Staying True

The thing I liked about the Sandown Cup heats was that three of the four races were won by genuine stayers – Granduer, Miata and Double Jeopardy. To which you can add Vintage Blend which recorded the second best time of the night while running second to the brilliant Miata. Let there be more.

Actually, brilliant is probably the wrong word to describe Miata. Powerful would be more like it. The further it goes the better she gets. It would be fascinating to find out how her heart and lung sizes compare with the average greyhound.

I will withhold judgement on Irma Bale until she repeats her smart win. Too many good 600m dogs pick up the odd distance race but can’t repeat the effort. (And, no, I don’t rate her Angle Park distance runs anywhere near this standard. The times were only ordinary, as was the opposition, except for Cousin Callum. Besides, for many dogs, Angle Park is a much easier track to negotiate than Sandown).

It was also interesting to see that Bombastic Shiraz (Black Shiraz-Bombastic Blonde) provided four of the twelve placegetters, including the two fastest – Miata and Vintage Blend. Hallucinate, a result of greyhound breeding royalty (Brett Lee-Elusive Rebel), had three others and litter brother Wheres Pedro two more. And all had unplaced runners as well. Yet none of these three went past the sprints in their own careers. The same with the grandsires. In fact Black Shiraz was possibly best over the 450m trip. Does someone know the secret here? Or is it just trial and error?

As for the final this coming Thursday – with box 2 and moderate beginners either side what is going to stop Miata doing it again?

What’s In A Name?

It had to happen.

I have never liked raceclubs allowing a sponsor to take precedence over the name of the club itself. Individual races, shirt sleeves, billboards, even jockeys’ pants, OK, but not the club.

The club’s name is its brand. It is what it promotes to the public, to employees, to governments, to administrators, to members. Like the shape of the Coke bottle, it should never be touched.

One risk is always that the sponsor’s name will itself be tarnished in some way. It can never add, only detract from the club’s good name, assuming it has one.

And it can be overcome by events. The sponsor can go broke or just get sick of the deal and move on somewhere else. Or undergo a name change, which is what has just happened in Newcastle.

Betchoice, the former sponsor of The Gardens, is no longer. Earlier this year it sold out to Malta-based multinational, multi-gambling type Unibet, not to be confused with Unitab, the former name of Tatts (see – already there is a query).

So now we have Unibet Gardens. I find that ugly. All the effort put into building a new club name is wasted. It will have to start again. Anyway, it adds nothing to the club or to the town. It simply helps balance the club’s books, admittedly a sorely needed boost, but that’s all.

Bad move.

Can you imagine Domino’s Flemington or Diet Coke Royal Randwick? Hardly. Yes, I know football does it – or more correctly, the ground owners do it – but not the club itself.

But advertising can be a funny business.

Going back a bit, I can recall the time when the (now deceased) Cessnock club sold the space on the gate to the pen to a bookmaker. They will probably deny it, but the TAB (then TAB Ltd) was about to sign up on a deal to put its logo on NSW rugs but held it up until the bookmaker’s sign disappeared. I am not sure they would get away with that today.

Going back further, I also recall the time when the first club accepted sponsorship of an individual race. All hell broke loose as the rest of the industry was aghast at such a break in tradition. (I think it was Bulli but don’t hold me to that). So much for progress.