A COUPLE of points about the GRNSW TV advertisements now running in the middle of footy broadcasts. Well, three actually. Initially, I thought good on Paul Newson & co for making an attempt to influence public opinion. I don’t think he has got it right but the effort is there.
However, the key issue is that the ad and the new website (embracingchange.com.au) relate what the authority has been doing AFTER the events occurred. It is a reactive process, which is pretty normal for racing authorities. Being proactive never seems to occur to them, something that is typical of administrators concerned with neatness above all. It is hard to see anyone changing their view of greyhound racing as a result of this approach. Indeed, it might remind many that abuses did occur.
The second major issue is that the ad concentrates on nice people rather than dogs. Tactically and strategically, that poses two problems. I doubt it will be believed by the man in the street as his attitude is already coloured by pictures of live baiting. Secondly, surely the big deal is that the greyhound breed should be the highlight of any PR efforts. The public may well accept that bad apples will (and have been) thrown out of the industry but, in the short to medium term, there is no way they will take on their replacements, nice or not. Nor will they change their view of the breed, mainly because they are still not informed about it.
Yes, we need serious public relations programs but they have to champion the breed itself, not a motley collection of trainers with whom the public will never connect – or not in this way.
Whatever good it does do is not being helped by the extraordinary diatribe handed out at the start of hearings at the Special Commission of Inquiry by “counsel assisting”, as Judge McHugh’s offsider is known. This Royal Commission style parallel – like the one on union abuses – did no more than list a horrific stream of nasty events and call into question the validity of the greyhound racing industry at any price. Admittedly, my comment is based on TV reportage as transcripts are not yet available. However, I would have thought that both the counsel and McHugh should act as impartial observers at this stage – ie while all the facts are still being scrutinised.
After all, the job of the Special Commission is to investigate, not to prosecute. So far, it is not a good look.
Non-stayers and non-reports
The handicap at The Meadows turned out to be a bit of a non-event – six dogs drawn and one late scratching left five to run. The two outsiders ran the Quinella while the three favourites bit the dust. Two of those favourites had raced the previous week. Very ho-hum.
In the Topcat Video Cup final the first and third favourites failed badly, leaving Seeking Justice, the second favourite, to take out the $25,000 prize after leading all the way. To my mind, both Lady Toy and Shanlyn Lucy raced like tired dogs, showing no spark at all. They finished 5th and 7th after having every chance. Yes, Lady Toy began poorly but that is part of my assessment that it is racing ordinarily.
Here are comparisons between their previous runs and last Saturday (handicap times corrected as necessary)