Monday 10th November 2014
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Monday night's rushed episode of Panorama, as expected, did a hatchet job on Greyhound racing and exposed trainer Chris Mosdall as a drugs cheat, all in all not a good week for our industry. For the uninitiated who sat and watched the programme it probably enhanced their views that Greyhound racing is a shady sport and all trainers are pulling strokes. For those in the gambling world, in particular the ones who bet on the dogs in the bookmakers, they probably enjoyed the fact that it looked like something was dodgy in every race, as of course they need an excuse to find why the ones they backed bit the dust. But for those close to the industry it was little more than old ground dug up. Fantasist Chris Mosdall is a known billybullshitter and without him the programme lacked any real content. He certainly doesn't represent 99% of trainers in our sport who love and care for their Greyhounds with the attention and affection they deserve and would not even think about decreasing or enhancing a dog's performance with drugs.
The programme has however enlarged the growing discontent between certain stakeholders within our industry. The GBGB were probably right in not going on air and answering Panorama's questions as you could be sure they would have, at the very least, been taken out of context. It looked disappointing, at the time, that the RGT didn't reply to allegations of thousands of so called 'missing dogs' but it has come to light they did answer questions from the investigative journalist but the programme decided not to air that. Trainer and GTA leader Rick Holloway played a part in the programme and clearly his rightful statement on the Deloittes report a few months ago that trainers and owners are supplementing the sport to the tune of 3 million pounds per year was right but it gave the impression that that's why trainers were cheating and that is simply not true! Chris Mosdall is one of those bad apples that happens in all walks of life and especially in a sport where there is gambling and has financial rewards at stake. Was Rick right to be a part of the programme, where their intention is nothing more than to entertain viewers with shocking allegations, then I'm not so sure.
I was hugely critical of our industry in a statement I made for the Racing Post on Wednesday but some of what I said was left out as the paper has to be careful what it prints from a legal point of view. Personally I don't care and I will say what I like in my blogs on this website. In particular and one valid point boils down to the GRA who employed Chris Mosdall. The fact is the GRA have continuously run Greyhound racing down to the point that its prize money is poor, facilities are shocking and customer treatment is short sighted. They are no more than just property speculators who given the right price will sell all their tracks. They have no plan for the sport's future bar making enough money to service huge debts so it's little wonder when trainers disappear and they have to take on people like Chris Mosdall just to make sure they have enough dogs to fill cards!
The GBGB needs to, and quick, bounce back from this latest exposure and our leadership needs to be strong but given the fact that it seems that with the Board's current term of office coming to an end this year, including Chairman Maurice Watkins, you get the feeling they will hope this just blows over! Steve Fluin had some valid points on RPGTV on Thursday especially about the GBGB letting business people on the Board of Directors as the commercial development of the sport is crucial. Also on RPGTV last night Tony Bullen summed it up rightly, we should be coming out and shouting louder than programmes like Panorama and the anti's and be proud of our product and then sell it!
The RGT already rocked by the news that their leader Peter Laurie is to leave his post after being headhunted by Battersea Dogs Home also needs to have a serious rethink on how to convey the excellent work that they do to the general public. Panorama made it look like the RGT had something to hide which is sad as we know hundreds of dedicated people are working tirelessly on making sure every Greyhound that is retired can be rehomed unless it has behavioural problems (about 1 in 100 in my opinion which is less than most other breeds).
Now for some good news! it's hoped that Towcester's first official trials will take place this coming Friday. There are a few final pieces to fit in the jigsaw but the superb looking new track is ready to go. If you go on David Yanez's Facebook page he has some excellent pictures of what the track looked like last Friday. We will have seven triallers if all ok on Friday and up to 20 the following Wednesday as we build up to the opening on the 6th December. The restaurant is fully booked and a huge attendance looks likely. After Monday's Panorama programme Towcester can't come soon enough!
