It's not too often I venture into a Tab agency, I prefer to punt from the comfort of home. But I've recently ventured back into these establishments and am totally shocked at what I have been witnessing. All agency's have their regulars, some who punt on Saturdays others who pop in from time to time, and the die hard regulars who are always there battling to win a quid.
But I've noticed a change in attitude in the die hard regulars. They all seem to be saying the same thing. “It's bloody tough to win lately”; “bloody favorites getting rolled all the time”.
Now remember, most of these blokes are multiples punters, who know nothing about form and generally follow the market. In the hope of collecting a trifecta or first 4. They bet on every race and have no preference as long as its a race. Most of them will take a trifecta/First 4, and take the favorite as there on top selection.
But Ive noticed a common trend amongst these guys, fewer and fewer are betting on the dogs; preferring to wait for a Trot or horse race. Once upon a time it mattered little what code it was as long as they could have a bet.
Our premier product is showcased at night with Thursday night, Saturday night and Monday night being the main greyhound nights. However there is only roughly one Tab Agency open past 6 o'clock in Brisbane and they shut the doors at 9.00pm; way before the nights racing has ended. Therefore the majority of betting on greyhound racing is done during the day when these low grade races are conducted.
But things are changing, most of these blokes are fed up with the dogs and refuse to bet on them. Often complaining when a favorite performs terribly and runs unplaced. Now don't get me wrong, I'm very much aware this occurs in all codes but its happening far too often in the dogs.
Tier 3 meetings and extremely pour quality fields made up of legless dogs who would serve a better purpose as a pet.
It's nearly impossible to find a winner amongst these fields and very rarely do the favorites salute. How can the average punter sort out 8 dogs with the terrible form guides available and choose between 1 runner who's had 24 starts for one 3rd and another who's had 18 starts for nothing and is 3.5 years a old. Not even the experts can!!
This leads to frustration and anger as the average joe blow can't work out why the favorite has either run unplaced, fought, or finished 50 lengths last.
No wonder they are refusing to invest in these races. No wonder there complaining, it's much harder to win these days.
Remember the whole entire industry is built around the punter and without them I'm afraid to say we wouldn't have the industry we do today.
Not only are these races êxtremly poor betting propositions, some are down right disgraceful. All too often they fight, or end up finishing 50 lengths from the leader.
Looking through yesterday's Tier 3 Ballarat meeting gives us a prime example. One dog has had 18 starts and has never run a place, and is 4 years old. Surely Dofus would serve a better purpose as somebody's beloved pet or as a meet and greet doorman.
Now I know having these low grade races allows more dogs to race and keeping more or these animals alive and well is a great thing. But at what expense?
Once upon a time, if you owned a greyhound that couldn't make the cut on the tab tracks, you headed off to race him or her at a non Tab track at places like Moree, Tweed Heads, Bundaberg or Capalaba. Now it appears clubs have to either support themselves or be converted to a tab track to continue to race.
Now there's no doubt turning these non tab tracks into tab tracks benefits the clubs and ensures their future, but for how long?
With poor quality racing a constant thing, it won't take long before even the everyday mug punter gives up on backing these low grade races. Once the support for these low grades races dries up, so does the income generated from them.
If Tier 3 racing and poor quality fields are allowed to continue I have no doubt the support once shown for the dogs will continue to diminish. These everyday mug punters can't distinguish between a Tier 3 race and a quality city grade race. Therefore all dog racing will suffer, and the money once bet in these races will undoubtedly be spent on the other codes.
One solution is to allow our non tab tracks to continue to race instead of shutting them down. Therefore allowing the low grade dogs to continue to campaign throughout their careers.
You only need to read the Queensland steward reports to have them outline that racing a dog who doesn't meet the grade will ensure the wrath of the stewards; and their response each time is to campaign the dog in lower grade races to which it is much more competitive in.
We need to move forward and I don't believe adding more racing and meetings is the answer. It only spreads the money around in the pools and creates smaller pools which in turn equates to smaller profits.
I for one refuse to bet in these low grade races and it appears as if the life blood of the industry the Mug Punter, is following suit.
How will we survive, if the trend continues?