Monday 29th September 2014
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A busy week's open race action for the kennel where the highlight was the Coral Romford Puppy Cup Final on Friday. It was a great occasion as many of our members from our Markwallisgreyhounds Racing Club enjoyed the experience of what ownership is like on the big stage as the club's Saffrons Anna performed brilliantly to finish a creditable 3rd behind a very good winner in David Prughs's Laughing Gravy. Our Racing Club intends to build on this and if anybody would like to join we have spaces available, feel free to contact us for further details.
We made a good start in the Kent St Leger at Crayford where are two entries drawn together saw Sidaz Dippy beat Benkaat Dolly. Not such good news as we targeted the Yorkshire St Leger at Doncaster, firstly one of the leading fancies in our Adageo Bob had to be withdrawn before the first round with a slight muscle strain which will keep him out of action for a couple of weeks and though running quite well Black Francis was eliminated in the second heat when last.
Next Sunday the Grand National and Kent Derby kick off at Sittingbourne and our top hurdler Cornamaddy Jumbo bids to land an incredible treble having already won this year's Springbok and the Champion Hurdle both at Wimbledon. No doubt it will be an uphill battle as Sittingbourne's stiff 480m will really stretch him and he was heavily defeated in a one off race on Saturday by the dynamic Cont Te Patrio who will take all the beating at Sittingbourne, though do not write Jumbo off just yet.
Whilst I wholeheartedly agree with many of leading owner Stuart Forsdike's comments in Thursday's Racing Post regarding the attraction for owners in this country, I have a few things to say myself but firstly let's face up to the biggest problem the industry has and that is simply a complete lack of funds and absolutely no imagination of bringing our product to a wider audience.
As a trainer our business faces rising costs each year because as the cost of living goes up the industry works from a budget that is decreasing, work it out, it's simple! Basic maths! For a business to succeed Fund money, prize money and kennel fees have to rise each year or our businesses become non profitable, why does the GBGB not realise this? Take the awards bash each year, five years ago tickets cost £50 and now they cost around £70 as hotel and venue charges have increased, so why do they not say to the bookmakers, on behalf of all practitioners, you can't have our product unless you pay more each year, their leadership should do exactly that and lead!
My friend recently put his pet dog into boarding kennels for two weeks and was charged £20 per day + vat, excessive you might think but the boarding kennels charges these fees because that's how they make a small profit and why they still have a business so why have we got top trainers across the land charging as little as £6 per day to keep a Greyhound in training? If they charged somewhere near what would be acceptable (around £10 per day) they would have a mass exodus of owners within a week. The only way they could charge an acceptable amount is if prize money and trainer bonusses were raised by at least 33 % across the board! Unattainable you might say, well no not in my opinion! Bookmakers and Promoters
should be brought to task by our leadership in the GBGB to implement theses changes.
Tom Kelly is staying on as Fund Chairman, a good guy at heart I know but he states we have to work again with £7.4 million in 2015. This is not acceptable, he should be demanding from the bookmakers that this figure is simply not enough to fund our industry properly. He should remind the bookmakers who pay into the fund that they already get Greyhound racing on the cheap. It's a nice earner for them, whilst they have this cheap product in the shops (they have to have live racing on to get a licence) punters are pouring money into FOBT's for huge profits and also betting on the Greyhounds to ridiculous margins, returns of around 130% for Bags races are the norm, forecasts are at around 150% and as for tri-casts punters are ripped off with 200% + margins! Let's also remember now that our product is getting sold abroad to over 60 different countries. Why do these countries have an appetite for our product, well like I said above its a nice little earner! But more importantly they love the integrity of our product, they could not possibly set up any tracks in their own countries as not only would it cost them a fortune and they would never trust the integrity. So what's the rewards to owners and trainers for this, yes you've guessed it, nothing! And what are owners and trainers getting from online gambling through programmes like RPGTV? We were promised when it first started if it was successful we would all benefit but we are still waiting! Good luck to Tom in his semi retirement but please while he is still Fund Chairman sort these bookmakers out to give owners and trainers a fair slice of the action!
Promoters should also have serious think on how they treat owners and trainers. They receive on average around £10,000 per Bags meeting and in most cases pay less than 20% back to owners and trainers in prize money and trainer bonusses. Bags know they should pay more to Promoters but Promoters are too scared to upset the applecart in case it affects their contract with Bags. Promoters should demand that Bags pay more so they can pass on more to owners and trainers. Also it's worth remembering that 6 out of the 17 Bags tracks are owned by the Bookmakers themselves so will be paying the money back to their own stadia so no excuse at all to pay more prize money.
Looking at prize money at a track like Romford early in 2006 some 8 1/2 years ago they paid £117 for winning an A4 £35 for second and £32 others. Now in late 2014 they pay £112 to the winner and £31 others, yes unbelievably £23 less! I'm not picking on Romford but this is reverberated across the board at most tracks. In 2006 diesel was 92p per litre now we have to pay around £1.35! That's just an example of rising costs to trainers.
