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Greg Board slams GRNSW decision to suspend dogs

LEADING breeder and owner Greg Board is shocked at the decision by Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) to suspend two of his promising pups in the wake of the controversial live-baiting scandal. 



Board, who is the owner of boom sire Spring Gun, had two pups at the property of Zeke ‘Ziggy’ Kadir when the RSPCA raids were conducted in February, but was only told last Friday his youngsters had been stood down.



“They (GRNSW) rang me on Friday and told me that they were suspended — not to try and name them, sell them or do anything with them,” Board said.



“They microchipped all the dogs on the property when they did the raids, so I think it is a little bit late to be doing this — if they were that worried about it then why didn’t they do something there and then?”



The unnamed greyhounds had only been at Kadir’s property for a matter of days and, according to Broad, were there for a bit of fine tuning.



“I broke them in myself and they were going very fast so I just wanted to make sure that they had a bit of box work so I sent them down there for five or six days just to have a bit of practice,” Board explained.

Board says it has been a similar story for his friend, who is new to the industry, and is now feeling very discouraged and deflated by the whole ordeal. 



“I have got another mate, its the first time he has had dogs in his life and he has reared a litter of Spring Guns – they are beautiful dogs and he is only a battler- but they have told him the same thing. His little girls had already picked out the dogs names and now he is shattered.”



This is not the first time in recent weeks that Board has been affected by the scandal, with one of his star performers, Armed And Ready, suspended by Greyhound Racing Victoria after Darren McDonald was also stood down.



“I missed out the Ballarat Derby with Armed and Ready because they scratched him and he was going to take a hell of a lot of beating. I am waiting for my barrister to get back to me to see about some compensation for that. 



“How is it legal that we are getting punished? They can’t tell you what you can do with your own dogs. They have no evidence that my dogs were blooded.”

Board, who has been in the industry for over 40 years, says the actions taken by the authorities to suspend his young dogs has been an overreaction to a despicable practice. 


“It is very disappointing. I know what happened (the live baiting) shouldn’t have happened but we have got to move on from it,” he said.



“If they are talking about closing down the industry because of what has happened they may as well close down all of the Catholic schools in Australia for what the priests do and the Police force for all the corruption that goes on, it would be never ending. The world has gone mad.”



GRNSW confirmed on Monday in a press release it had suspended 28 greyhounds which were in the possession of participants currently suspended and under investigation for alleged live baiting incidents, however the statement did not mention any unnamed greyhounds such as Board’s which may also be affected.



Australian Racing Greyhound was able to confirm with GRNSW there are also unnamed greyhounds that have been implicated by the suspensions but, unlike the named greyhounds, they will be assessed on a case-by-case basis if and when GRNSW receive their naming applications.



The suspended greyhounds will not be able to compete or be nominated for any events, sold or transferred into the care, custody and training of any other person until their respective inquiries are finalised. 



The named greyhounds are — Almost Quoted, Aussie Quoted, Best Quoted, Beyond, Bleiswijk Billy, Boss Electro, Cee Cee Quoted, Club Shiraz, Combat Shiraz, Disclosure, Fezz, Kevin In Bangkok, Lucky Quoted, Mighty Quoted, Monkey’s Uncle, No No Notorious, Now Quoted, Others Quoted, Raramuri, Ryno’s Raider, Stilton Combat, Stilton Riverboy, Steel Rose, Tarks Black Rose, Topper Blue, Turtleman, Unbroken and Viva La Moon
.

GRNSW said that the suspensions were pre-emptive in order to prioritise animal welfare and the integrity of the sport and reflect its zero tolerance attitude towards cruelty to animals.

GRNSW said if they were to identify any other greyhounds exposed to live-baiting practices then they too would be suspended until an inquiry had been completed.



In its release, GRNSW said that the its inquiry will include an assessment into the adverse affects associated with live-baiting and that any decisions to life suspensions would be based upon expert veterinary advise.

Supreme Court rules Awesome Project can start in Aus. Cup heats

After six hours in the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday night, Awesome Project has been given the all clear to start in Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Cup heats at The Meadows.

