You might need Harry Potter’s magic wand to work out how the Topgun will be run but one thing is very likely – nominal favourite Glen Gallon has a tough task ahead of him. There are five dogs outside him that should lead him to the turn. Will he find a way through? It’s possible but I would want some decent odds to back him, much more than the $3.10 now on offer.
On general form the two Queenslanders, Glen Gallon (1) and Dont Knocka Him (3), are the pick of the bunch. The latter is absolutely flying at his home track of Albion Park. That includes his early sections where he has been a little hard to pick in the past. However, his two previous runs at The Meadows were only average. Could that be due to the differing sizes of the box apertures?
Their fortunes may rest on what Zara Zulu does out of the 2 box. She can be quick but has not raced for a month which poses a bit of a question mark.
With some room to move I would expect Dont Knocka Him to clear the inside dogs and gain the prime rails spot around the tricky Meadows turn (always a big advantage to railers from inside boxes). That will give him a lead into the back straight. Leaders are seldom run down in these big events.
Internet The Winner
Speaking of advertising, “By 2014, online will overtake TV, which is the greatest change in the history of media”, according to media buyer Harold Mitchell, in a report by the Sydney Morning Herald. “All media is being disrupted and television is not going to be immune to that”, says the ABC’s head of innovation.
Mitchell also happens to be chairman of TVN, which is owned by the ATC and the main Victorian gallops clubs and has just won rights to NSW provincial gallops broadcasts over competition from SKY.
To that trend you can add dual TV/Internet screens, a decline in telephone landline use, the NBN rollout, increased capability of handheld devices, online shopping, rising credit card use (and fraud), siphoning off live sports pictures and, of course, online betting and gambling generally. The AFL has already developed its own media unit. The digital world is moving incredibly fast, mainly because it can.
The effect on greyhound racing is unknown but likely to be significant. Some of it will be related to data capability, primarily race information and form, some to more immediate matters such as race pictures.
Currently, Australian form data is a piecemeal job as authorities in each state cobble together bits and pieces from everywhere to make up a composite formguide. So does our one remaining private operator. That’s both expensive and inefficient. Besides, some states include more information than others, leaving gaps in the end service. Overall, the lack of a national system makes life harder for customers and compares unfavourably with other racing codes.
Race pictures are an unholy mixture of good and bad as equipment quality, camera positioning and film reproduction all depend on how well the local bloke does his job (and perhaps what he is paid). Some are really disgraceful – Bulli, for example – while others are barely satisfactory. Yet, in the future, if not now, all will have to depend on how well those pictures show up on a tiny screen that fits into your pocket. Average quality now will be horrible on a handheld iPad mini or whatever.
In either of the above cases, no national standard exists. Indeed, no standard of any kind. Catch-as-catch-can is the order of the day, as it is for many of the controls and practices in greyhound racing. Even national racing rules are dwarfed by the proliferation of local state rules, all of which take precedence over the national version.
More and more, the information and pictures will be travelling around the world where competition will be fierce for the gambling dollar and ease of access a prime determinant of who gets the business. High quality will win, slapdash will lose out.
What will not happen, despite the millions the Victorian Racing Minister has just poured into such things as Ballarat public facilities, is that patrons will not be going to the racecourse to occupy newly refurbished dining rooms coupled with a very ordinary view of the races themselves. All too often, those few that do attend will turn around and watch the TV monitors instead. They can do that at home, on the road or down at the local pub. And they know it.
Only quality and consistency will succeed. State-of-the-art or nothing.