IN THEIR 1971 release ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, the British band The Who ended the song with the lines ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss’. Well, Racing Queensland officially launched a ‘new’ website on April 20 with claims of improved usability ‘and providing greater access to data.’
According to the announcement from RQ, ‘The new site…will carry the same information and data as the existing site, but present it in a brand new look with additional race day information and exciting new content.’
I spent a couple of hours digging into the site a week after its launch, on the basis any glitches would, hopefully, have been ironed out by then. Sadly, I have to say it reminded me of the aforementioned song by The Who. The website fails to reach any great heights, and I’m guessing the only people who pre-tested it were the members of the association for the colour-blind and, possibly, some English literature majors in Dar es Salaam.
The colours are not user-friendly in my opinion. OK, they’ve played the Maroon card here (to show some kind of Queensland state of origin solidarity thing I suppose), but this is a website guys, not some attempt to be artsy and rugby league-centric at the same time.
The headings at the top of the site are hard to read, although I’m sure Johnno ‘Boner’ Tosspot, or whatever name the graphic designer may go by, thinks it’s real modern-looking and ‘hip’: “you know, like, you old farts just don’t get it, man…hipsters don’t read, man, like, you know.” I’ve had to deal with artsy graphics types over the years and frankly they just don’t get it. People come to a newspaper, magazine, or website to find information, which usually involves having to read some words. The graphics and design should complement the words and be subtle, not be an attempt at recreating the imagery of Hieronymous Bosch.
So, let’s look at the headlines on this site as they were at 7pm on Monday, April 27.
‘Bryant kennel claims five in Cairns’. Good story. This magnificent achievement took place on April 19 and was achieved by trainer Emma Bryant, who managed to get three of her charges into the RQ Maiden 1000 final, due for decision on April 26. The news report, poorly written, but at least it’s better than nothing, was dated April 20.
Then we have ‘Blistering fields at the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club’s Derby Final Night’. Yes, that would be the Derby that took place on April 23. The article begins: ‘Tonight’s Albion Park Greyhound meeting boasts amazing talent, starting in Race 1 where the son of QLD greyhound racing’s highest prizemoney earner, the great Glen Gallon’s takes to the track. “By The Gallon” starts from Box 6 – Race 1 in the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Clubs 520m Novice race. She showed impressive speed in the final section of her Maiden win at Ipswich on April 11…’
So, in the space of two sentences we have a greyhound named By The Gallon going from being a ‘son of…’ to ‘She showed…’
So, did Emma Bryant manage to win that Cairns final on April 26? Did By The Gallon sort out its confused gender position and score at Albion Park on April 23? Perhaps the reason that race hasn’t been reported on is because the person tasked with the write-up is also confused.
Let me make it easier for you: if the ‘Sex of Greyhound’ section has a ‘B’ that means it is a bitch, a female. Obviously, if it has a ‘D’ that will make it a dog, a male.
By The Gallon is a bitch, and sadly she finished at the tail of the field on Thursday April 23, probably having been upset by the confusing references to her gender in the ‘new’ Racing Queensland website.
As for Emma Bryant, well, she did win the final (with a greyhound named Cosmic Lamp) while her other two charges finished third and eighth.
Is it any wonder the thoroughbred types look down their collective noses at greyhound racing? A writer who can change the gender of a racing greyhound in the space of two sentences and not notice; articles that appear on a website that are between four and seven days old, and refer to events which have now well and truly taken place, but no update is yet to be seen.
Basically, nothing has changed in the Sunshine State as far as greyhound racing is concerned. The window dressing of a new website is just that, window dressing. Given the almost historical nature of the news stories on the site I fully expect to be able to look under the ‘Thoroughbred’ tab and see a headline like ‘Bernborough wins the Newmarket Handicap in sensational fashion’ or under the ‘Harness’ tab it might be ‘Paleface Adios scores 100th win’. Much of the English-speaking world moved over from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752; just don’t tell anyone at Racing Queensland or they will be even more confused than they already are.