Prospects for the National Distance Championship in Perth have sharpened up no end following Dusty Moonshine’s third successive win over the Wentworth Park 720m trip. One or two is not unusual but three in a row is classy.
While the opposition was not over-strong, the amazing feature of those wins was that they were all in nearly identical time – 41.94, 41.90, and 41.93 – and they were convincing. The longer the trip the better it got. It is no slouch at the start, either, always in the first two or three.
It will start very short in the state final and will have to fall over to lose that. Since it is a fairly good field dog that is unlikely.
The bitch’s only problem at Cannington will be the risk of running off too far on the first turn. It is not a railer but usually works a couple off the fence. Cannington’s turns are not helpful to such runners, especially newcomers to the track.
Meanwhile, just as an exercise, I tried rating Dusty Moonshine by inserting it into Xylia Allen’s heat at Sandown last week. On form, it just shaded Xylia Allen.
I still wonder how El Grand Senor, a definite non-stayer, produced such a racer. Still, Miata did not have obvious help in her background either.
On a lesser note, race 6 at The Meadows on Saturday would have to be the worst exhibition of staying I have seen in years. Sir Gazza and Mimicking flopped over the line to make up the Quinella in a pedestrian 43.53, 21 lengths outside Nellie Noodle’s track record.
Approaching the home turn those two were second last and last. The others decided to have a committee meeting as they turned into the straight.
More amazing was that punters had made Untraceable an even money favourite at its first attempt at the distance, and from a poor box (6). It collapsed like a house of cards on the home turn, which is what happens in these cases nine times out of ten (interference is not an excuse). It would be enough to encourage some retired bookmakers to return to the fold.
Amongst other things, performances like these indicate that efforts by state authorities to boost staying ranks (and there have been plenty) continue to be a dismal failure. The money has been wasted. Stayers are bred, not bought, whether accidentally or not. Fresh ideas are needed.
AND SO IT GOES ON
We need to keep commenting on the nature of the track at The Meadows in the hope that eventually someone will take action.
Last Saturday, with lots of quality sprinters, only two favourites won (at $2.60 and $4.00) which is not too unusual. But eight of the twelve First Fours paid $1,000 or more, indicating that disruptions are occurring in nearly every race, the running order is getting changed in unpredictable ways, and bolters are getting into the placings.
The major symptom in these cases is that even with a fair start, dogs are desperately trying to close in and get around the corner, only to find inside runners either scooting away from them on the sharp curve or veering outwardly to knock them down. It is a “quick and the dead” track – a poor design. Of course, the 600m bend start is even worse than the other two.
The club has made several changes to the sprint start over the years, so someone has realised there is a problem. Even so, it is still much of a muchness. A track might look pretty, but if it does not work well it is a ball and chain for the industry.
Authorities everywhere might consider the impact of these hassles on the prospects for growth in the gambling/punting fraternity. Already, both Sandown and The Meadows experienced negative TAB growth in 2012/2013 compared with the previous year (-0.9%), and income was boosted only by a higher share of state betting commissions. Both tracks are flat out getting full fields and often Novice dogs are making up the numbers. Poor prices offered by Fixed Odds purveyors will not help either.
If someone buys a car with steering problems, they would take it back to the maker to get fixed, but the bad taste would probably cause them to buy another make the next time around. Evidence from several sources suggests this is what has happened to many serious dog punters.
Time to start again.
WHERE ARE YOU
If you are not on the net, you don’t exist.
The new Newcastle Greyhounds club is still virtually anonymous so far as the internet is concerned. No website, no email addresses. Some details are available on the official GRNSW site but unfortunately that still has the Unibet prefix attached to it. Otherwise surfers will find an endless number of Newcastle (UK) mentions as well as a site of unknown origin which tells us all about the NCA club’s operation (although not well written). That one should be taken down.
The good thing is the disappearance of a commercial name tagged on to the club name. That should never be allowed to happen again. A club’s name is its one and only brand. That’s what it has to sell to customers. Valuable as those sponsors are, there is a place for everything