TERRI Morris is calling for more consistency from Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) Stewards when it comes to charging greyhounds with marring and failing to pursue offences.
Morris is the trainer of star greyhound Jesaulenko, which was recently slapped with a three-month disqualification after being charged with his second marring offence when finishing second in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup last month.
Morris appealed the decision unsuccessfully with the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) and has since been granted a stay of proceedings by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
The stay of proceedings was conditional, with Jesaulenko able to race following a satisfactory trial at Warragul last week, at least until Morris’ VCAT hearing in January.
While Morris concedes her greyhound did not perform to his best on Melbourne Cup night, she is convinced that the son of College Causeway and Elite Fairy did not make contact with the winner, Ando’s Mac.
“If you watch the head on vision, there is no clear head or muzzle contact – and that’s why I appealed and went to the RADB and when that was unsuccessful I went to VCAT,” Morris told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I would accept it if there was something there, but there isn’t so I feel the dog has been harshly penalised.”
Morris says the conditions on Melbourne Cup night affected her greyhound pre-race, while she believes several other chasers may have been put off.
“The gas blower went off as I was arriving at the boxes and the music even down in the kennel blocks was moving the kennels,” she said.
“All the dogs on the night were absolutely petrified – it was not a great environment for dogs, which was pretty disappointing.
“I have got a really confident dog – he goes out there and struts his stuff and nothing phases him – but on Cup night he was nuzzled into the side of my leg he was that scared.
“There were seven other dogs in the race and I don’t think we got to see any of them at their best because of what was going on.”
All up, Jesaulenko has received three charges throughout his career – the first being a failure to chase in June 2015, with Morris claiming he was found to be injured after the run.
The second offence was also at Sandown Park on March 17, this time for marring, for which he was suspended for 28 days.
The latest charge saw him cop three months, the automatic disqualification period for a second marring offence.
Even if you agree with stewards on the Melbourne Cup incident, Morris is adamant her greyhound did not fight when slapped with his first charge on March 17.
If Jesaulenko had not received the first charge, the Melbourne Cup incident would have only put him out of play for 28 days.
“The first marring offence – hmmm. I was very disappointed with that ruling and I think that will be looked at by the VCAT as well,” Morris said.
“I have had so many people tell me how hard done by he was that day and they will send me videos of races – you will see dogs fighting others off the track and the trainers don’t even get called in.
“If you have got a dog and they are forced to sit out for three months – that’s a long time in their career.”
Morris said the most important thing she is hoping to achieve out of applying to VCAT is consistency from stewards, with her main concern being that greyhounds which, in her opinion, have demonstrated worse racing habits than Jesaulenko have not been charged.
“I like to see consistency and my dog is consistent, so I would like to see that same consistency from the stewards.
“I don’t care if it’s a tier three race or the Melbourne Cup – they should all be treated the same.
“It’s not me that’s been hard done by – it’s the dog. He is not aggressive; he is the most placid dog you will find.
Australian Racing Greyhound contacted GRV regarding the consistency of its marring and failing to chase charges, however they had not responded at the time of publication.