29th June 2020
(Opens to a third party website)
Over the last two weeks I’ve had my say on the state of our industry with track closures and various other topics since racing has returned. I feel very disappointed at the way our sport is going and the fact we seem nothing more than a bookmakers' product. Hopefully this week when the open racing returns at Romford on Friday and our big competitions get underway at Central Park on Sunday and then Hove in two weeks' time I will feel a little bit more heartened. I have to say my feelings also took a dip when I heard the devastating news that our brilliant 2019 TV Trophy winner Bumblebee Bullet firstly badly broke a hock on Monday in a trial at Shelbourne Park then sadly passed away under anaesthetic when being operated on during Friday, my heart goes out to the Bruiser Boyz syndicate who have had a roller coaster of a ride over the last few years with the likes of Billys Bullet, Bruisers Bullet and Bombers Bullet to name but a few. Last night our luck was right out when our prolific Coolavanny Messi, warming up for the opens, won a D1 by a mile but was clattered into at the pick up and is currently at the vets with a fractured skull right behind his left eye. We are hopeful of a full recovery though his racing career will be in doubt and will know more when we pick him back up later today. To say I’m a shade disappointed that our open racing didn’t start within a week or two of graded racing is an understatement, if it had Bumblebee Bullet wouldn’t have gone to Ireland in the first place and Coolavanny Messi would have been racing elsewhere and not in graded company or is it just me bemoaning our luck!
Now I had a call from a trainer yesterday who is a good friend of mine and he talked about a phone conversation he had from a well known figure in the sport, I’m not naming names but the conversation was about setting up a new association of owners, trainers and breeders. All very well but in my humble opinion I’ve been involved in numerous associations that never seem to work or actually change anything in the sport despite some great efforts from those involved, they are either too confrontational or find themselves totally at war with each other in the way they want to go about things. With trainers it’s way too hard to dedicate the time needed to actually make a difference whereas owners seem over passionate and occasionally over opinionated on how the sport should be run with many not knowing the intricacies needed to effect change. Breeders are probably more realistic on what’s needed but many have decided that it’s a lot more economical to turn their establishments into boarding kennels as it’s a lot easier to make it pay than trying to breed a litter of greyhounds I’m sad to say!
So what’s the answer, again I maybe thinking aloud but my idea wouldn’t be to run an association but a National Club. The club would have to be run by greyhound enthusiasts rather than trainers who neither have the time or in a lot of cases the presence to make it work. The club would have to have NO political agendas and be a club that is purely set up for the promotion and the future of our sport. Yes you may say that shouldn’t be left to enthusiasts to sort but it could be the answer to rejuvenate our sport. For me the key to the club would be a simple one, have a lottery style draw each week where members who join have a free ticket, create a website that has secure payments on, members who join the club as well as getting a free ticket each week can also buy another ticket for £2 or as many tickets as they like, make the first prize a good one to start with of say £5,000. If there was, and I would be very hopeful of this, way over £5,000’s worth of tickets sold each week then the additional money would go to sponsoring graded races/competitions across the country, now what promoter wouldn’t refuse a prize money boost at their track? We have probably 15,000 owners registered not counting many more who are just in syndicates and I would say around 600 trainers and breeders, if there was a huge promotion of the club involving a massive social media drive I see no reason why, within a few weeks, you couldn’t get at least 50% of all owners, trainers and breeders to join the National Club and to be honest why wouldn’t the GBGB want to help promote this? If members all bought one ticket for £2 you could easily swell the pot to over £20,000 per week and that’s without anyone buying £10 or £20 worth each week which I’m sure some of our more affluent owners could do knowing that it’s helping the sport in a big way.
For the club to work it would just need a great website (with the most secure payment system), a huge social media presence and a page on the website with total transparency on how many tickets it sells each week and how much is in the pot. 50% of sales should go into the lottery draw and 50% (maybe less 1 or 2% to help run the website) going to fund future graded races and occasionally an open competition (especially for British Bred competitions). Of course most importantly it needs someone (or a team) who have the time to dedicate to running such an important club properly, again it is so important not to have any political angle to it as it’s a club for all greyhound people, in fact there’s no reason why you would have to be an owner, trainer or breeder to join, you could be just someone who loves greyhound racing or someone who works in the industry. Imagine getting 40 or 50,000 members who all buy a ticket for £2 every week, wow! wouldn’t we all like to boost prize money by 50k every week across the board!
I could think of so many ideas on a National Club if it had the funds, as well as prize money boosts you could have small prizes for Graded Greyhound of the month, Open Race performance of the month, Graded Trainer of the month. If funds allowed the club could make a real difference, the social media side could have a dedicated team of younger people who could entice the younger generation in, so so many different ways to promote our sport through a National Club, we can only but dream!
On Monday Craigie Boy made it 2 from 4 when taking an A8 in 28.65 while on Tuesday evening the enigmatic Yukan Bridge scored well in an A4 in a fast 27.73 while in a good A2 Playbook took off to win well in a fine 27.66.
On Thursday Schooldays relished the step up in distance when taking an S1 in 33.82. On Saturday we came away empty handed with Algo For You and Ballyfinn Jade coming closest when second.
Not quite as good a night as the week before with Coolavanny Messi our only winner in a fast 15.81 but sadly his career is in doubt after being struck into at the pick up.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
GRADED - PLAYBOOK
WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK
At last we have the return of open racing this week as Romford Friday nights return. They kick off with two great competitions with £1,500 to the winner finals the following week. Golden Sprint runner up Tiffield Blueboy and Have A Brandy will go in the 400m event while our Coronation Cup winner Antigua Rum as well as Alien Sea will go in the 575m event. We should have other runners in the supporting opens.
I’m not sure we have anything suitable for the opens at Central Park on Sunday but will review them in the week.
Our regular Website Recommended Bets will return next week.