Monday 23rd July 2012
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READ MARK'S BLOG OF THE EXCITING
DERBY BUILD UP CULMINATING IN BLONDE SNAPPER'S FANTASTIC DERBY FINAL WIN
Congratulations to Rick Holloway on winning the election for the GTA Chairman post and already Rick has promised a new beginning for Trainers across the land. His winning margin against the other nominee John Simpson was huge with a decent 63% of almost 400 Professional trainers voting. One of Rick's first objectives will be to allow the Greyhound Trainers (non professionals that are allowed up to 12 greyhounds in their care) to join the GTA and to try and unite every trainer with some proper and open representation. His main aims in what is perceived as an almost impossible job will be:-
To change the articles of association to allow all trainers professional and non professional into the GTA
To re-establish a seat on the Board of Directors of the GBGB for the GTA
To look for some open and transparent discussions with all parties to bring the sport forward with a long term plan on its future
There are many issues that Rick will have to deal with not least over the next few weeks will be to seek a brand new GTA Committee with trainers professional and non professional from the North ,Midlands and the South. I personally will put myself forward to help in this capacity and have my own ideas on what I would like to see:-
A complete new agenda from the GTA to communicate with its members both on a website and through a monthly newsletter with a private and confidential helpline for trainers, if needed the GBGB/ fund should pay for a secretary for Rick to help with this.
A compulsory 5% increase in prize money both for all graded and standard one off opens at every track at the start of every year beginning Janury 1st 2013. This way the industry, including promoters and bookmakers, know this is coming and will have plenty of time to make the adjustments. Eventually in 5-6 years we will gradually creep up to acceptable levels of prize money. We can no longer accept prize money levels that in most cases are less than what they were 10 years back.
A complete review with promoters and bookmakers on Trainer bonus money at all tracks that have BAGS racing.
A yearly delegation at a convenient conference hall (probably somewhere in the Midlands) that includes all parts of the industry i.e GBGB, BGRF,GTA, GWA a leading figure from the bookmakers, a representative trainer and owner from each track, all racing managers, a breeders' representative and some of our leading vets in a proper and open discussion on the way forward for our sport, no apologies for absence will be accepted.
A massive and brutal attack on all bookmaker chains that do not pay into the levy, including a campaign on making punters aware of the culprits.
A complete review on the GBGB's financial expenditure focussing on grants to tracks and personal expenses.
A standardisation of kennel bills from trainers to owners across the land (with obvious considerations on area and whether the trainers' tracks are on BAGS) to stop the continued abuse of trainers undercutting each other with severe disciplinary procedures to the trainers that are found in breach of set rules.
A new league open to all Professional Trainers at all GBGB tracks that rewards the best % of graded winners over the course of the year (must have at least 50 runners per month to qualify) with a first prize of £10,000 to the winning trainer and another £50,000 spreading down to the top 25 or more, money to come out of the fund.
A new league open to all Greyhound Trainers that rewards the best % of all runners both open and graded over the course of the year (must have at least 15 runners per month to qualify) with a first prize of £5,000 to the winning trainer and another £20,000 spreading down to the top 12, money to come out of the fund. A person like Peter Meldrum should be employed and paid a reasonable sum each week to gather and collate information for the leagues.
A revamp of the GTA Trainers Championship meeting which includes the top 18 trainers as defined by the standings at the end of the year and not just the top 6 trainers as is currently done, this will be split in 3 divisions:-
DIVISION 1 - Trainers 1st - 6th ---- 8 x races at £1,000 to the winner £100 others------- winning trainer £10,000 0thers £2,000 to be televised on Sky
DIVISION 2 - Trainers 7th - 12th ----- 5 x races at £750 to the winner £75 others -------- winning trainer £5,000 others £1,000 to be televised on RPGTV
DIVISION 3 - Trainers 13th - 18th ----- 4 races at £500 to the winner £50 others ------- winning trainer £2,500 others £500 to be televised on RPGTV or both Divisions 2 and 3 could form one programme on Sky.
This will give a major boost to the trainers that are not just around the top six but right down to around the top 20 who will all be fighting for a place in the top 18. This in turn will make the last few months of the year very competitive and very interesting as trainers enter greyhounds to try and ladder up the leader board. A major new sponsor will be sought by the GTA but the fund as well as the tracks holding the meetings should contribute to this.
A massive Nationwide promotional campaign of both Sky when it's on and RPGTV especially, making people more aware of our sport.
A reintroduction of BGRF fund money into open racing with the possibility of appearance money to the trainers on all Sky and RPGTV open races (as well documented this will be provided for by the expected added revenue RPGTV has produced as predicted by the bookmakers especially Betfair).