Owners and trainers should have the people in charge of our industry fighting for their cause. The GBGB should be leading the way in negotiating a better deal for the industry. We can go on and on about representation and everything but to me it boils down to one statement - Maurice Watkins and Barry Faulkner should tell their Board of Directors that unless the Bookmakers bring the the fund money up to an acceptable level they will advise all owners and trainers not to run their Greyhounds. Of course they won't do that, but if they did, I would give it less than a week before the Bookmakers doubled what they give to our fund. The thought of not having their good little earner would have them crying like babies.
I must admit myself I'm still not sure why British based owners prefer dogs in training over the water unless they are top class and running for the better prize money. The majority of owners in Ireland have to put up with only the first three home getting paid, sporadic runs to say the least and as for having a bet don't get me started there, betting percentages at over 300% and even at their top track Shelbourne Park margins in excess of 200% most of the time! and how many bookmakers over here would take a bet on an Irish race anyway! not many that's for sure. There's a reason for these crazy percentages and that's because bookmakers, on course and off, have no faith in the integrity of most Irish racing.
Don't forget it's your last couple of days to do your changes for the 5 To Follow competition. Our new list of our kennel strength is up for you to choose from. If you think your too far behind and it's not worth your while to change any remember this, two of our last three winners have come from miles off the pace so it's certainly worth some thought. 'Nods Flyers 4' leads the way and had stole a little march with a 22 point lead up until last Sunday but there's a long way to go. Adageo Bob is the leading scorer with 80 points and many who have him in their lists will be concerned by his slight injury which ruled him out of the Yorkshire St Leger last night but he is only expected to be out of action for 2-4 weeks. Evanta Evita was another popular choice but she is now in season, she is expected to return in December with the Oaks in mind but this does limit her points scoring opportunities.
NEW TEAM SELECTIONS MYST BE EMAILED TO US BY 30 SEPTEMBER AND THE NEW TEAMS TAKE EFFECT FROM 1 OCTOBER.
A half way leaderboard up to and including 30 September will be posted later this week.
Have a read of our Guest Column for view on betting percentages in our industry.
Our first action of the week was at Hove on Thursday. Evanta El Creco ran a good race in the Maiden Puppy race over 515m when 2nd beaten 3/4 length in 30.58 (-30. Benkaat Nero was also second running a solid race behind Screen Critic eaten just over a length in 30.28 (-30).
At Romford on Friday it was a case of many of our runners running well without win. Airforce Karla was 2nd in a 400m maiden and Saffrons Champ a good 3rd in another one. Evanta Jack was 3rd over 400m and we were well pleased with Saffrons Anna's 3rd in the Puppy Cup Final grinding out some useful points in the Trainer Of The Year race. Vanfrenchie saw that we went home with a winner when well drawn in trap 1 in a hot 575m. The field, including Reel Trickyone bunched in the middle a bit but to be fair Vanfrenchie had bolted out the traps and showed he is another great find for our kennel as he improved considerably to win comfortably in a superb 34.91.
On Saturday as said Sidaz Dippy beat Benkaat Dolly in the heats of the Kent St Leger at Crayford scoring by 1 3/4 lengths in 45.63. A couple of shock reversals for us in other races, as said Cornamaddy Jumbo suffered a rare defeat over the hurdles and in the one off John Davidson and Colin Wilson Memorial Trophy over 540m Aayamzamodel had no answers to Mays Musical when 2nd. At Doncaster in the heats of the Yorkshire St Leger Black Francis wasn't beaten far when last in a hot heat.
At Henlow on Sunday Blue Moment again showed us what we have been missing the last few months while he's been off with a broken toe showing awesome pace to beat a good field in the top division of the RPGTV Derby Trial Stake in a fine 27.35. Blackstone Marco scored again over 550m in 33.44 though he was given a race by Blackrose Cloud.
Only runners on Saturday and an excellent night with 4 winners from our 10 runners. Youngster Crown Jewel got the ball rolling with a much improved performance winning an A2 in good style by 4 lengths in 27.96 (+20), Kilmagner Mike also improved with a decent win in a sprint scoring by 2 lengths in a fast 16.35 (+10). Benkaat Boomer racked up another win in top grade scoring by 1/2 length in a fine 27.86 (+20), Billis Blitz was runner up in A2 before Adageo Lad made it a great night for the kennel when landing another top grade race in 28.16.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
WHAT'S ON NEXT WEEK
Again a busy week's open racing. A trip to Sheffield tomorrow for supporting races to the Steel City Cup final, plans for other opens to be pencilled in for the rest of the week though we will definitely be at Crayford on Saturday for the semi finals of the Kent St Leger and on Sunday we will be at Sittingbourne for the heats of the Grand National and Kent Derby.
WEBSITE RECOMMENDED BETS
A good start for our recommended bets in the Kent St Leger as Sidaz Dippy beat kennelmate Benkaat Dolly in the heats. No reason why both couldn't make the fina. I'm not sure I can see another bet this week at this stage.
ADVISED LAST WEEK
SIDAZ DIPPY - 2 pts e.w ante post 10/1 - Kent St Leger - Crayford - continues Saturday
BENKAAT DOLLY - 1 pt e.w ante post 25/1 - Kent St Leger - Crayford - continues Saturday