It was announced early on Friday that Awesome Project would be ineligible to compete in the series after the Board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) met on Tuesday and resolved to amend the existing local racing rules and introduce a new rule which prohibits greyhounds to be transferred from a suspended person to a registered person who resides on the same property. 



The Board of GRV amended the Local Racing Rule (LRR) 11.7 and introduced a new LRR 11.8 to directly address the situation that would allow a suspended person to transfer greyhounds into the name of another registered person living at the same address.



The rules came into effect at 9am Friday (February 27 2015) however the Board decided that the transfer of greyhounds from suspended former trainer Darren McDonald into his wife Joanne Gane’s name was to be voided. This struck many people by surprise, given the fact that Awesome Project was transferred into Gane’s name on February 14 2015.



It is the second time in as many weeks that Awesome Project has been withdrawn and re-instated from a feature race. Last week, Greyhound Racing Victoria stood down all greyhounds which were owned or trained by the persons suspended on Friday February 13, which meant that the black dog was taken out of the Group 1 Temlee.



It was later decided by GRV, after Canty threatened them with an injunction, that Awesome Project could line up in the race and he justified that ruling, running a terrific second behind My Bro Fabio for Gane. 



The action continued in Victoria after the running of the Temlee, with GRV Chairman Peter Caillard resigning on Monday. 



Ahead of tomorrows Australian Cup heats, Canty was informed on Thursday night that his greyhound would be withdrawn by stewards acting under their amended and new rules. Canty immediately sought legal advice which resulted in Friday’s after hours Supreme Court hearing.

GRV confirmed in a press release on Friday night that the Supreme Court of Victoria had granted an interim injunction allowing Awesome Project to take its place in the Australian Cup heats. It is still to be determined by the Court whether the injunction should be extended.

“Although we are disappointed with the outcome of this evening’s hearing, and respect the decision of the Court, we will continue take all available action to eradicate the practice of live baiting and take all available action against any individual involved in the practice of live baiting,” GRV’s CEO Adam Wallish said.

Canty on the other hand was understandably relieved to see his star chaser back in the field for the Group 1 Australian Cup heats.

“I think the right decision has been made …. he is back in the race,” Canty said.

Awesome Project will jump from box eight in race 11 at The Meadows on Saturday night for his new trainer Elizabeth Lloyd and will progress through to the following week’s $250,000 final if he is able to win his qualifier. 





Baiting saga update: Brad Canty takes matters to Supreme Court

A NEW welfare levy is being imposed on greyhound prize money and subsidies by Racing Queensland, with it set to raise more than $1.6 million in additional funding as a part of a plan to improve integrity and animal welfare measures.

The new levy comes into effect from March 1 and coincides with Racing Queensland plans to implement a series of changes to the sport’s practices, such as stricter training regulations in regards to the use of lures.

The new levy will be imposed on all feature and base level prize money in addition to incentive and subsidy schemes.

RQ CEO Darren Condon said the changes were being pushed through as a way to improve the greyhound racing industry.

“The greyhound industry is being challenged and we must work together to completely eradicate this type of conduct from the industry forever,” he said

“Racing Queensland has a zero tolerance and will do everything it can to stop it.

“I recognise there are people in the industry who have not been involved in animal cruelty practices, but tough decisions are needed to be made around the way this investigation and our future welfare strategies progress.

“As a result, the levy has been implemented to ensure this contribution is made by the industry.”

Condon further enforced Racing Queensland has zero tolerance for animal cruelty.

“We have made it clear there is no place in the industry for people who engage in animal cruelty practices and while the new measures mean reduced returns to participants, animal welfare must be our number one priority.”

The authority body has outlawed the use of dead animals and animal products for training greyhounds as a part of a new local rule which relates to the types of lures used in training.

“Under the new rule, any lure or similar apparatus used in the training of greyhounds must be artificial and must not carry any organic product, including blood,” Condon said.

As a further rule, Queensland trainers must also provide copies of all invoices relating to the training of greyhounds for this financial year as part of RQ’s current investigation into animal cruelty allegations. 



