So why give it away? Why dilute your message? That’s what the Lismore club, or perhaps the big brother looking after it, the NSW GBOTA (we don’t know), has done in selling that privilege to an online bookmaker. It’s not the first time as the NCA did it when they ran The Gardens club in Newcastle.
GRNSW has gone along with the change and printed the new name in all its publications, including form guides and results services. In theory, that means hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of records around the country also need to change, just as they would if you changed the racing distances.
I can recall decades ago shouts of disapproval when a club first sold race sponsorship to an outside organisation (was it Bulli?) and all the traditionalists complained bitterly. At the time, I could not see great harm in that and it has become the norm since then. But to give away your basic title is a risky step. It lessens the importance of your operation. And what happens if the advertiser gets sick of it all and quits?
There is no upside to this practice, apart from a few pieces of silver. What we should be advertising is the greyhound, not the wagering operator.
Run of the week
Never mind all the big shots. The most extraordinary exhibition came in a modest fifth grade at Sandown on Thursday from Usain I’m Nutty (Dyna Tron-Dyna Gillian).
After just an average start from box six, the dog was still only level with the leaders halfway down the back straight. Then it poured on the power and won by 13 lengths in 29.45. They weren’t mugs behind it either, as a couple had previously run 29.6 and 29.7.
Tardy starts and an odd name will be its only barrier to fame.
It was almost encouraging to see only 11 races at The Meadows mid-week meeting on the 21st, and again at Horsham on Saturday. I find 10 races are plenty to occupy my time, although you can always dismiss the maidens (two in each case) as betting propositions. Ditto for Novice events, which are just a gamble anyway.
Nominations had been held open for The Meadows meeting so that’s a further indication of a shortage of starters. Only one race had a short field but that was a longer one (600m) which is par for the course.
Ballarat had three 660m heats on the same night, two of which were also short of starters. Ricky Fields lowered the sectional time standard (to 12.42) but faded in the run home, He still won but in slow overall time.
According to big bookie Rob Waterhouse at Randwick last weekend “Race times were very slick. The best horse won most races. The punters bet right up on a track they could trust”. (SMH, January 18).
He was talking about the state of the track there (good). Weather effects on greyhound tracks are perhaps not so vital, although wind and leaders kicking up clumps of loam on wet tracks can be issues. However, are greyhound punters sufficiently trustful of the actual layouts, or does high interference turn them off?
There is a case that cutting the interference in half could encourage punters to bet more and more often on the dogs.
Not so trivial (3)
Should we learn from Nike and top tennis players how to make use of Dayglo green, yellow and pink?
All would make it easier to locate rug colours in the back straight or in bad light. Distinguishing blue from green and red from pink is never easy. It’s fine if they are right in front of you but it’s a different story in the heat of battle.
I once saw a race (for whippets) where the five dog wore a bright yellow vest. It worked brilliantly.
Come to think of it, why don’t we see whippet races any more? They used to be an interesting feature of greyhound meetings, just like the Jack Russells. The public enjoyed them. Space in the kennels might be a problem but surely we could find a way around that.
Race 6, 680m, Warragul, January 23
“Opec Bale, Time Dimension and Coulta Rock were slow to begin”
In fact, Coulta Rock began with them, dashed to the lead and was eight lengths in front in the back straight.
“Opec Bale checked off Paris Sparks on the first turn checking Time Dimension”.
Actually, Opec Bale gave Time Dimension a highly questionable shove as they went round the first turn. This dog is talented but is proving a problem for punters as it moves up in class. It starting price of $1.60-$1.80 was far too skinny given its risky starts.
In the same race Zipping Spike, which was well fancied in early betting and started second favourite around $4.00, got way fairly well, raced where it prefers in the centre of the track in third place for a while, and then meandered to the finish in 39.67, 11.5 lengths behind the winner. The dog was coming back after a month off following top performances in the 650m Sale Cup. It was either unfit, injured or just not interested. Stewards made no comment.
Race 4, 600m, The Meadows, January 24
“Olive’s Gift crossed to the rail approaching the first turn, checking Sonic Pirate”.
Never touched it. Olive’s Gift jumped clear at the start and stayed there for half the race.