Showcasing the greyhound

Is it time to pull another rabbit out of the hat?

It’s fascinating – or ghastly, depending on where you stand – that newspapers are reporting that the prices of some pet dogs have jumped from around $3,500 to $7,500 as the Covid saga drags on. That’s for the oddball mixtures of dogpoodles under various made-up names. It seems they are highly fashionable these days, despite some worrying genetic outcomes amongst the pups and, indeed, from puppy farms.

By comparison, that $7,500 would have bought you Flying Ricciardo (Barcia Bale x Megalodon) at the Gold Muzzle Auction at Richmond. The same dog at 21 months picked up the Black Top sprint at Newcastle last August and is now looking at the possibility of a Million Dollar purse with $85,380 already tucked away in its bank account. That Auction’s average sale was worth $5,900.

Fido, the poodle mix, will have earned nothing and will almost certainly have a shorter life span than Flying Ricciardo. The mixes always do, while the purebred greyhounds will average 12 years or so and most will be suitable for re-homing if they get bored with racing. As a result, their elapsed times as a family pet will be much the same.

If there is not a sales message here, I have never seen one. It screams out for an advertising campaign, assisted by thousands of brochures on this and other subjects – life at stud, the greyhound breed’s huge history, GAP, educating the youngsters, how dogs race, what develops stayers, how to read formguides, a Veteran’s life after four years of age, and so on and so forth.

That would cost money, of course, but it could pay dividends in the long haul. For example, skipping the recent round of prize money increases might cause consternation, but those same beneficiaries could get an even bigger bonus down the track were more people to bet and more to have a crack at owning their own dog. That would be the real dividend.

There will be naysayers who deplore the exploitation of both animals and gamblers yet fail to realise that reliable income is the means to the end of sustaining and advancing the breed. Any breed. Any animal.

Without cash it can be difficult to attend to an animal’s everyday needs, never mind its long term survival.

Across The Borders

When medals are being handed out we sometimes forget the huge contribution made by a handful of big owners (not Wheeler, of course, he does OK). But Ray Borda, boss of the Macro Group (game meat etc), would have to be in the top ranks with some 600 greyhounds in his name

On Thursday night ten young Borda-owned dogs ran around Warrnambool for four wins, three thirds and three unplaced. A great performance, highlighted by the fact that they were in the care of six different trainers. Remarkably, on the same day a further 14 trainers at other tracks were looking after more Borda-dogs with only one overlap between them and the Warrnambool group.

The Warrnambool club fielded a full 12-race program, in contrast to the revitalised Sandown club the same night. It managed only 11 races and only two of those had a full field, despite paying over $5,000 for a win compared to Warrnambool’s $1,400.

Meanwhile, up North, a hard-to-follow Rasheda (My Bro Fabio x Born Ali) scorched around Albion Park in 41.35, only two lengths outside Tornado Tears track record. Two differences were a more helpful jump than usual (16.00 sectional) and a good turn from the red which moved off on the awkward first turn and held up the second favourite.

But it’s worth noting that Rasheda had enjoyed a three week break after returning from a campaign in Sydney.

Trained by Tony Apap, the dog now has won 15 from 54 starts but with 19 placings. It’s owned by breeding guru David Brasch who should know a thing or two about stayers and, I think, formerly an owner of Trojan Tears. As he now lives in Port Macquarie it’s also possible he may have shifted his Origin support to the Blues?

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