Amazingly, the club and GRV have scheduled heats and final for a Grade 5 series over 715m with only a four day gap between the two races. This challenges all known evidence of the physiological capability of the greyhound racer. How can we know which of them will sustain the effort? It surely cannot be a serious betting prospect although, nominally, Luna Jinx has a lot on the field.
Life gets no easier in Race 9 when 4th and 5th Grade starters line up over the long trip. Five of these raced seven days ago, while three have had only a four or five day break between races. Three of them are having their fifth start in May, another one (a possible favourite) is having its sixth start. So how much is too much?
Meanwhile, back at Albion Park our old friend, Late Angel Lee, is also having its fifth start in the month over 710m. It has already shown it is short of puff over this trip. It won its first distance start against poor opposition in a moderate 42.41 and has since run unplaced in consecutive weeks in 42.85, 42.91 and 42.56. Good dogs wil break 42 sec or thereabouts at the track.
The sad thing is that Late Angel Lee is a very smart dog over 520m and 600m, where it has won 13 races. It just cannot run out the 710m, so why keep trying, especially when it is not getting a decent break between races?
Whatever the supposed reasons or justifications for these situations, somebody has lost the plot.
It is worth adding that some of these dogs, particularly Late Angel Lee, have demonstrated big finishes over the shorter trips – hence the effort taken to try them over the 700s. Yet performances over 500m, and even 600m, offer no guarantee at all that they will get the long trip. Time and again we have seen good dogs fail to measure up that way. We should not see that as unusual, but normal for a breed which is optimised as a sprinter. Only a very tiny percentage of the population pack enough power to run out 700m.
The upshot of it all is that we, as an industry, are making a mockery of the integrity of the product. We are just kidding the customers.
BUT THERE’S MORE, MUCH MORE
Matters like the scheduling of staying races throw into serious doubt the competence of some administrators and participants to do the right thing. Consider what authorities have been doing recently.
Western Australia’s plans for a new track to replace Cannington in 2015 include a bend start. This is a feature which is known to be dangerous and disruptive. Queensland has done the same thing in at least two of its plans for tracks to replace Albion Park. These horrors exist everywhere now so we are not short of evidence to demonstrate the problems.
South Australia has just decided to dump the follow-on-lure at Angle Park, despite all the evidence – there and at Albion Park – that the FOL is superior in terms of injuries and non-chasing issues. A few noisy trainers have won out against good management decision-making. Other states are ignoring the potential improvements.
In Queensland, the Racing Minister has been seriously criticised in Parliament for incompetence, two of the five Racing Queensland board members have quit in disgust, while the greyhound board has done nothing yet to remedy the serious long term decline in the quality and numbers of dogs.
NSW continues to look on as it loses good dogs to Victoria and fails to attend to serious faults in track designs, both old and re-built, including Wentworth Park. GRNSW has persisted with a plan to shift the Tweed Heads operation into Queensland’s jurisdiction, notwithstanding the massive contractual, legal and constitutional barriers it would have to jump over. Shades of Hutt Province in WA! But at least Prince Leonard gets income from tourists.
Victoria’s average field quality is falling by the day as it inserts more and more races into the mix to fill holes in a rampant Tabcorp calendar. Novice dogs now routinely occupy spots in the major city meetings. Its supposed “profitability” is suspect as like for like turnover comparisons show little or no improvement at most clubs and funds have been boosted only by a government-inspired change in the way TAB commissions have been distributed amongst the codes.
Much of Greyhound Australasia’s work remains farcical as the states make up their own minds about whether to adopt GAL “decisions” and instead create hundreds of pages of local rules, particularly those for grading. In a recent triumph for the bureaucracy, NSW has managed to set up not one but three different grades for veterans races – after the state had virtually ignored the subject for decades. Can they fill three grades?
On top of all that, Tabcorp and Tatts are mercilessly ripping off Fixed Odds customers with scant regard to their original purpose in life – to provide a service to racing.
Is this any way to run an industry? And where will we end up in five or ten years time?