ONE of the big lies being spread by the NSW premier and his coterie of political ‘yes’ persons and drawn from the information contained in the McHugh report is that greyhounds are being killed or ‘wasted’ if they are not fast enough to be competitive. Basically, so the line seems to go, if a greyhound fails to earn its keep then in the majority of cases it is sent off to be euthanized.
While it is true that some chasers have been put down because they aren’t much good on the racetrack, even the most cursory glance through almost any form guide from any race meeting you care to name across the country will reveal an incredibly large number of starters who can in no way be considered to be earning their keep.
Yet week after week the owners and trainers of these poor conveyances turn up and race their charges, you would think more in hope of a lucky break than any real thought that their chaser is suddenly going to grow another leg and become the next Zoom Top, Rapid Journey or Fernando Bale.
City race meetings are generally considered to be where the best chasers race. So, it would stand to reason that if there are clearly a number of starters competing at a city-class meeting which could be regarded as failing to pay their way, then widening the net to look at TAB-class and non-TAB-class meetings would reveal even greater numbers of what could be regarded as relative ‘failures’ on the racetrack.
As an exercise I decided to trawl through the form guides for the Saturday night main city meeting at The Meadows on September 3 and then looked at Canberra (TAB) and Muswellbrook (Non-TAB) for September 4.
As any regular greyhound racing follower might expect, it wasn’t hard to find a lot of starters whose racing records are at the lower end of the consistency scale and whose earnings are well below subsistence level. It’s also an exercise that I could replicate every day of the week.
Dusty Roy: 24 starts, two wins, 12 placings $6,935 at $289 (per start)
College Graduate: 85 starts, two wins, 19 placings $6,910 at $81
Roadrunner Thief: 39 starts, three wins, four placings $2,465 at $63
Sunday Sess: 76 starts, four wins, eight placings $8,348 at $110
Gia: 57 starts, five wins, 19 placings $15,825 at $278
Serena Bernea: 75 starts, six wins, 25 placings $10,773 at $144
Craze’s Gift: 21 starts, two wins, five placings $1,310 at $62
One For Anne: 62 starts, three wins, 25 placings $12,601 at $203
Rocky’s Empire: 15 starts, one win, seven placings $2,840 at $189
Ragnarok: 43 starts, four wins, 18 placings $5,361 at $125
Cape Skyblue: 24 starts, two wins, five placings $1,290 at $54
Myalla Griffo: 61 starts, four wins, 22 placings $6,320 at $104
Angry Annie: 18 starts, one win, eight placings $1,870 at $104
Cranky Snagrow: 59 starts, three wins, 15 placings $4,365 at $74
Hillbilly Jo: 17 starts, one win, five placings $860 at $51
Watta Miss: 31 starts, one win, 10 placings $1,225 at $40
Kim Can Dashian: 49 starts, three wins, 13 placings $4,150 at $85
Connie Bear: 75 starts, three wins, 14 placings $4,430 at $59
Chasing Action: 31 starts, one win, 11 placings $1,865 at $60
The message that comes out loud and clear to me from this quick exercise and the above 19 starters is there are plenty of people who race greyhounds for the sheer enjoyment of the sport.
All those greyhounds mentioned above are never likely to make headlines in the racing press, but to me they represent great examples of why greyhound racing is such a wonderful sport for so many people across the nation.
These chasers simply aren’t fast enough in most races to be genuinely competitive, but every now and again they get a break and occasionally break through for a win or pick up a few dollars for their owners by running a place. I would imagine most are destined for the family couch at the end of their careers.
It’s also why people like Mike Baird, Troy Grant, Pru Goward and their ilk can never get their heads around the greyhound racing scene and the people involved in it, because they can’t believe there are people who actually engage in activities which don’t necessarily involve turning a profit at every turn of the annual balance sheet.