Another rule has also been implemented, giving Racing Queensland the right to take and retain possession of any greyhound they believe may have been involved in an act of animal cruelty or whose owner or trainer they believe has been involved in any act of animal cruelty.

In further news from Queensland, the lawyers of suspended trainers issued show cause notices as to why they should not be banned from all racetracks for life, in the wake of the Four Corners live-baiting investigation, have made their first submissions. The submissions have reportedly suggested that a lack of action by the racing officials was central to the scandal.

The deadline for trainers to show cause to Racing Queensland as to why they should not be warned off passed on Thursday.

In New South Wales, Harry Sarkis had his license re-instated after GRNSW Stewards received advice from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory in regards to the analysis of substances confiscated from his kennelling establishment on February 18, 2015. He will be able to resume training greyhounds until further inquiries are carried out.

In Victoria, the Board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) at its meeting on February 24 resolved to make amendments to the existing local rules and introduce a new rule which will now make it prohibited to transfer greyhounds from a suspended person into the name of another registered person residing at the same property.

The board made amendments to LRR 11.7 and introduced LRR 11.8 to address the issue of transferring greyhounds into the name of a registered person residing on the same property.

The amendments came into effect at 9am on Friday morning.

The Board resolved on Friday, in accordance with new rule LLR 11.8 that the transfer of greyhounds from suspended trainer Darren McDonald to his wife Joanne Gane on or after February 14 are voided.

Resulting from this, greyhounds which are engaged in the following events have been withdraw by stewards:

– Urban Cargo from Race 5 at Geelong on Friday February 27
– Awesome Project from Race 11 at The Meadows on Saturday February 28

Brad Canty, the owner of Awesome Project, is unable to comment on the situation which would see his greyhound ineligible to compete in a heat of the Group 1 Australian Cup, with the matter in front of the Supreme Court at present time.

Live baiting saga update: Legislation to go before SA Parliament

A SOUTH Australian politician wants action on the live baiting saga with legislation set to go before parliament which will see harsher penalties for anyone found to be violating animal welfare laws.



Michelle Lensink, a Liberal frontbencher, said she was approached with animal welfare concerns in the wake of the ABC’s confronting Four Corners program, and after consideration she believes the higher controls are now required in the industry.



The new greyhound training bill would require all training bullrings used in the state be licensed with those operating unlicensed venues facing harsh penalties of up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine. 



In addition, anyone found guilty of live baiting could face up to penalties as harsh as jail terms and $50,000 fine, with those who knowingly provided an animal for live baiting facing two years and a $20,000 fine.

Lensink’s party is in Opposition in South Australia, so the legislation will be put to senior greyhound officials and the SA government.

Penalties have also been increased for live baiting in WA with those found guilty to be disqualified for no less than 10 years with a fine of $50,000. In addition, those guilty will not be able to make future applications for registered involvement within the sport of greyhound racing.

There will be no distinction between possessing any live animal and actually using it as live bait when it is clear the animal is not a domestic pet. 



No Significant Updates from Queensland



Racing Queensland (RQ) confirmed to Australian Racing Greyhound on Wednesday no greyhounds had been returned to their owners after the authority body seized approximately 100 dogs from the properties of suspended participants last week. 



RQ will still not reveal where the greyhounds are being kept, but did dispel speculation one greyhound had died.



Victorian report to strengthen greyhound racing



A final report will be provided within two months which will detail how to improve animal welfare standards, governance and compliance within the greyhound racing industry in Victoria.

Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, said the Andrews Labour Government would stamp out live baiting when announcing the terms of reference for the Investigation into Animal Welfare and Cruelty in the Greyhound Racing Industry in Parliament on Tuesday night. 

The investigation is set to be led by Victoria’s Chief Veterninary Officer, Cr Charles Milne, in partnership with Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV).

It will include:

  • 

A review of the industry codes and standards in relation to the protection and welfare of animals within the industry
  • A review of the animal welfare governance systems and the strategies for compliance and enforcement.
  • recommendations on how these animal welfare standards, governance and compliance can be improved.



