If footballers can’t do it, why should greyhounds be able to?

WOULD you bet on a footy team that has not had a week’s break leading up to the final two battles?

Roy , Fairfax Media, September 21, pointed out the hassles in the NRL. “Everything I hear from coaches and players tells me fatigue, either physical or mental, is by far a bigger factor than it ever was. Coaches complain about five-day turnarounds and plane trips across three states and stand down players to rest them.”

But are greyhounds any different?

The trouble is that you never quite know. Was the dog tired, injured, smashed or just sick of the whole deal? Race failures have many causes but the hardest one to fathom is whether it has been over-raced, meaning it has not had enough time to recover from an earlier effort.

We have documented many times the impact of frequent racing on distance dogs. The evidence is conclusive amongst both good and average dogs. Once every seven days is too often for any but the hardiest racers, and there are very few of those. Protests that “trainers know best” is nonsense because the facts simply do not back them up.

For example, in the three distance heats at last Saturday – after deleting a couple of obvious outliers – the runners had raced 6.4 days previously on average.

But how much does it affect sprinters? Oddly enough, the figures are not too much different, suggesting the week and week about practice is cemented in many trainers’ minds. Yet that disguises the extremes. Long outages for injured dogs are to be expected, of course, but there are still numerous racers that turn out three or four days after their previous start. Are they fit? Do they have niggles? More importantly, are they keen? Or are they just following the pack around. You just don’t know.

Going back to the stayers, all three heat winners actually reflected their best recent form (but not their PBs) but only one of them was favourite – . Several other well supported runners, most backing up from the week before, had their chances but faded in the run home.

So much for the heats. The final on this Saturday will ask all of them to produce their best once again after yet another seven-day break. History suggests that will be a bit of a raffle so there will be no real winners, especially not amongst punters who are trying to guess how good they are.

The quick back-up sprinters are no better off as three-day breaks mostly end up with poorer performances the second time around. I have not had the resources to conduct a proper survey but observations show repeatedly that a drop-off in form occurs.

In any event, dogs are still dogs, greyhounds are still greyhounds, and they are all part of a breed which has never been known for its stamina. Possibly more so in recent times as sires with proven sprinting prowess dominate the lists. It cannot be an accident that experienced commentators describe the modern greyhound as “less robust”.

But that’s just a question of degree. The more important gap in our knowledge is just how regular racing affects a dog’s metabolism and how long it takes to replenish the spent forces, all of which is beyond my knowledge and probably that of most participants. As with many other subjects, the industry relies on a “she’ll be right” attitude even though – potentially – it has the means of unravelling the facts in a scientific manner.

Indeed, the recent WDA study, conducted for following the issue, conclusively reported real misconceptions amongst trainers about the worth of some education and training techniques. Tradition and common practice overwhelmed advancement and modernisation. It showed specifically that “the trainer does not always know best”.

Today, we have specific and irrefutable evidence that excessive racing over longer distances causes performance to degrade in the vast majority of cases. Even so, authorities continue to allow and encourage heat and final racing in successive 700m-plus trips over a 7-day period, usually for bigger cash prizes such as the current one at The Meadows. This is a folly which benefits no-one, least of all the dogs.

Has no-one read the papers recently? They are full of abusive comments about the conduct of the industry while millions are being spent on inquiries (most conducted by people without sufficient knowledge of the subject) which have either ignored or skated around the key elements.

Breeding, as such, is not the key issue. Racing is, together with the missing studies of how those races are created and how the competitors are produced in the first place.

Doing what you did last year is called survival, at best. Improving on what you did last year is called progress. With the stroke of a pen the industry could achieve progress by banning back-ups within 6 days, or 14 days for stayers.

Success at last

The marvellous thing about the event at was that each race was won by the better dog. All due to zero interference.

Can we find a way to do that with eight dogs in a race?

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BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

Bruce  Always been a problem to many people at the administration level  being paid big bucks for what, to take the industry backwards and they have, had little or no knowledge of the industry with the help of some politician who don’t count us as a vote.to help their cause Lets be serious,  its the participants who have let themselves down with their ignorance right across the whole industry at every level , Not only the dogs are tired, I think we are all tired of the Bulls””t ?

MarionPurnell
MarionPurnell
5 years ago

Breeding IS the problem. More specifically WASTAGE, This is the issue that will bring the industry undone.

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

Whether or not breeding is “the issue” depends on your perspective, and what you want to achieve.  To a normal person, statistics stating that up to 17,000 dogs are put down per year, up to 96% of those that are bred is actually very alarming.  For many of us, that is a major issue.  You can complain about the money being spent on inquiries but this is what it takes to bring the facts out into the public eye. I realise you favour secrecy and put profit ahead of all other considerations (including ethics and integrity), I realise that you’d… Read more »

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

MarionPurnell Marion its the big breeders that created the WASTAGE have a look at them ,not all of them race the dogs they breed. They breed to export to countries like ,NZ,Macau,England, Finland and China and  all over Australia.They are like the multi nationals companies, its  about making money, not the love of the code , many participants do it because the love sport and their dogs at the participant level there is no money.

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

BobWhitelaw MarionPurnell Whether or not there is a level of industry participant for which profit is marginal or non-existent doesn’t change the fact that continually obtaining good racing dogs requires over breeding to obtain that small percentage that have talent.

Are you suggesting there is some large body of “participants” that breed dogs in small numbers and race those dogs no matter how good they are because of their love of the code?

