It must have been the day for "punching-on" down at GRV headquarters today, as just a few hours after GRV Stewards finalised one inquiry for an "altercation", they have handed down a finding in to the fight between Brian Selleck and Jason Thompson at Sandown greyhounds back in February.
While GRV Stewards have today only named and shamed Brian Selleck, it is known that the February altercation at Sandown also involved Jason Thompson. It was Thompson's second physical altercation at a greyhound race track in recent times, after last years Melbourne Cup Fiasco and subsequent incident with Darren McDonald.
Those incidents saw GRV Stewards issue Thompson only a virtual "slap on the wrist" penalty of $1,000 and no disqualification. Many, including Australian Racing Greyhound, were critical of the small fine as it sent the wrong message about the way licensed people should conduct themsleves at greyhound racing tracks.
GRV Stewards on 26th February 2009 and 20th May 2009 conducted an Inquiry into an alleged altercation which occurred in the entrance area of the kennel block during kennelling time at the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club on 26th February 2009.
GRV Stewards heard evidence from Mr. Brian Selleck (Trainer) and six other un-named registered persons. Australian Racing Greyhound has been informed that Jason Thompson and Dave Knocker were intimately involved in both the altercation and the subsequent complaint against Selleck.
The feud between Selleck, who is in his 60's and Thompson, who is still in his 30's goes back to Thompson's comments after the 2009 Adelaide Cup, when Thompson after winning with El Galo branded Scull Murphy a "dog chaser". Selleck was instrumental in the breeding of Scull Murphy.
Australian Racing Greyhound have been informed that the feud was further fired, when the two trainers had "words" at a Cranbourne greyhound meeting. It has also been suggested that Thompson had tried to goad Selleck in to a confrontation on another occassion.
Unconfirmed reports have suggested that the incident in question came to be after Thompson or Knocker brushed Selleck with their shoulder as he was leaving the kennel block. That contact led to more words and the "physical altercation". Unfortunately, the Stewards report made no attempt to even explain the altercation or describe it in detail, nor do they make any attempt to investigate the history leading to the incident.
At the hearing today Selleck was represented by Mr. J. Dounias (Legal Counsel).
After hearing the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Brian Selleck with breach of GAR86(q) in that at the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club on 26th February, 2009 he did engage in a physical altercation with another licensed person, which was detrimental to the interest, image and control of greyhound racing.
Mr. Brian Selleck pleaded guilty to the charge.
Stewards found Mr. Brian Selleck guilty as charged and disqualified his licence for 5 months(commencing midnight 24 May, 2009).
However Mr Selleck, who has Ess Bee Dee engaged in the Group 1 Maturity Classic Final on Saturday night along with Thompson, who has two runners in the race; has immediately lodged and appeal against the GRV's Stewards decision, and has been granted a stay of proceedings to allow him to continue racing.
Selleck was only last year hauled before a Stewards Inquiry for allegedly abusing GRV Steward Carl Scott at a Sale greyhound racing club meeeting in November 2008. That hearing resulted in no action being taken against Selleck other than to be reminded of his responsibilities as a registered trainer.
Ironically, GRV Steward Carl Scott was one of the officiating Stewards at todays inquiry, despite the fact Selleck and Scott obviously have some history.