Smaller Is Often Sweeter
Written By Bruce Teague Thursday 21st June 2012
In an interview about TVN’s expanded coverage of country gallops, Racing NSW chief Peter V’Landys expressed concern about the need to improve race scheduling on busy days. He advised it was “crucial” to be able to organise race times and so avoid what he termed “problems for us with things like twilight trots and dogs”. Oh dear!
V’Landys is not known for being bashful but is inclined to wear blinkers. He seems to have forgotten that NSW dogs subsidise his own operations to the tune of several millions of dollars a year – all due to the crazy TAB distribution system signed off in the 1990s and due to run until near the end of this century. Despite that unearned bonus, the galloping code continues to lose market share to both sports betting and greyhound racing, as well as to other forms of gambling. It has been saved from an even worse outcome only by the stimulus from NT bookmakers and Betfair, a group RN first tried to ban (so did GRNSW, for that matter).
If V’Landys had any nous he would be giving the greyhound code pride of place, After all, it’s paying his salary, and then some.
In a comparable incident, some may recall now-retired gallops broadcaster, Ian Craig, going crook one day when he claimed a dog race was holding up the start at Randwick. Craig got his start in the caper by calling dogs up the straight track at Richmond (in the days when it had a straight track). Short memories?
Hopefully, there will come a time when all three racing codes realise they gain benefits from each other in displaying their wares to the general public. That’s particularly important for TABs and bookies because greyhounds, which have far more meetings than the other two, provide continuity of betting opportunities.
Incidentally, prior to his current gig, V’Landys presided over losses of millions of dollars at Harold Park trots where additions such as a poker machine palace and expensive new dining facilities failed to pay their way. He also became so offside with the local Glebe community (on promised access to the infield for sports) that ABC TV ran a one hour documentary about it.
Escaping from that hassle, V’Landys was appointed to his present job the morning after ads appeared in the local papers. No doubt he applied via a very speedy internet. He is now rumoured to be a candidate for the CEO vacancy at the ARL but that may be just media speculation.
Anyway, Harold Park is now closed and in the hands of developers. May we wish the gallops better luck than that.
Meantime, beware the upcoming push and shove on race times.
Does It Really Matter? - 1
The GRV publicity machine was at pains to point out that the Gold Cup at Albion Park last week was won by a NSW dog (He Knows Uno, which has raced in Queensland for half its career). Then it says the Peter Mossman at Wenty was won by a Victorian dog (Garrick Bale, which was actually bred, whelped and is owned in NSW).
Does anybody really care what state happens to be responsible? These days, dogs move around more often than football players or politicians.
State of Origin works for Rugby League. Elsewhere, including in the greyhounds’ National Championships with their lopsided fields, it tends to be a ball and chain. Economics is much more important than geography.
Does It Really Matter? - 2
It’s necessary to add an item to my June 11 article about grading. It may not be the first case but at Sandown the other day they ran two races classed as “Novice No Penalty”. So that means runners qualified by winning no more than one race, and the winners of these two races will be able to go round again in another Novice event. That race may even be another No Penalty event so a dog could well pick up three such races before trying on the champs in a country 5th grade. Or perhaps a fourth Novice if it’s over a longer trip?
Much the same comments could be made about “Maiden Tier 3” races – that is, you qualify by not having won a race as well as not having run a fair time in not winning. This is opposed to a normal Maiden where you just have to have failed to win previously. Or, in either case, not raced at all. But it would not work in NSW where a qualifying performance is needed but times do not matter. Got all that?
Bendigo’s all-Tier 3 meeting this week actually showed four of twelve winners, as well as two second placed dogs, busting the Tier 3 time limit anyway, with a further three almost doing so. It’s hard to see the point of it all.
Veteran observers may recall the time when a Maiden was just a Maiden and experienced graders sorted out 5th grade races into more and less experienced fields. It seemed to work well.