Preliminary reports from Milne and the Racing Integrity Commissioner will be delivered within the next two weeks before the final report is handed to the Minister for Agriculture and the Minister for racing no later than April 30 this year.

“We are serious about animal welfare. We are taking immediate action to address these disgusting acts of cruelty,” Pulford said.



“Live-baiting is barbaric, abhorrent and illegal. It has absolutely no place in Victoria’s racing industry and it must be stopped.”

“We want to send a strong message to the community and the industry that this sort of horrific behaviour will not be tolerated.”







Sweeping changes need to be made from the top down

FORMER US president Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk which read “the buck stops here”. Although far from being the originator of the phrase, Truman displayed the sign to make it clear he was the person ultimately responsible for running the government. Basically, the person at the head of any organisation who should shoulder the ultimate responsibility for any failings within that organisation. Those at the top are usually only too ready to accept the acclaim and the kudos for doing things right, and are happy to be paid pretty well for their endeavours, so it only stands to reason they should also be the first to put their hands up when the system fails, especially when it fails in such a dramatic way as we saw last week.

Yet, as the live-baiting scandal moves from the initial shock and awe stages into the internal inquiry stage there is the very real chance those at the absolute top will manage to keep their jobs, despite the overwhelming evidence of systemic failure to address what is clearly an issue that’d hardly been a secret to those on the front lines of animal welfare. After all, the key words here are “internal inquiry”, basically mates and colleagues going about the task of supposedly uncovering what their mates and colleagues have been doing.

The NSW government essentially did the right thing by disbanding, sacking, or removing – you pick the word you want – the GRNSW board. There was and isn’t, as I understand it, any suggestion any of the members of that board were involved directly in the live baiting of greyhounds. The point the NSW Premier and Racing Minister correctly made, in my opinion, is that, collectively, these were the people charged with overseeing greyhound racing in NSW and, essentially, they failed. That is, the buck should have stopped with them, and so it has.

Unfortunately, in Victoria and Queensland, those at the top of the racing tree remain virtually unscathed. Certainly the chairman of GRV, Peter Caillard, did the honourable thing and resigned from his position. That action showed a measure of integrity, no matter what pressures were being brought to bear behind the scenes.

Yet in Queensland the only senior person to have been removed so far is Wade Birch, the general manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations, and he’s only been “stood down” at this stage. One has to wonder whether there’s been a bit of a quiet word along the lines of, “look, this will all blow over in a few weeks, and it’ll be business as usual here in the Sunshine State. We’ll throw a few of those that were sprung under the bus, but all our mates will be back in the saddle before you can say Fine Cotton and cobalt”.

Am I being cynical? Maybe, but then you have to wonder how it is at all possible that those at the top of what is now called the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board can possibly remain in place given the story broken by journalist Brad Davidson in the February 18 edition of the Gold Coast Bulletin where he claimed, and I quote, “Racing Queensland have conceded they received an email detailing concerns about live baiting in October [2014] from the animal welfare group which helped expose the illegal act … But RQ officials have blamed an ‘administrative error’ for not looking into the matter further.”

The article went on to say, “The Bulletin yesterday [February 17] obtained an email addressed to Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon from Ms Cotton on October 29, 2014, requesting a meeting to discuss ‘a number of animal welfare concerns I have, including … cruel training methods such as live baiting’. The email was addressed to Mr Condon’s office but the chief executive said yesterday an administrative error meant he never personally saw the email and that his assistant forgot to organise a meeting with Ms Cotton.”

Yet, in the first annual report delivered by the QACRIB the same Darren Condon notes: “Welfare continues to be a major focus for Racing Queensland across all its animal participants.”

Elsewhere in the same report comes the clearly fatuous statement: “We set the standard worldwide in the humane treatment of our animals and champion their welfare. We treat our animals, which our sport is totally dependent on, with the same respect and dignity we treat all our sporting legends.”

On Sunday, the ABC Offsiders program hosted by Gerard Whateley covered the story. After outlining the basics of industry participants suspended, greyhounds seized, sponsors pulling out and “ambassadors” leaving their posts came the “but” comment: “Rather incredibly the racing has gone on, unabated…”

Francis Leach, from ABC Grandstand, chimed in, “It beggars belief there hasn’t been a moratorium on the sport just to take stock, because this is obviously endemic and widespread industry practice. It’s gobsmacking.”

