cup Night Stayers event was Mepunga Rosie, not Mepunga.

The PPK Mining Gold Cup at Maitland, according to the AGRA record, was worth a staggering ‘$450m’ to the winner: in other words, a million dollars a metre!

The margins between second and third place in the Horsham Cup, WA Oaks, and Townsville Cup are missing. There may well be other races the same; I haven’t looked.

The first letter for all greyhound racing names is usually written in capitals. So, for example, Cobber in Motion is actually spelt Cobber In Motion.

I could go on, but your eyes will start to glaze over and sheer boredom will set in.

Close enough, I’m sorry to say, really isn’t good enough, not if you want to be taken seriously. Collectively, as a sport, we should be aiming as high as possible, simply to try and overcome the inherent bias against us within the general population. Taking pride in your work is not egotistical; it’s simply good business sense.

Past Discussion

  1. Duncan- Yes you are being pedantic and you are also absolutely correct. There are in national newspapers, constant spelling and grammatical errors. Maybe because we used to have people called proof readers ( because it is easy to spot the errors of others it’s just your own that are difficult, which may apply to more areas than written pieces) I think these people called proof readers were ” rationalised for a more streamlined business model” used to be called sacked a long time ago. Personally I thought they were a great idea.

    It matters not just to preserve the language but I have noticed nobody misses an opportunity to have a go at the opposing side if they have made such errors the argument tends to be ignored for a bit of cheap point scoring. Even without proof readers it does not take too long to get some one who works with you to check your work for errors.

  2. The Industry would be a lot better off if AGRA fell over, they have done more damage to the industry then any other organisation in the history of Greyhound Racing here in Australia. Like Baird and Grant they should be gone !

  3. Madrailer  you were perfectly correct the first time, too= also, to=direction, two=number. Sorry madrailer it is the retired teacher in me. Yes and I have also seen some terrible and embarrassing stuff up in dog naming as well although I have had  a bit of a laugh sometimes when a name has been passed and some one on the naming board has obviously led a sheltered life. Wacky Backy springs to mind.

  4. BobWhitelaw  To be honest Bob I have never been real  sure what it is they actually do, they have certainly been very absent in their support during this debate.