IT ALL brings to mind that world famous cartoon by Stan Cross in 1933 in The Smiths Weekly (long since defunct). It depicts two workers, one with his trousers fallen, hanging by their fingernails from a broken girder on a high rise construction site and one telling the other “For gorsake stop laughing, this is serious”.
The real problem is we are running out of dogs. Without raw material, the sport is in a risky position.
This is nothing new but it has suddenly become more extreme, at least in NSW.
For the first time in living memory, or probably ever, last Saturday nine of ten races at Wentworth Park started with a short field. The lone 720-metre event attracted only five runners. The Friday meeting was not much better, with six short fields.
There is no obvious reason for the poor performance. A simultaneous meeting at Richmond had full fields but apart from the Oaks final, none were guilty of diverting custom from Wenty. Ditto for The Gardens, which also operates on Saturday evening.
Likewise, other states had no great pulling power. The WA Derby did not seem to affect NSW dogs, nor the few good races in Melbourne city last week.
Indeed, some of these also have problems. Looking back over the last four months, here is the average number of short fields in the main weekly meetings: