Greyhounds need to go to the fair work tribunal

DOGS are not as strong as we hope they might be. Or most of them anyway.

While there is unshakeable evidence that over-racing does not work out for stayers (see umpteen previous articles on this topic) we are now seeing readers point out that sprinters sometimes don’t back up very well either. Quite so, so let’s look at some hard facts.

To do that, I picked out the 10 sprint fields at The Meadows last Saturday and scanned their form – the last four runs in the GRV formguide – to see which of them had backed up within a 4-day period and how they did in the second race.

Amazingly, 32 of some 80 runners had done that (see list below). Of those, 19 fared worse while 13 improved. Then add to that the five dogs which had raced on the Wednesday or Thursday prior to the Saturday meeting at The Meadows. Three of those did worse, two did better. So in total, 22 did worse, 15 did better.

Bear in mind that this is just a quick survey, a pilot study if you like, and there will be many stories about hard luck, interference, different boxes and so on. So only broad conclusions can be reached and they then need checking.

Nevertheless, it is meaningful that, say, up to two thirds of the subject dogs had problems backing up while one third did not – apparently.

Anecdotally, this is consistent with numerous cases I see on a daily basis when doing the form at various meetings, doubly so for longer trips.

So, what can we conclude?

A prima facie cases exists that dogs cannot produce their best when backing up too quickly or too often over a period.

It is difficult or even impossible to determine in advance which dogs will suffer more than others.

The longer the trip the more likely it is to see form degradation.

It is likely that the lead-all-the-way winner will suffer more degradation than a runner which runs in the mid-field and then goes hard only in the last 100m or so.

Form variations as a consequence of over-racing are harmful to betting turnover, and to dogs.

The theme that “trainers know best” is a furphy and should be dismissed.

There is ample evidence that authorities should initiate in-depth studies to better explain the situation and adjust racing rules as necessary.

In relation to the last item, I find it concerning that such a vital part of the racing scene has received comparatively little attention from the veterinary sector. Sure, the symptoms sometimes get mentioned but the full package is not examined, nor are fresh policies recommended. Why so?

The dogs with short backups involved at The Meadows:

Why Not Sue
Major Bill
Pay the Boo
Illiad Allen
Arrow Allen
Allen Terminator
Straw Hat Luffy
What’s To Like
Dyna Shinko
Dr Compulsion
Pure Titanium
Smart Maxwell
Uno Sparti
Nockabout Aussie
Fleetwood Zac
Helga Bale
Tywin Bale
Crucify
Maverick Thunder
Jaycee Plumb
Mepunga Fame
Yeates Bale
Aston Ryder
Astrology
Dyna Kenant
Gawker Bale
Trixie Diamond
Penelopes Cruzn
Sonic Spirit
Dyna Juggler
Ima Lonely Boy.

Other views plentiful

There is one reader’s comment about greyhounds that must be endorsed – “They aren’t robots they are individual athletes”. Exactly, as also are footballers, cricketers, tennis players, etc. But do we acknowledge that, or are we continually asking too much? Emphatically, the answers are no and yes, respectively.

The question arose of the Whittaker-Young Gun quinella at Wenty on Saturday night. OK, but that was not the real story of the race, of which more later.

Those two have been plying their trade over the 720m trip for several months now, but with limited success. Both have won a couple against usually ordinary opposition, although taking 12 and 16 attempts to do it, respectively. Whittaker, which showed lots of promise early on in its career, is pretty erratic, running times varying from 42.10 to 42.82. Six of Young Gun’s efforts have failed to break 43 seconds and last week’s 42.51 was one of its two best. Nothing to shout about there.

Yes, they have been racing very frequently but does that explain their ordinary performances? Probably, but we will never know. Either way, these are not backable commodities, not with win rates of that order. Arguably, any race won in 42.50 is a very risky betting proposition.

The real key to that Wenty race came from favourite Sandave Sapphire ($1.60) which ran a dismal 43.43 after a poor start and an indifferent run, finishing 6th in a field of seven. It did suffer a minor check at the first turn but that was largely its own fault. However, it did not look interested. Could that be an outcome of its previous race 7 days earlier when it scorched around the track in a PB of 41.84, which would comfortably win nine out of 10 top events? Was it used up – a gutbuster? Nothing more left? Almost certainly. That time was miles quicker than anything it had done previously so it must have drawn on reserves to do it.

