Regular readers might have noted this column is all in favour of an in-depth scientific review of the art of track designing. That would allow the industry to eliminate much of the “she’ll be right” attitude to building tracks. That issue is probably a carryover from the days when state authorities were not even a twinkle in the Minister’s eye and a handful of local volunteers set up working bees to hack a new track out of the bush.
Indeed, without those willing hands, greyhound racing would probably not have survived. At least not until the jolly green giant arrived and customers were spread across the nation.
But 2012 is a far cry from those days. A reminder of just how far science has advanced was evident in the newspaper the other day. The Australian reported on football practices on 8 May:
“Most clubs now record GPS information during matches by using a small device which is placed on the back of the jersey. It allows the clubs to record a host of statistics including the distance players cover, the speed at which they cover it, heart rate exertions and the impacts in tackles”.
Now surely the same devices could be attached to racing rugs in order to report on what dogs do and when they do it as they move around the track. Computer analysis would then help sort out – for instance – the cause of interference, whether due to the dog or the nature of the track. Or why dogs run off at certain points and where they get injured. And so on. Comparisons from track to track would identify good and bad points to guide future builders. It also has potential for improving welfare and providing useful information for trainers.
Organisations like Champion Data, Pro-Data and others would eat up a project like this. All we need to do is ask them. In this case “we” would mean Greyhounds Australasia. That’s what they are there for, isn’t it?
To pay for the study you could start deducting $50,000, more or less, from each of those ultra-high priced events where clubs vie with one another to see who is the biggest and the best. Owners and trainers might consider that anything that produces a lower injury rate is money in the bank for them anyway. And better tracks are an essential prerequisite to bringing back big spending punters, so what goes around would quickly come around. It’s called win-win-win.
Life Is Amazing
Here are quotes from the Stewards report for Warragul last week.
“Beyond Brooklyn was vetted prior to the running of this event and was cleared to race. … Beyond Brooklyn was vetted following the event. It was reported that the greyhound was in season, a 28 day stand down period was imposed.”
The report does not say why it was vetted before the race, which seems unusual.
It’s amazing how the body can change in a matter of minutes. It probably would not have mattered in a damsel’s dash but, in this case, Beyond Brooklyn’s all-male opposition might have been lining up behind her.
Beyond Brooklyn bolted in by four lengths in a spritely 25.95.
It reminds you of the newspaper report of the woman who thought she was putting on a little weight but suddenly have birth to a bouncing baby boy. Perhaps her mum had not told her about the signs?
Trivia Note: Part of the above opposition was Hodge so, just for interest, I queried the Greyhound Data website to check its details. It turns out that only two other dogs have ever carried that name, one whelped in 1827 and one in 1875. Not sure if they even played footie in those days. Anyway, I don’t think anyone would like a brown and yellow rug. However, America uses black and yellow for the 8 rug.