Attention owners and trainers – Racing Queensland Wants You! Much like the famous posters of James Montgomery’s ‘Uncle Sam’, and Alfred Leete’s ‘Britons Want You’ – Monday nights Albion Park race card further highlighted the despair facing greyhound racing in Queensland.
The past twelve months have been challenging (a lot longer I know). Queensland racing has struggled to attract quality fields to its Albion Park Monday and Thursday night programs over a long sustained period of time. This was highlighted again on Monday night where the club could only produce 8 races – most of which had short fields. Two maidens, one novice, one 600m 5th grade event and four 520m 5th grade heats. 73 total nominations. 6 dogs not required (how?).
Racing Queensland has two premier nights of racing – Monday and Thursday, where prizemoney sets the standard. Saturday at Ipswich has been very successful in the short term and could be partly to blame for the decline at Albion Park, however the problems facing RQ in regards to race fields has been going on for a lot longer than the past few months that Ipswich have provided Saturday night racing.
The quickest solution is to change race programming. The archaic program scheduling to have only 520m (and further) races on Monday and Thursday needs to change immediately. We simply don’t have the number of dogs to provide the product required. Breeding has changed and we only have ourselves (the industry) to blame – we wanted fast dogs. We bred with speed dogs – the problem with the fast dog approach is that not all of these fast dogs can run a strong 500 meters.
We cater for these speed dogs over shorter distances at other times for less money. These dogs race away from the spotlight. Albion Park meetings on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays have at times events made up over 331m, 395m, 520m, 600m and 710m. Surely it’s time to introduce these events to the premier nights of racing? We should reward the quality in these events with their chances at decent prizemoney on a Monday and Thursday.
It’s been done in the past. Look at the successful Thursday night back on the 20th of June 2013. Albion Park hosted one of the best nights of the year – with increased prizemoney and events scheduled over all track distances. I’m not a turnover expert, but the betting pools that night seemed very good. The reason was simple, the product on display. RQ needs to provide the product to attract the consumer.
The Victorian greyhound industry appears to be thriving and participation is fantastic. Race days are highlighted by full 12 race programs with eight dog fields and large crowds. The clubs attract the consumer with themed nights, competitions including shares in pups, a great media commitment and access to the product. It’s thriving. Its amazing to think that Queensland and Victoria have the same product – so why can’t we have the same success. Queensland has the product so how do we capitalise on it?
Australian Racing Greyhound has outlined many of the problems facing RQ in the past, including its lack of transparency, poor prizemoney, poor fields for feature race nights, and the Logan track debacle. The We Run As One campaign has failed to gain the momentum it hoped for. Again – the greyhound industry takes the back seat while the horses drive and harness rides shotgun. It’s time we help sell the product. It’s time we make our voices heard…
How do we encourage new participants?
How do we fix poor race fields, nomination counts and race scheduling?
How can we promote growth?
How should Racing Queensland prioritise the Greyhound racing industry?
Paw Note – The Track –
The uncertainty surrounding the proposed new greyhound track needs to be addressed. The most recent correspondence received from Racing Queensland was on the 14th of February 2014 – an email sent to participants outlining a competition to encourage participants to name the new Logan track. The competition entries close on the 12th of April prior to the April board meeting.
The email states – “Racing Queensland have been working hard behind the scenes following the announcement in September that greyhounds would have a new $12 million home in Logan (currently known as Cronulla Park).”
This email, like news before it, continues to dangle the carrot in front of participants – it’s a very long stick. Racing Queensland have been promising the new track at Logan for years and it’s been on again and off again like a bad Hollywood romance. What RQ need to do is provide transparency – what is happening? What is the delay? When will building commence? What will the track feature? And when can we expect to race? Only once we have transparency will participants be able to plan their future involvement and assist in future growth.