THERE is no stopping Allen Deed when he gets the right race. Saturday night’s record 29.38 run at The Meadows was power-personified and well inside Heston Bale’s three year old time of 29.45. The dog now owns a package of brilliant runs in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney.
This time Allen Deed was blessed with an empty box and a slow beginner inside him so had no trouble working into second place in the back straight. After that he simply powered past Musquin Bale to win by an extraordinary six lengths.
The run contrasted with four shockers in succession at Sandown in November, good and bad runs at Ballarat, followed later by smart performances at Sale over the longer trip – where he was badly blocked on the home turn in the Cup final (but was not going to win anyway). He is not easy to pick but is all quality when he gets it right.
Those Sandown runs remain a mystery as stewards failed to query the runs or take a swab.
The same mid-race power was also evident in Above All’s big win over favourites Dyna Double One and Dyna Villa in the Silver Chief final. Although the other two are capable of faster time than Saturday’s 29.78, both were psyched out of the race by the winner. Above All did no more than equal its time in the semi. All three are just under or over two years old so you can’t expect miracles every time they come out. Times are not everything, are they? In fact, Above All’s times in the heat and final of the Hobart Thousand last month were chalk and cheese – the latter breaking the track record.
Both these wins remind us of the obvious: winning runs depend on four things – natural ability, fitness, the circumstances of the race, and good luck. Dogs which get those right half the time are doing very well.
Why Is It So?
Apparently, a few readers find it unimportant to hear that stewards might not be getting things right. That’s their right, but I beg to differ. Not because some of the cases mentioned here are life and death matters, but because they are illustrations of a serious lack of attention to accuracy and consistency.
Indeed, if I had my way stewards would have even greater responsibilities and more pay than they do now, providing only that they do better. For example, as regular supervisors of races at all locations, they should be able to advise on track features which affect the clean running of a race – box positions, turn design, etc, etc. To do that they may well require better education, more training in form analysis, dog habits, betting practices and statistics, etc. So be it.
People seem to be under the impression that stewards are there just to thump errant dogs and trainers yet their prime responsibility is to the public – to ensure racing is fair and above board, that the rules are followed, and to do so in a way that the public understands. Establishing the facts, the truth, is a vital part of that job. If they cannot do that, their purpose is lost.
But doing their job well also serves to better promote the sport and enhance its profitability. This is an under-rated bonus.
One suggestion I would make is that administrations should introduce supplementary guidelines on what actually constitutes failing to chase or fighting (use of the politically correct but oblique term of “marring” has never impressed me), and which sort of offence would attract what penalty. The basic racing rule is clear but it does not go far enough and needs what government law makers describe as an “explanatory memorandum”. That might avoid the confusion which we have commented on here previously. It could also contribute to national consistency.
Anyway, here are two more examples of basic errors.
Race 5, Geelong, January 2.
“Bally Sleek (8) crossed to the rail soon after the start checking Benzo Bale (5), Aston Dima (4), Francesco (9) and Chappy (3). Spring Collete (10) checked off Bally Sleek approaching the first turn.”
Bally Sleek was well clear of the four dogs mentioned and had no effect whatever on their progress. The second part of the comment is correct but it might also have been true just after the jump as Spring Collete was coming out of the 7 box, adjacent to the leader.
It is noticeable that the steward at Geelong stands to the left of the boxes and on the track proper. He would therefore have an oblique view of what the 8 dog is actually doing. Why are elevated positions not available to greyhound stewards, as occurs at the gallops?
Track Comment: On average, coming over from outside boxes is not particularly easy for Geelong’s 460m trip unless the dog is a really smart beginner. However, the trip’s major peculiarity is that a significant proportion of runners lose the turn into the straight, thereby changing the running order. Clearly, the track camber is at fault. Occasionally, you may see dogs get alarmingly close to the outside fence or even to the 596m boxes.
PS: Geelong’s track map on the GRV website badly needs updating.
Race 3, The Meadows, 3 January.
“Little Pookie (5) crossed to the rail soon after the start, checking Cincinnati Lee (4), Dyna Vikkers (3), Run Sophie Run (2) and Stetson Quamby (1)”.
This never happened. Little Pookie was always well clear of the other four dogs and did not reach the rail until well around the turn. The other dogs did their own mixing.