Monday 17th October 2011
JOIN GOBATA NOW
After the euphoria of the previous week where we won the St Leger and spirits were high this last week simply has to go down as a complete disaster. One of the reasons I love and thrive on running a large kennel is that if you have a bad night where results don't go your way there's always tomorrow and fortunes can change quickly but no matter whether you have a large or small kennel seeing one of your greyhounds suffering an injury hurts, even worse is when that injury is so bad the best thing for that particular greyhound is to be put to sleep. This in our sport is vary rare but sadly at Newcastle we suffered such a loss. New Phase, a young dog just starting a promising career, was unfortunate when he got in trouble going round the first bend in a warm puppy race causing him to fall awkwardly. I won't go into the rest of the details but I do thank the Newcastle vet for her professional and kind treatment of our 'Monty'. The hardest part of this job is having to inform the owners of their loss, that is something that never gets any easier and knowing how much Barry and Rose, Nige, Mitch and Andy care about their greyhounds it was especially harder. The rest of the night never went that well for the rest of our runners but all I wanted was for them to finish safe and sound which they did. Without doubt the journey home for myself and Kevin was a long one with one less greyhound.
Thursday at Henlow we also had the misfortune of having Sulphur Spring break a hock in a heat of the Henlow Derby. He will need some surgery to fix the displacement and his chances of racing again are in the balance but if not he will at least have the chance of a happy retirement. It wasn't just the injuries that made it a week to forget. Jazz Apollo in the £15,000 British Produce Stakes on Monday at Nottingham was made favourite and after breaking well looked in with a big chance but trap 1 Romeo Metro rushed up on his inside and took him out at the first bend. Recovering well he went down the back straight in third but as he challenged for second he was nearly brought down and ended up finishing an unlucky 4th to Paul Sallis's pair Go Go Sonic and Mark My Words and a big well done to my friends Paul and Esther on a brilliant 1/2.
As said Newcastle didn't go well and our youngster Kinda True was well beaten in the William Hill Puppy Derby final by Kelly Macari's Unreal Timmy in a fast 28.38. Hopefully Kinda True will develop into a decent prospect. Both Lil Risky and Ayamzagirl ran well when 2nd and I felt if our luck was in, on another day, they would have both won. Blonde Fletch, despite only beaten a couple of lengths in a 670m race, has become frustrating but before we get critical he has had a long season and has won in excess of £30,000. I think we will make the forthcoming Doncaster St Leger his final campaign of the year.Again another young and talented trainer Kelly Macari deserves the highest praise for a magnificent double on the night when as well as the Puppy Derby she also landed the William Hill All England Cup with Mill Bling Bling.
At Henlow on Thursday the Primus Telecom Derby kicked off and both Rookery Pedro and Blonde Snapper qualified when 2nd. Blonde Snapper having his first race for over two months ran well going down only by a neck in a tough heat.
The major talking point of the week is the new GOBATA run Betdaq Premier League that ,after months of speculation, will be starting on November 16th at Doncaster with a Northern qualifier that will make up 5 races on the supporting card for the Doncaster St Leger Sky night. Two other qualifiers will then take place in December at a track to be announced shortly, most likely in the south. These will be shown on the 'free to air' Premier Sports channel. The top two teams from the three qualifiers will make up the first Premier League that starts in January and, after four Premier League nights, finishes up at the end of February with a Grand Finals night when wo of the teams will be relegated. All Premier League meetings will be televised, most likely by Sky Sports or Premier Sports. The Premier League will not be run in March to allow the Betfair Trainers Championship to take precedence and then in April will start again with qualifiers producing two new teams who will be promoted the Premier League and the format will begin again.
Of course there is a lot of excitement, sceptisicm, criticism and expectations on the whole concept of a Premier League and my answers to those are let's get behind the whole idea and if it fails then at least we tried something new. God knows our sport needs to move with the times and a Premier League could be a concept that does that. It should at least be competitive and exciting in the format devised. The sceptism that it will not work or fail for various reasons are mainly from people who don't like change and again I say give it a go first before making your minds up. The criticism is mainly about elitism - well the Premier League is for everyone who has a good open class greyhound, if they can't provide five dogs to make up their own team they can join up with up to four other Trainers to make a team up - now that's original! If people are not sure how to join up with another team either they can contact GOBATA or their local track who will make every effort to place them in teams. All teams for the qualifiers have to be entered by the 31st October and this can be done by logging on to the GOBATA website and downloading the entry form or by contacting GOBATA direct. Another criticism is that it will affect competitions, opens and Sky nights. Of course there will be the odd clash but every effort will be made to work closely with the calendar so as to not clash with Category 1 and 2 competitions and Sky nights. On the Sky side let's not forget many promoters on the Sky nights are struggling to finance the supporting races so a Premier League meeting will give them another option. Our expectations are that a Premier League will be exciting, giving us a good narrative throughout the year. It will bring decent prize money to both owners and trainers and should give plenty of extra turnover to the betting industry thus swelling the funds that should then give a bigger levy to the industry.
