Forget the blackout in Superbowl XLVII. The biggest power failure in sporting history is now the back to back power failures at Callaghan Park, the home of the Rocky Greyhounds.
In 2013 America’s greatest spectacle, the Superbowl, suffered a 35 minute power outage shortly after the half time show. The event was watched by millions around the world and featured the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers. The Superbowl is famous for its glitz and glamour, it’s million dollar advertisements, and American’s love of food and holidays. On this occasion the game was delayed – unprecedented in all it’s history. The Louisiana Superdome was left pitch black, with players and officials milling around the field, while technicians worked frantically to have the event back up and running, which took 35 minutes.
Imagine then the problems for Racing Queensland with the Rockhampton greyhounds being forced to abandon their past two meetings well after the scheduled start time due to problems with power. It gets better, the meeting this Wednesday has already been transferred to Townsville and there is no solution to the problem in sight.
Power Failure 1 – 12th of March 2014
The fields were drawn for the 10 race program (although nominations were extended due to short numbers) including the feature maiden final.
Unfortunately the races were delayed, with on course stewards and staff working to fix the problem as some of the lights on track weren’t working. RQ were keeping trainers in the dark as well, until finally bad news filtered through. The meeting was abandoned. There was no explanation, just news that the maiden final would be rescheduled – all other dogs would be forced to nominate again if wanting to race next week.
Power Failure 2 – 19th of March 2014
Another 10 race program and the one highlight for Racing Queensland would have been that this week had greater number of nominations than the previous. For trainers and owners the excitement had regrouped and The Rockhampton Greyhound Racing Club were forgiven for lasts weeks debacle.
Unfortunately in a case of déjà vu with the races were delayed and the meeting abandoned again. The industry was again being kept in the dark, as was the Rockhampton circuit. Trainers would again be making the long trip home asking why.
Two weeks in row and Racing Queensland had provided no races, no communication and no idea.
On Thursday the 20th of March 2014 Racing Queensland released the following statement:
“The race meeting on 12th March was abandoned due to a partial loss of power into the racecourse. Ergon Energy advised that a branch had come down on two wires resulting in a fuse tripping on the power pole near the Rockhampton – Emu Park Road (across the road from the Victoria Tavern). This resulted in the racecourse losing one phase of power giving variable power to the facility.
The race meeting on the 19th March was abandoned due to an electrical fault in the on-course switchboard. Unfortunately due to the nature of this issue it couldn’t be rectified last night.
RQ is working closely with the RGRC and local contractors to resolve this issue as soon as possible.”
In some good news for trainers and owners, Racing Queensland have distributed to all acceptors an even percentage of the total scheduled events prizemoney. At least this helps with some of the costs involved.
The Trainers Reactions
ARG spoke with some Rocky trainers who expressed their dismay that the same could occur two weeks in row. With news that next weeks meeting has already been transferred trainers were naturally expressing their frustration.
“We are out of pocket, there are some trainers that drive in excess of 4 hours each way, surely more can be done to compensate those involved.”
“Abandoning a meeting can effect a dogs future. Those dogs that are out of form and were drawn to race may now struggle again to get a run. It could be weeks or months before they race again.”
“Abandoning the meeting means that all dogs have to renominate and it doesn’t seem fair to those that had been drawn to race then the following week they miss out or are reserve. Who knows what will happen when racing at Rocky resumes.”
“Why has next Wednesday been moved to Townsville, surely we could race Wednesday afternoon.”
Trainer and owners aren’t happy and they shouldn’t be.
The latest events at Rocky are just further holes in the hull of the sinking Racing Queensland ship. The Queensland board lacks direction and leadership and more needs to be done to show transparency, participants needs to be involved in the decision making process and help guide the decisions affecting the future. The participants are the ones that need to know.
Racing Queensland will argue that these events were bad luck. Week one yes, but two weeks in a row, no. That’s where planning is needed. There should be contingency plans in place that were readily available. Forget sky and fix the problem. The problem isn’t the need for live video into pubs, clubs and people’s home. It’s about looking after the product and those that provide it, the owners and trainers. That’s where Racing Queensland continue to get it wrong.