Monday at Nottingham proved a good night for the kennel as three of our four entries in the Betfred Eclipse qualified including two winners with Blonde Razor getting up to beat Forest Gavin by 1/2 length in 30.17. Snappers Lad bought by a new syndicate (Calco Cup syndicate) the day before ran a blinder in the toughest heat of the night to qualify in 3rd place only beaten 3 lengths by Maum Legend. Vanrooney making his debut for the kennel looked short of race fitness when eliminated and to be fair the going wasn't favourable to the wide runners but the performance of the whole round was that of Benkaat Nero who blasted out the traps (5.03 sec) and made all in a blistering 29.56, a career best performance.
A busy night Friday where we had good success at both Romford and Peterborough. At Romford both Do It For Twiggy and Jimmy Nailed On scored in 575m Maiden Stayers. Do It For Twiggy made all to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 35.86 calc while Jimmy Nailed On showed great pace to lead up and go on to score by 4 1/2 lengths in a good 35.51. In other races Ilewin Allot (2nd), Aayamzaone (4th), Rosealinda (3rd), Huggies Buck (3rd) and Aayamzamodel (2nd) all ran very well and Vanfrenchie returned back to his best to take a warm 575m in a fine 35.37 by 3 lengths.
Over at Peterborough the Bags/SIS Championship 2nd leg was a good night for Yarmouth despite the home side winning 6 of the 10 legs. Generally the Yarmouth raiders all performed well and our kennel supplied four runners with two winners and two seconds. Lets Havit Right took the opening Puppy race in fine style with a 1 1/2 length win in 26.44 calc and Saffrons Anna made it back to back Championship wins with a fine 26.14 victory after slightly missing her break. Adageo Lad was badly drawn in trap 4 but showed real guts to grab second place and in an excellent final leg Kilmagner Mike ran very well to only be beaten 4 1/4 lengths by the high class Hipower Bucko. In the end Peterborough increased their advantage to 47 points and it will take a monumental effort from Yarmouth to peg that deficit back in the home leg on December 1st with Doncaster way out of contention.
On Sunday a horrible night at Henlow with a massive fireworks display only a few hundred yards away from the track. Evanta El Greco was really upset by the noise and had to be withdrawn which was the right decision and it looked like some performances were affected. Aero Twizzle missed his break in the sprint and was 3rd, Evanta Jack ran well when 2nd in a 460m contest and Toosey Fern was a touch unlucky when collared close to the line first look at the track over 550m. Blackstone Marco got no sort of run in a good 550m when 4th.
On Saturday 8 runners ran OK in difficult conditions. Aero Gerry making his debut cracked out and showed real promise to win an A2 in good style in a fine 28.30. Puppy What A Laugh also making his debut was a touch unlucky after looking like he was about to lead and finished 3rd with Fairest Royal in front of him in 2nd. Also making his debut Swift Balotelli proved he was better than his namesake with an all the way victory in an A3 by 2 lengths in 28.72 calc. Darian Star was 2nd in an A1 as was Brocatsea Bhoy in an A4.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight the Eclipse semi finals at Nottingham take centre stage with three chances for the kennel in Blonde Razor, Snappers Lad and Benkaat Nero.
At Romford in the heats of the Terry Jago Memorial Trophy both Adageo Bob and Reel Trickyone have unsurprisingly been pitched together in heat 3.
We are at Wimbledon tomorrow in supporting races for the William Hill St Leger and Cornamaddy Jumbo will look to get back in the winning groove and Aero Baboshka has a tricky draw in the Ladies race. Blue Moment should improve for his recent look around and is in the race after Sky.
We will be at Romford Friday and have trials at Belle Vue on Saturday for the forthcoming Oaks.
On Sunday the Maiden Derby kicks off at Henlow with 36 runners.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Snappers Lad will look to give our value seekers a huge pay day if he can qualify for the final of the Eclipse tonight.
For me the best bet on tomorrow's card has to be Cornamaddy Jumbo who can bounce back at his favourite tack Wimbledon.
CORNAMADDY JUMBO - 3 pts win - Wimbledon - Tuesday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
SNAPPERS LAD - 1.5 pts e.w ante post 50/1 - Betfred Eclipse - Nottingham - continues tonight