I blame Peter, a website reader, for this. Peter kindly took the time to email this writer regarding my track record article (Get out from behind the desk, and be the customer). He pointed out some errors I had originally made in the pawnote I placed at the end of the piece (which I have since corrected).
This led me to make a concerted effort to try and upgrade and improve my own list of track records. Talk about dancing in a minefield, although while doing this research I inadvertently discovered the two fastest greyhounds to have ever raced.
I started checking the track records via the PDF on the AGRA website. This is the one accessed by clicking the misnamed ‘race records’. A PDF appears, courtesy of the Greyhound Recorder, with a list of all tracks and distances and record holders and their times.
Great, you would think. Except when you start looking into the detail and comparing it with other sources. Wherever I found discrepancies I put a question mark. I then went back through my list and started pulling up the relevant information for each runner and checking the times and dates.
In theory, this should have meant everything could be crosschecked and corrected and I would finish up with an accurate set of track records from across the nation. OK, in the vast majority of cases the figures are correct. Unfortunately, I still finished up with a set of questions.
The classics have to be these gems from The Dogs website (www.thedogs.com.au). This is actually quite a comprehensive and useful website, but under the track information for Broken Hill I found the 375 metre track record is supposedly held by a greyhound named Booma Herbie. The time: a sensational 7.19 seconds.
Just in case you think I’ve hit the wrong set of numbers on the keyboard, that’s seven point one nine seconds. This superstar ran this time on 11 November 2010, 42 months ago. This makes Booma Herbie almost the fastest greyhound in the history of racing, hurtling across the track at 52 metres per second. Booma could have been on Mars before lunch at that speed.
It gets worse. The track record at Lismore was supposedly obliterated on 6 May this year by Rush Of Power, who ran 6.71 seconds (yes, six point seven one) for the 520 metres. Of course this makes Rush Of Power even faster than Booma Herbie.
Now, before you start calling for people who arrive in padded vans and armed with coats that button up at the back, I realize these are typographical errors.
When I worked at DeFax at various times in the 1990s we used to receive a printout of the race meetings held in NSW and would glance through them looking for aberrations of the Booma Herbie/Rush Of Power variety. Any perceived errors would be noted and often meant calling the club secretary to check the information supplied. In all cases it was simply a human error: someone hitting the wrong key on the keyboard. We’ve all done it. What amazes me is that surely someone, somewhere in the NSW administration over the last 42 months would have noticed the Booma Herbie glitch? Apparently not. And Booma Herbie raced another seven times after that ‘unbelievable’ performance.
More mundanely, at Armidale, the Greyhound Recorder has the record for 440 metres accredited to Sawtell Mick at 25.23 (18/2/2012), but misses Monkey Harris who ran the same time on 13 February 2010.
Coonamble is weird; not the place, but the records. Go Now is credited with a hand-timed 22.72 for 400 metres, but his race record notes the best that greyhound ever ran was 22.94 (30/9/2006). Cryptic Dream is also credited with the same time, yet its career record has no evidence of the dog ever racing at Coonamble (career spanned 2005-2006). Proper Fun is assigned the 530 metres record at 30.03, but the best time it ever achieved as far as its official record is concerned was 30.29 (raced 2005-2007).
At Kempsey the 350 metres record is attributed to Nevada Sunset at 19.97, yet I can find no evidence this dog ever raced there.
The Taree record for 314 metres is accredited to Awesome Kitty at 17.81 (23/3/2013) yet Most Wanted ran 17.60 there on 12 November 2005. Crazy Carrie is the 392-metre record holder with 22.12 (8/9/2012) but Chief Stimo ran 22.08 on 17 December 2005.
Velocity Repair is the 498-metre record holder at Townsville, but the record holder is actually Velocity Regina.
The problem, of course, is that we have separate states and territories all running their own databases. Tracks are remodeled from time to time so the previous records become redundant, yet there doesn’t appear to be a mechanism in place to take account of this. Yet from what I can see, most of the glitches are simply human errors that should have been easily picked up.