Tonight’s meeting at Angle Park is a full meeting. It’s full in numbers, excluding the staying event, but not full in quality. The only reason there is a complete meeting is that there was no meeting on Friday, no Gawler meeting Sunday, and a lot of phone calls made from a panicked grading department chasing numbers.
If you take another look at the fields and take your time, you will notice the following. No Lisa Rasmussen. No Tony Rasmussen. No Petar Jovanovic. No Kim Johnstone. No Karen Bearpark. No Wendy Matcott. No Ken Gill. No Nadine Payne and No Paul Wheeler.
“A lot are disappointed with the decision by GRSA to get rid of the follow on lure. They claim they were doing surveys, but they then used the survey results as a vote. Not all trainers even did the survey. A lot are disappointed, they access dogs from interstate that dogs with marring convictions, but they then don’t marr in South Australia. There is a group of trainers that are showing their protest by standing together to boycott tonight’s meeting.”
“I support them, because I’ve had a lot of success in the past sending dogs to South Australia and New Zealand. One went to New Zealand after marring and was a perfect chaser there and won one hundred thousand over there. I feel there is a definite need for a precinct in Australia with that lure. South Australia were that precinct and now it’s limited to Gawler. I think this is also detrimental to animal welfare and the longevities of some dog’s careers.”
“Australia out of the main greyhound countries including Ireland, the USA and New Zealand are the only country that doesn’t give a dog a reward at the end of a race. I think SA has made a huge blunder in getting rid of the lure.”
“Victoria and New South Wales are the only self-sufficient greyhound states. Every other state relies on the supply of dogs from those two states and South Australia has shot themselves in the foot and removed the incentive. I think they have done themselves a grave injustice. I’m now leaning towards tier 3’s and leaving dogs in Victoria instead of moving dogs to South Australia. I’m already moving that way.”
The follow on lure is massive in relation to animal welfare and the trainer of Cairnlea Layla provides a fantastic example of the good that a follow on lure provides to greyhound racing in general.
“I didn’t have anything to nominate tonight, so it didn’t really affect me regardless. I’ve only got eight in work, but I‘m completely behind them in what they are doing tonight. Cairnlea Layla has two marring convictions in Victoria, and she is racing superbly and has done everything perfectly over here. She is keeping her head straight and she has found a home and another option after Victoria that she might not have got.”
Another interesting topic was raised by leading trainer Kim Johnstone. It was mentioned that this decision is final and won’t be revisited, one would ask why? What if the industry in South Australia suffers as a result of this decision? It might not, but it might, and therefore another “vote” in three years would make perfect sense. This could be a great decision, but it might be horrible.
“I’m devastated by the decision. I can’t believe that there is no follow up on the matter. Who’s to say that there won’t be a swing in the vote over the following three years like there has been in the last three years. The fact that the decision is final is extremely unfair in my opinion. At the bottom of the media release it states that there won’t be further reviews and this isn’t right.”
GRSA CEO Matt Corby was given the right of reply and gave us a detailed statement.
“We said in late 2010 that we would revisit the issue in late 2013 and followed through with that. We put a list of questions to two industry committees, including the ICG, who are a key group, and the questions were approved. It was then mailed directly to the residence of every registered trainer and breeder with a covering letter explaining the process and why we were seeking feedback. It was made clear what was occurring and there was a process in place and the nature of that process indicated that we would potentially act on that feedback.”
“We understand that there is a group of participants who are not supportive of the decision that have made the choice to boycott tonight’s meeting and that is their prerogative. They need to have a think about how this will impact on their fellow industry participants. This is where it potentially goes beyond being reasonable. GRSA will continue to run their meetings in line with the nominations they receive in the following weeks.”
“If you boil this down, all the GRSA have done is seek feedback from its participants on a contentious decision and acted on that feedback. We tried to act faithfully on what the majority of our participants have wanted. When it boils down to it, the process was designed so that the participants would make the decision. It was done by the book. The review was done, the survey was done, and then the compelling feedback was acted upon. The participants have spoken.”
The majority of the participants that have voted have made a decision in favour of the catching pen and this is a decision that could come back to bite them. It would have made perfect sense to have the potential to overturn this decision if industry KPI’s weren’t being reached. But the door on further reviews has been closed. One would hope for the GRSA participants that the decision they have made is the correct one.
Boycott’s weren’t a good thing for racing in NSW and won’t be good for the racing in SA. Turnover will be hurt and therefore income will be hurt. There will also be a bigger divide between the two groups, whether pro catching pen or pro follow on lure, everyone involved is trying to win their slice of the prizemoney pie.
The decision has been made and the decision won’t be changed. A professional board won’t overturn a decision based on the demands of part of an industry.