Is Greyhound Racing Victoria Asleep At The Wheel?

If you had a bet at The Meadows last Saturday night and lost your hard earned in Race 3 when Coco Bale led all the way at the big odds, you’ve got every right to be annoyed.

Why? Because although Coco Bale was declared the winner of the Lepine Funerals Grade 5 525m event at approximately 7:58pm Saturday night, by Monday morning the Graeme Bate trained greyhound was no longer the winner.

As well as being the fastest disqualification in recent living memory, the reason for the disqualification seems hard to fathom in this day and age of national databases and computerised nominations and box draws.

The tale begins at Bendigo Friday 14th May 2010 when Coco Bale turned in the boxes and took no part in the race. Coco Bale was vetted after the race and a five day stand down imposed. Coco Bale was also required to perform a satisfactory trial prior to being nominated to compete again.

Now bear in mind that due to the five day stand down Coco Bale was ineligible to compete in any event or perform a satisfactory trial until midnight 19th May 2010.

But miraculously GRV records show Coco Bale having successfully performed a satisfactory trial at The Meadows on Monday 17th May 2010.

The satisfactory trial was not held at a race meeting in the presence of GRV Stewards but at the public trial session at The Meadows. It would seem that GRV Stewards did not clear the greyhound for racing but MGRA staff.

Nevertheless the greyhound had performed a satisfactory trial, approved by a GRV approved entity, and all while still under the five day injury stand down. There is no record of any revet which would have allowed the greyhound to take its rightful place in the satisfactory trial.

Now you would think, that as it would appear MGRA staff, not GRV Stewards, supervised the satisfactory trial, then it could be forgiven they were not immediately aware that Coco Bale was under injury stand down at the time. But commonsense would suggest that once the information was submitted back to the GRV Stewards offices, then the error would be immediately identified?

Nope.

Coco Bale was nominated for and drawn to race at Horsham on the 25th May 2010, finshing fourth as a $4.80 chance.

Coco Bale was also then subsequently nominated for Saturday night’s race at The Meadows which she duly won by a good margin, leading all the way from box 5 at the double figure odds of $10.80.

But it wasn’t until Monday morning that GRV Stewards decided Coco Bale should not actually be racing.

According to a brief Stewards Inquiry report, an “investigation” took place and it was “discovered” that “the greyhound was ineligible to compete in both events and as a result was subsequently disqualified from both events” due to the fact that “Coco Bale had completed a satisfactory trial at the Meadows on 17 May 2010 when the greyhound was still subject to an injury stand down provision”.

There was no mention of any forthcoming inquiry or fine or other penalty for either the trainer, the officiating entity that cleared the satisfactory trial or the GRV staff who allowed the error to go unchecked until Monday.

There was no mention of who or what exactly was responsible for the error, nor any attempt to describe how the error was allowed to occur.

Now in this day and age of digital records, computers and national databases, you would expect errors like these would not and could not occur. But computers are only as good as the people that “drive” them and can’t do the jobs set for them when their “drivers” are “asleep at the wheel”.

Given Greyhound Racing Victoria have also been bestowed with the job of “driving” the national database, do greyhound participants have reason to be concerned?

You would think probably not, if it was an isolated incident, and measures were put in place so it could not and would not happen again.

But then, also on Monday morning, news emerged of another very similar situation in Victoria.

The Dave Knocker trained Smashed ‘Em was allowed to compete in Victoria not once, not twice, but three times after being required to complete a satisfactory trial following a race at Cannington.

In contrast to the Coco Bale case, that satisfactory trial was never even attempted anywhere at anytime, and there is no way that the GRV should have been allowed to even accept nominations for the greyhound to race.

However, similarly to the Coco Bale situation, after a GRV “investigation” the greyhound was “discovered” to have been ineligible to compete in any of the three Victorian races and was disqualified from all three events.

There was no mention by the GRV Stewards of any forthcoming inquiry or fine or other penalty for either the trainer or the GRV staff who allowed the greyhound nominations to be accepted. There was also no mention of who or what exactly was responsible for the error, nor any attempt to describe how the error was allowed to occur.

The Smashed ‘Em situation, where a greyhound is placed on a satisfactory trial in one state but then nominates for another, is exactly why the national database was developed, and exactly the situation when it should work to stop the nomination.

In fact it’s obvious to see that Western Australia have done their job properly as the greyhounds form in the national database clearly shows “Sc5c/6/5/4siugc I SAT” next to the Cannington race. The “SAT” indicating the greyhound was placed on a satisfactory trial.

The issue of how this greyhound was allowed to race must clearly reside at the GRV headquarters and in light of two of these errors occurring; someone or something cannot be doing their job effectively and proficiently for these situations to have occurred.

The question remains –

Is Greyhound Racing Victoria asleep at the wheel?

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