New South Wales GHRRA Stewards have taken the easy road and delivered an open finding against Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club Chairman Geoff Rose. The finding comes at an embarrassing time for the NSW GBOTA, on the eve of their feature race of the year, the Golden Easter Egg; as Rose is Deputy Chairman of the NSW GBOTA; the major racing club in charge of greyhound racing in New South Wales.
Rose, who also sits on the Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA) board, became embroiled in a swab fiasco when he took custody of the swab samples from the Gunnedah meeting on the 31st January 2009. Amongst the swab samples taken that day was one from his own greyhound, Mundine’s Hope.
On the day in question Mundine’s Hope started a well supported $1.80 favourite and won by 6.75 lengths in 19.62, just .02 outside the best of the day. It was Mundine’s Hope’s first win in eight starts.
NSW GHRRA found themselves forced to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the swabs, when the swab samples and paperwork from the meeting failed to arrive at the NSW GHRRA offices.
Further inquiries found Geoff Rose was left with custody of the samples and was supposed to send them by Express Post to the GHRRA. They never arrived.
In inquiry Rose asserted they he did send the swabs and associated paperwork from the Gunnedah Post Office but could not produce any receipt or Express Post tracking number to support his claims, claiming “the Club had lost them”.
Remarkably, NSW GHRRA rules clearly state that :
- R104 Suitability, availability and restrictions on conduct of Stewards and officials
- (1) Except as the Controlling Body may determine any person who is, or resides with, an owner, trainer or attendant of a greyhound competing at a meeting, shall not act as an official at the meeting.
- (3) Unless the Controlling Body determines otherwise-
(a) all clubs, officers and members of clubs shall comply with these Rules and the directions of the Controlling Body and officers of the Controlling Body; and
(b) a club official is appointed on the condition that the official will comply with these Rules. A club failing to inform a person of this requirement at or prior to the time of the appointment as an official, shall be guilty of an offence.
- (6) An official officiating in a capacity that may have an affect on the result of an Event shall not-
(a) own, train or lease a greyhound in the Event;
(b) adjudicate on a matter in which he is involved in a personal as opposed to an official capacity; or
(c) directly or indirectly engage in any betting transaction on that event.
With the Rodney Potter ICAC corruption scandal still fresh in most people’s minds, we at Australian Racing Greyhound find it incredulous that any person be put in charge and be reponsible for sending their own greyhound’s swab for testing. The Recommendations of ICAC’s report on the Greyhound Racing industry (The Greyhound Report) clearly reinforced that Stewards and Officials officiating in a capacity that may have an effect on the result of a race should not adjudicate on a matter in which they are involved in a personal capacity.
In fact on the 30th December 2008, the GHRRA themselves saw integrity issues still hadn’t been effectively addressed at Non-Tab meetings and sought to introduce measures to “prevent licensed persons performing regulatory functions for any race at a NSW Greyhound meeting if he/she has a Greyhound entered in that race.”
The New South Wales GRNSW at the time opposed the further measures, stating “that Rule 104 already provides a mechanism to address the issue identified by the GHRRA”, and GRNSW Chairman Professor Percy Allan AM admitted he is ” unclear …. as to why the GHRRA considers the current rule, which has stood the test of time, is no longer considered adequate”. Clearly though Allan was looking at the underlying issues of the new policy and while conceding the move would improve integrity, he seemed more concerned with increased cost of that improved integrity.
Just one month after the GHRRA issued their statement about improving integrity at Non-Tab meetings, we have a high profile greyhound industry member who has, it would seem; obviously contravened Rule 104. By failing to effectively deliver the swab samples to the GHRRA, Geoff Rose has clearly affected the result of his own race.
Mundine’s Hope’s race win on the 31st January 2009 at Gunnedah will now stand. It has too. There is no laboratory report on the swab taken that day from Mundine’s Hope to either prove or disprove that the greyhound raced “clean”.
Most disturbingly though, is the open finding delivered by the NSW GHRRA. There seems to be clear evidence that Rose has broken Rule 104 at the very least. The issue of whether or not he sent the swab samples and paperwork, although potentially disturbing; becomes secondary.
Why was Rose not charged and penalised under Rule 104?
GHRRA Stewards would only state that they had “grave concerns as to the circumstances surrounding the missing articles but do not have sufficient evidence to lay charges against any person or body at this stage”. They further stated that thay have “left an open finding in relation to the matter and will re-open the inquiry if any further information becomes available.”
And yet in another quote from the report they found that “Mr. Geoff Rose of the Gunnedah Club advised that he had delivered the paper work and swabs to the Gunnedah Post Office and forwarded them by Express Post”. It is obvious that they accept that Rose was in custody of the samples and officiating on a matter that he had vested personal interest.
It seems to us at Australian Racing Greyhound, that they have infact made a finding but have lacked the courage and conviction to “pull the trigger” and issue a penalty against the Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club Chairman and NSW GBOTA Deputy Chairman.