Finally, the advice that “people back off trainers names as they know some are better conditioners then others” hits the mail on the head. Who says they “know”? Not the public, for sure – they would not have a clue. Even experienced punters would guess wrongly on that just as often as they guess right. In any case, there is massive evidence that the trainers themselves don’t know or, if they do, they are hoping against hope that luck will fall their way. Not good enough!

After all, several of our top trainers did not think they would be trapped with live baiting, did they? Many more did not see anything wrong with it. Others have been disqualified for months or years for repeated drug offences.

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Whatisthevision
Whatisthevision
5 years ago

Sandave Sapphire raced well for weeks on end on 7 day spacing culminating in a feature win before its last start down performance . Yet you choose to use its latest failure to prove your point yet ignore its consistent prior racing on 7 day spacing . It won a feature race on that basis . You previously claimed only 1 % of 1% of stayers can race off 7 day spacing . That’s incorrct and all you need to do is check the metro staying winners each week to see that . You have now tested sprinters for similar… Read more »

fastmoney37
fastmoney37
5 years ago

ghbazaar Ridiculous assumption based on ridiculously small sample. Must be a slow news week.

differentview
differentview
5 years ago

Bruce often as we all know will run with his articles and selectively pick a race or a dog and make statements about same ,often claiming that his writings are facts and often they are merely his opinions. When in fact they are not,they are purely opinions.
Some of us are awake to you Bruce.
Lol

travisjgray82
travisjgray82
5 years ago

You might want to get your facts straight I’m fairly sure Pure Titanium had a 7 day break between his Sandown and his Meadows races and the only time he’s back up 4/5 days later is in a heat to final scenario which I clear have no say in

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

With any athlete, human or animal, it’s a fine line to balance training intensity so as to maximise performance without injury.  Training must be intensive enough to promote performance enhancing adaptive changes in tissues (muscles, neurological connections, connective tissue, bone density, etc) but not so intensive so as to induce a level of tissue damage that cannot be recovered from between training sessions.  Even for humans this is a difficult balance to get right, particularly when the gap between optimal training and overtraining is so razor thin that small variations in nutrition, sleep, psychological state, or illness can tip the… Read more »

differentview
differentview
5 years ago

You had me all the way till your last paragraph then your true colors shone through. SHAME ON YOU
Eight last start winners in a race
Someone must win and two will place and five will unplace.
I suppose Bruce or you would have a story regards the five about genetics or trainers abilty or them not backing up. There is allways going to be debate.
Thats just life accept it

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

differentview Haha, sorry to disappoint.  You are right, those are my true colours, but I don’t try to hide them.  I don’t feel that exploiting animals purely for the purpose of entertainment and profit is morally justifiable unless it can be done so without any detriment to their welfare.  The only justification for disagreeing with that (that I can see) is to simply consider entertainment and profit to be of greater value than the animal’s welfare and wellbeing – a position which only seems to be plausible if you underestimate the sentience and intelligence of the animals involved.  I realise… Read more »

differentview
differentview
5 years ago

Mate i have been in the dogs for about 45 years now and have seen many ups and downs many many boards come and go many rules changed or developed some for good some for the worse. Presently in our industry it is very demoralized. From you anti types and from within particulary here in QLD where our own hierarchy in RQ are doing every thing they can to grind the dogs down. In my time with many many dogs .All of whom we welped reared educated and raced it was the enjoyment of seeing a puppy we bred come… Read more »

differentview
differentview
5 years ago

See we have not taken poodles or bassets and said come on guys lets see who has the quickest. We race a very magnificent athlete of the canine breed called a GREYHOUND. You seem to like research then research the breed.He has taken hundreds of years to get where he is today. I believe his heart is the biggest per body weight Of any canine by as much as 50 % more than any other. You will also find many many physical difference between this dog and his peers. If there is a God which i dont think there is… Read more »

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

differentview No, I’ve never been involved in training an animal, but that doesn’t undermine my perspective.  I do work with animals and have plenty of experience with them.  I have no doubt that you have dogs that you love and that you treat incredibly well, and that they enjoy the lifestyle.  And if that was the fate of all dogs involved in the sport then I would have little practical objection to it’s operation.  But you know full well that across the industry there are a huge number of dogs that do not live as you describe, and many dogs… Read more »

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

differentview Nothing you just said is news to me.  I realise that the greyhound has been bred to run fast over many, many generations.  But I’m really not sure what that has to do with anything I’ve said. The comparison I make to humans is with respect to training regimes, and the fact that they are competitive athletes.  This is a valid comparison irrespective of whether one species has been selectively bred and one hasn’t.  And my original comment was to point out that lessons learnt from human training apply to all animal athletes, because those are just physiological questions.… Read more »