As you can see I feel there is a tremendous amount of work to be done if we, as a body of trainers, can start to make a difference but with a bit of unity and trust I think a lot can be achieved. There are a few positives around at the moment but unless we get some change in trainers' fortunes we will continue to see a decline in trainer numbers and the one thing that sticks in my mind is that change is most definitely needed because in many cases it will become a welfare issue if the industry cannot provide enough revenue for its practitioners to be able to properly look after the greyhounds in their care and I'm sure all the bookmakers and promoters as well as the GBGB do not want that hanging over their heads.
Back on the track and after a quiet spell it was good to get a few winners under our belts. On Thursday at Brighton one of the best Sussex Cups I can remember saw an impressive win from Jazz Apollo who bounced back from a recent KO and a couple of heavy defeats to put himself right in the picture for outright honours. Bridge Honcho was narrowly beaten by in form Fortuna but has a real turn of pace and looks an exciting addition to our open race team. Ayamzaman also answered a few critics on Friday at Romford with a devastating burst of speed to win a top 400m open by over 10 lengths.
This week sees the start of the Peterborough Derby on Wednesday and all three of our runners Lil Risky, Castlebride Dan and Clarecastle Dub went well in trials at the tight track last Monday. Also starting on Saturday is the William Hill Puppy Derby at Wimbledon and as much as I respect William Hills' superb sponsorship in our sport this is definitely one competition whose status needs upgrading to a Category 1. Anyway we have the exciting talents of Cuil Condor and Planning running for us and both went well in trials last week with Cuil Condor recording a great 28.58 whilst Planning clocked 28.89.
On Monday at Romford Aero Joker looked completely out of form as she finished down the field in the heats of the Rose Bowl, Risky Rosaleen was third in her heat.
Benkaat Blue didn't get much of a run in the Swindon Produce Stakes when fourth on Wednesday.
At Hove on Thursday as well as the heats of the Sussex Cup where Bridge Honcho was second and Jazz Apollo won in a fine 29.68 we saw Ayamzabeauty run well to be second in a puppy open and Blonde Reagan was very impressive when stepping up to a strong 695m trip winning by a 1 1/2 lengths in 41.53 (-15),.
At Romford on Friday from 8 runners we never had one out the first three places with Adageo Brae (2nd), Swift Cougar (2nd), Swift Tigress (3rd), Rockburst Lenny (2nd), Risky Rosaleen (3rd) and Dixies Air (2nd) while Bit View Emma scored in a Maiden 575m and Ayamzaman slaughtered a good field by over 10 lengths in a flying 23.84 in the top division of a 400m.
On Sunday at Coventry two winners from three runners with Blonde Kimber scoring over 485m in 29.48 and Blonde Fletch setting new figures when winning by 3 3/4 lengths in 41.44.
On Wednesday the closest we came to a winner was when Swift Freeze, Jazz Tilly and Roberts Dancer were all second while it was a better start on Saturday as Pagan Jimmy scored a debut win in an A4 in a smart 28.24. Paradise Riva also scored well by 5 lengths in a good 27.87. Darian Chief, Darian Creek and Darian Marvel were all second in tough A1 races.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Tonight at Romford the in form Ayamzaman along with Aero Prince run in the heats of the Ardbeg Mentor Memorial race over 400m.
Wednesday the John Smiths Peterborough Derby kicks off with six heats and Lil Risky, Castlebride Dan and Clarecastle Dub line up in the Category 1 event.
Thursday the semi-finals of the Sussex Cup look ultra hot and both Jazz Apollo and Bridge Honcho will have to be at their best to qualify for the final.
Opens at Romford Friday whilst on Saturday the William Hill Puppy Derby should be fascinating and both our Cuil Condor and Planning should go well.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
Bridge Honcho safely qualified for the semi-finals of the Sussex Cup at Brighton on Thursday. Lil Risky has a tough first round heat of the Peterborough Derby but is capable of going all the way in this event and is worth a decent interest. Cuil Condor looks to me as good a pup as I have ever seen and we will find out how forward he is when he goes in what should be a hot William Hill Puppy Derby at Wimbledon on Saturday.
LIL RISKY - 2 pts e.w ante-post - John Smiths Peterborough Derby - starts Wednesday
CUIL CONDOR - 2.5 pts e.w ante-post - William Hill Puppy Derby - Wimbledon - starts Saturday
ADVISED LAST WEEK
BRIDGE HONCHO - 2 pts e.w ante-post 25/1 - Sussex Cup - Hove - continues Thursday