Shakey Jakey’s 29.07 record run at Wentworth Park was amazing, particularly for a Maiden, but it has also eclipsed one other world famous figure. To date, nothing has ever got near to Brett Lee’s 28.88 run over Angle Park’s 515m trip. That was an average speed of 17.83 m/sec, yet Shakey Jakey’s time over 520m was at a rate of 17.89 m/sec on what is certainly a tougher track. That puts it in rarefied territory, unsurpassed on a circle track anywhere here or overseas. It’s right up there with Black Magic Opal’s 25.11 over Geelong’s one-turn 460m, averaging 18.32 m/sec.
Nevertheless, it was also out of kilter with the prevailing trend. Of the last 50 track records, 30 were run at distances from 460 m down to 312m. Many of the remainder were at less competitive country tracks, re-built tracks or over lightly used trips. Obviously, the push is on to produce speedier but less robust dogs.
David Pringle’s 23 months old Shakey Jakey (Collision-Kiacatoo Pearl – her 3rd litter) is a massive exception to the rule. Indeed, the way he went into the pen he looked as though he could go around again at the same rate. Not only that, but he handled the track beautifully. And, apparently, there are more like him to come. Bring it on!
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Still on statistics, our latest survey of the number of dogs actually racing has continued to edge upwards. The calendar year averages are shown here.
These figures are obtained by scanning all Australian race fields and results for individual dog names – no doubling up. In the March quarter of 2014, the trend continued on a like for like basis.
More dogs race in Winter and Spring than in the warmer months.
To comment sensibly on these figures we would also need to see breeding figures for the same years. Sadly, GAL still has not produced figures for 2012 and 2013. However, trends from 2002 to 2011 were flat or negative, which suggests more dogs from each litter are getting to the track, or dogs are racing more often, or more likely both. That interim conclusion is supported by the increase in the number of races, particularly from mid-2010 when NSW, Victoria, and later SA, introduced low prize races to cater for slow dogs. Several clubs have also added ultra short races to their programs. All of these moves tend to encourage lesser dogs, so where will it end?
WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE THINKING
Cash in Hand?
Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson and Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens have been warning us that the next ten years will see real income per person easing off from its recent high rate. Parkinson predicts growth will fall from the 2.3% p.a. “to which Australians have become accustomed” to around 0.7% (reported by Ross Gittins at Fairfax Media). Not a catastrophe but it may leave the average worker with a bit less to play with than he once had.
But that’s the bit that sustains wagering, especially from the mug gambler category which has already become more important to racing. It follows another trend of recent years in a shift away from betting at unsociable times, such as late at night, to twilight meetings when workers are having a drink on the way home.
Even a few years ago I can recall advising the Bulli club not to worry when GRNSW, playing musical chairs with race dates, shifted it from its preferred Wednesday night slot to the twilight zone. Yes, it did do better. Now it is back in the old slot again but tending to be outranked by Dapto on Thursdays, which was never the case historically. In another example, we have previously mentioned that NSW punters regularly bet more on Horsham on Tuesday afternoons than they do on Sandown on Thursday night, despite the difference in field quality.
Anyway, the fix for the economic concerns and their influence on pay packets is to make the country more productive – more output per person in real terms. That has not been easy to achieve recently as mining activity eases off and employment figures are wobbly.
All the more reason for racing to sharpen its pencil and seek out ways of spending money on stuff which provides a better return – better tracks, new customers, improved public relations and getting rid of subsidies. The competition will get tougher.
Professor Edward J. Blakely, an American currently attached to the University of Sydney, has been studying the rise and rise of the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta, which lies at the epicentre of the city’s population. He says it offers a great example for administrators.
“What can we learn from Parramatta? First, sitting and waiting is not going to shape the future of any community. Second, all civic leaders must learn from other places, not by imitation but by seeing the ingredients that will create a better future and mixing them together to fit their local circumstances. Finally, people, quality and community amenity attract jobs, not merely good plans or available land. Strong leadership with a well-articulated vision helps create the market conditions that both attract and sustain a strong local economy”.
“Parramatta is a lesson for all NSW on how to build tomorrow’s urban industrial future by attracting and retaining the quality human resources who will create and attract the new jobs that will sustain the region’s and the nation’s economy”.
The full story is at .smh.com.au/comment/why-parramatta-is-nsws-best-suburb-20140406-zqrgt.html
Directly, this has nothing to do with racing. However, the principles are readily transferred.