Whatisthevision
Whatisthevision
5 years ago

Sandave Sapphire raced well for weeks on end on 7 day spacing culminating in a feature win before its last start down performance . Yet you choose to use its latest failure to prove your point yet ignore its consistent prior racing on 7 day spacing . It won a feature race on that basis . You previously claimed only 1 % of 1% of stayers can race well on 7 day spacing . That’s incorrct and all you need to do is check the metro staying winners each week to see that . You have now tested sprinters for… Read more »

fastmoney37
fastmoney37
5 years ago

ghbazaar Ridiculous assumption based on ridiculously small sample. Must be a slow news week.

differentview
differentview
5 years ago

Bruce often as we all know will run with his articles and selectively pick a race or a dog and make statements about same ,often claiming that his writings are facts and often they are merely his opinions. When in fact they are not,they are purely opinions.

Some of us are awake to you Bruce.

Lol

travisjgray82
travisjgray82
5 years ago

You might want to get your facts straight I’m fairly sure Pure Titanium had a 7 day break between his Sandown and his Meadows races and the only time he’s back up 4/5 days later is in a heat to final scenario which I clear have no say in

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

With any athlete, human or animal, it’s a fine line to balance training intensity so as to maximise performance without injury.  Training must be intensive enough to promote performance enhancing adaptive changes in tissues (muscles, neurological connections, connective tissue, bone density, etc) but not so intensive so as to induce a level of tissue damage that cannot be recovered from between training sessions.  Even for humans this is a difficult balance to get right, particularly when the gap between optimal training and overtraining is so razor thin that small variations in nutrition, sleep, psychological state, or illness can tip the… Read more »

differentview
differentview
5 years ago

You had me all the way till your last paragraph then your true colors shone through. SHAME ON YOU

Eight last start winners in a race

Someone must win and two will place and five will unplace.

I suppose Bruce or you would have a story regards the five about genetics or trainers abilty or them not backing up. There is allways going to be debate.

Thats just life accept it

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

differentview Haha, sorry to disappoint.  You are right, those are my true colours, but I don’t try to hide them.  I don’t feel that exploiting animals purely for the purpose of entertainment and profit is morally justifiable unless it can be done so without any detriment to their welfare.  The only justification for disagreeing with that (that I can see) is to simply consider entertainment and profit to be of greater value than the animal’s welfare and wellbeing – a position which only seems to be plausible if you underestimate the sentience and intelligence of the animals involved.  I realise… Read more »

differentview
differentview
5 years ago

Mate i have been in the dogs for about 45 years now and have seen many ups and downs many many boards come and go many rules changed or developed some for good some for the worse. Presently in our industry it is very demoralized. From you anti types and from within particulary here in QLD where our own hierarchy in RQ are doing every thing they can to grind the dogs down. In my time with many many dogs .All of whom we welped reared educated and raced it was the enjoyment of seeing a puppy we bred come… Read more »

differentview
differentview
5 years ago

See we have not taken poodles or bassets and said come on guys lets see who has the quickest. We race a very magnificent athlete of the canine breed called a GREYHOUND. You seem to like research then research the breed.He has taken hundreds of years to get where he is today. I believe his heart is the biggest per body weight Of any canine by as much as 50 % more than any other. You will also find many many physical difference between this dog and his peers. If there is a God which i dont think there is… Read more »

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

differentview No, I’ve never been involved in training an animal, but that doesn’t undermine my perspective.  I do work with animals and have plenty of experience with them.  I have no doubt that you have dogs that you love and that you treat incredibly well, and that they enjoy the lifestyle.  And if that was the fate of all dogs involved in the sport then I would have little practical objection to it’s operation.  But you know full well that across the industry there are a huge number of dogs that do not live as you describe, and many dogs… Read more »

Hugh_
Hugh_
5 years ago

differentview Nothing you just said is news to me.  I realise that the greyhound has been bred to run fast over many, many generations.  But I’m really not sure what that has to do with anything I’ve said. The comparison I make to humans is with respect to training regimes, and the fact that they are competitive athletes.  This is a valid comparison irrespective of whether one species has been selectively bred and one hasn’t.  And my original comment was to point out that lessons learnt from human training apply to all animal athletes, because those are just physiological questions.… Read more »