A couple of points on the Premier League, (and this is my view) Barry Faulkner said when he took over as Chief Executive of the Greyhound Board that the way for the sport to get a higher levy is in his words ' to find ways of getting more turnover on greyhound betting' - well a Premier League should do this, competitive races with extra TV exposure, new markets that a league format will produce (winning teams on the nights, who's going to be relegated, team match ups etc). It's no secret that the GBGB Board of Directors have known about a proposed Premier League for a while but have not been totally supportive of the idea but I hope they recognise that GOBATA have found the funding (each season will cost in the region of £80,000) by themselves and have not asked for a penny from the fund. I say again, when the £1,000,000 extra funds were dished out to all the tracks to put back into graded racing why didn't a percentage go back into open racing? Of course graded racing is the life blood of the sport but are you telling me that all the open races and competitions like the Derby, Sky nights and evening open racing does not produce a decent percentage of the money gambled in our sport? - I would love to see the figures, I bet it would be at least 20%. So in fairness £200,000 should have been used for opens and of course a Premier League would be entitled to some of this. They call the new 500 graded series the 'Owners Bonus Series', are they kidding? a huge percentage of the dogs running are owned by the trainers themselves whereas at least 95% of the dogs running in opens have owners! they deserve some of the extra funds.
The other point I would like to make is that the Premier League if successful can have so many spin offs, ie a Champions League with Irish v English teams, an FA Cup style event, a track v track series. Eventually we may not need so many one off opens as there would be plenty of opportunities for open race dogs thus giving more chances for the graded dogs at each track. The idea of made up teams has already produced some interesting debate and you could well see teams like the Lister Lions, The Darting Dartnalls, made up sides with up to five trainers like the Greyhoundscene Dream Team as well as teams from tracks like the Sheffield Steelers, The Kingsley Kings and the East Coast Flyers (Yarmouth) for example. Lastly I really hope this whole Premier League is successful and if it is or isn't Martin White and Chris Page as well as many GOBATA committee members deserve huge praise for at least trying to stop the decline in our sport and the GBGB should recognise that GOBATA is an organisation that deserves their recognition.
Finally I would like to pay tribute to Linda's mum Eileen who sadly passed away just over a week ago. I'm sure many of our owners would remember Eileen from years ago where she supplied them with cups of tea on their visits to the kennels on a Sunday morning. She always had a good story to tell about the old days of greyhound racing and is sorely missed by Linda, Sarah and the rest of the family, her funeral takes place this Wednesday.
We covered everything above with Jazz Apollo at Nottingham and the Newcastle runners while at Henlow apart from the Primus Telecom Derby runners we had a winner with the useful Rockburst Lenny over 550m who won by 1 1/4 lengths in 33.74 (-15).
On Wednesday Mountjoy Eagle was 3rd and Carden Twilight a running on 2nd in top grade. Kinda Razzle coming back from season was also 2nd and should be on the winner's podium soon but star of the night was Bit View Emma who followed up her Yarmouth debut win with another A1 success by 2 lengths in 28.45 (-20). Just three runners on Saturday and Risky Blue was best when he made it to the final in the 'Owners Bonus Series' when 2nd in his heat.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight at Romford the Coral on TV Marathon heats sees us with three runners Ayamzagirl, Mountjoy Orion and new intake Lil Collision.
On Thursday the Primus Telecom Henlow Derby semi-finals take centre stage although we have found the toughest semi where both our runners Blonde Snapper and Rookery Pedro take on ante-post favourite and Derby Champion Taylors Sky.
We will also be at Romford on Friday.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
No luck with our Lucky 15 at Newcastle on Wednesday but Blonde Snapper made it safely through to the semi's of the Primus Telecom Henlow Derby but faces an ultra tough task. We will stick with our ante-post bet on Snapper for this week.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BLONDE SNAPPER - 4 pts win ante-post 10/1 - Henlow Derby - continues Thursday
BLONDE FLETCH - Newcastle - Wednesday
LIL RISKY - Newcastle - Wednesday
NEW PHASE - Newcastle - Wednesday
AYAMZAGIRL - Newcastle - Wednesday
0.30 pts lucky 15 - total = 4.5 pts - lost
0.50 pts e.w accumulator - total = 1 pt - lost