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

Hugh Who, You should look at the email sent to the Telegraph by breeder Noellene Hollaway   where facts are regarding breeding as she stated  the figures such as 13000 to 17000 are  guess on behalf  G A and last year on the figures of GRNSW 4800 pups were breed and that was more then any other state here in Australia. Then you have the facts of Greyhounds that don’t make it to the Tracks here because of the following.  Export to overseas Countries such as NZ,England, Macau, Finland,China also the death from the following Ticks, Corona Virus, Cancer, Paddocks… Read more »

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

BobWhitelaw What motivation would Greyhounds Australasia have to smear the industry?  They are trying to burn their own house? I’m sorry but the “little battler” argument just isn’t very convincing in this industry, there’s too much evidence to suggest problems are systemic.  Many of the people caught participating in live baiting were not big corporate entities.  The entire industry has stood silent for decades on a variety of welfare issues, that includes big and small time players, so the few bad eggs argument is starting to wear thin. I’d also point out that if you’re suggesting a significant proportion of… Read more »

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

Hugh Who
                       Its obvious to us all you would rather  promote a good story rather then promote the truth, anyhow i don’t argue with people with less intelligence then myself ,SO HUGH WHO  i will no longer argue with you, . You have a nice day ! Much Oblige Bob.Whitelaw

MarionPurnell
MarionPurnell
5 years ago

Bob – if you have been in the industry for any length of time (as I believe you have), you will know in your heart  or hearts, that those figures are not only true but are just the tip of the iceberg.

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

BobWhitelaw I’m sorry, I realise it must be unusual for someone with such a staggering intellect to have their opinions challenged, but if you’re going to put forward opinions and arguments that are full of holes, then you have to expect people to point them out, even if those people are intellectual midgets like myself. I’m sorry if you are not able to explain to us why Greyhound Australasia would want to smear their own industry or how things such as extreme weather events or cancer are acceptable explanations for a 96% attrition rate.  But if you can bare to… Read more »

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

Marion So you are saying let a good story go ahead and  be published , before the real truth !

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

Bruce  Always been a problem to many people at the administration level  being paid big bucks for what, to take the industry backwards and they have, had little or no knowledge of the industry with the help of some politicians who don’t count us as a vote.to help their cause Lets be serious,  its the participants who have let themselves down with their ignorance right across the whole industry at every level , Not only the dogs are tired, I think we are all tired of the Bulls””t ?

MarionPurnell
MarionPurnell
5 years ago

Breeding IS the problem. More specifically WASTAGE, This is the issue that will bring the industry undone.

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

Whether or not breeding is “the issue” depends on your perspective, and what you want to achieve.  To a normal person, statistics stating that up to 17,000 dogs are put down per year – up to 96% of those that are bred – is actually very alarming.  For many of us, that IS a major issue.  You can complain about the money being spent on inquiries but this is what it takes to bring the facts out into the public eye. I realise you favour secrecy and put profit ahead of all other considerations (including ethics and integrity), I realise… Read more »

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

MarionPurnell Marion its the big breeders that created the WASTAGE have a look at them ,not all of them race the dogs they breed. They breed to export to countries like ,NZ,Macau,England, Finland and China and  all over Australia.They are like the multi nationals companies, its  about making money, not the love of the code , many participants do it because the love sport and their dogs at the participant level there is no money.

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

BobWhitelaw MarionPurnell Whether or not there is a level of industry participant for which profit is marginal or non-existent doesn’t change the fact that continually obtaining good racing dogs requires over breeding to obtain that small percentage that have talent.

Are you suggesting there is some large body of “participants” that breed dogs in small numbers and race those dogs no matter how good they are because of their love of the code?  And won’t breed more dogs in the hopes of obtaining better racers if the ones they have are poor performers?

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

Hugh Who, You should look at the email sent to the Telegraph by breeder Noellene Hollaway   where facts are regarding breeding as she stated  the figures such as 13000 to 17000 are  guess on behalf  G A and last year on the figures of GRNSW 4800 pups were breed and that was more then any other state here in Australia. Then you have the facts of Greyhounds that don’t make it to the Tracks here because of the following.  Export to overseas Countries such as NZ,England, Macau, Finland,China also the death from the following Ticks, Corona Virus, Cancer, Paddocks… Read more »

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

BobWhitelaw What motivation would Greyhounds Australasia have to smear the industry?  They are trying to burn their own house? I’m sorry but the “little battler” argument just isn’t very convincing in this industry, there’s too much evidence to suggest problems are systemic.  Many of the people caught participating in live baiting were not big corporate entities.  The entire industry has stood silent for decades on a variety of welfare issues, that includes big and small time players, so the few bad eggs argument is starting to wear thin. I’d also point out that if you’re suggesting a significant proportion of… Read more »

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

Hugh Who

                       Its obvious to us all you would rather  promote a good story rather then promote the truth, anyhow i don’t argue with people with less intelligence then myself ,SO HUGH WHO  i will no longer argue with you, . You have a nice day ! Much Oblige Bob.Whitelaw

MarionPurnell
MarionPurnell
5 years ago

Bob – if you have been in the industry for any length of time (as I believe you have), you will know in your heart  of hearts, that those figures are not only true but are just the tip of the iceberg.

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

BobWhitelaw I’m sorry, I realise it must be unusual for someone with such a staggering intellect to have their opinions challenged, but if you’re going to put forward opinions and arguments that are full of holes, then you have to expect people to point them out, even if those people are intellectual midgets like myself. I’m sorry if you are not able to explain to us why Greyhound Australasia would want to smear their own industry or how things such as extreme weather events or cancer are acceptable explanations for a 96% attrition rate.  But if you can bare to… Read more »

BobWhitelaw
BobWhitelaw
5 years ago

Marion So you are saying let a good story go ahead and  be published , before the real truth !