Whateley noted, “So the first line of defence was, this is a rogue minority within our sport. How did government not say to them, go away and prove that, because as of yesterday you claim not to have even known this was going on? How do you stand there with the motherhood statement and say, no, no this is not common practice? You, frankly, wouldn’t know.”

Whateley agreed with those who said the sport should have been stopped, for a short period of time. He felt racing should have been suspended for seven days. Fellow panellist Richard Hinds wondered, “Is this a practice that’s been going on and has got worse because the money’s come in, or has it always been there?”

Leach answered with the interesting point, regarding the high level of prizemoney now available, “The bigger the ‘pot’… the bigger challenge it is to people’s moral authority to do the right thing, and they really should have stopped it…”

“The staggering turnaround from Greyhound Racing Victoria,” said Whateley, “was they’d initially banned dogs from the affected stables (sic) from racing for the time being and then under threat of a Supreme Court challenge, which, frankly, they should have met, from owners they asked the owners to sign Statutory Declarations that they had no knowledge that their dog had live baited, which was absurd, and then in the Group 1 race last night which was at The Meadows, the Temlee, one of those dogs ran second, so it’s a purse of $30,000 and … so the trainer affected has been stood down, he was able to transfer all of his dogs into his wife’s name, the environment is absolutely unchanged, the owner was able to threaten the sport to get his dog to be able to run and they picked up their $30,000 …”

And yet, as I write this, the board of GRV remains steadfastly intact.

Final note

I would like to address a couple of points made by those who took the time and effort to comment on my first article on this subject.
Dale Hogan wrote: “Why not mention Sweet It Is since your bringing up dogs mentioned to rubbish them? What, is that a dog you have an interest in so you sweep that one under the rug? I have interstate friends that sent there dogs here to Victoria to compete in Group level racing and are now suspended even though only temporarily staying at ppl who were considered of high standing in racing the dogs hi or low lvl are not at fault so stop rubbishing them or at least mention them all because to me it seems like u just have your own agenda not the sports best interest…”

As I recall there was no mention in the program that Sweet It Is had been given live baits or been broken in using them, so I left it out of the equation. No, I do not have any kind of interest in Sweet It Is, nor, for that matter, do I have any financial or personal interest in any greyhound, anywhere. I have not owned, or part-owned, a greyhound since about 1992. I do not know any of the trainers or any of the people interviewed by, or who appeared on, the Four Corners program. Hence my error in the statement at the end of my piece regarding Amanda Hill, assuming she was still employed as a steward in Tasmania.

The reason I pointed out the overall poor performance levels of both Cee Cee Quoted and Dorak Dessa was not to denigrate those greyhounds per se, it was to make the argument that live baiting did not help either of them go from being slow to fast conveyances.

The best interests of greyhound racing at this juncture are to make sure absolutely every aspect of breeding to rearing to breaking-in to training and retirement is done completely transparently. No excuses.

Live-baiting scandal update: Caillard resigns, Birch stood down

GREYHOUND Racing Victoria chairman Peter Caillard has quit his post in the latest twist in the live-baiting saga.

Caillard informed Martin Pakula, the Victorian Minister for Racing, on Monday he has chosen to resign from his position on the board.

Nearly 40 registered participants have been suspended nationwide so far, including 15 from Victoria, after an investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners. Working with the RSPCA, Animal Liberation Queensland and Animals Australia, it exposed trainers using live rabbits, possums and piglets to train their dogs.

Caillard said in a statement he believed it was in the best interests of all involved for him to step down and that he was confident the required changes would be made for the sport to continue.

“Since the Four Corners program and subsequent discussions and developments, I have made the personal decision that I cannot remain as chairman,” he said.

“I believe in accountability for a chairman of an organisation and that it is in the best interests of the industry that a new person be appointed to this position.

“I wish to emphasise that I am firmly of the view that the new team that has been put in place at GRV are the right people to work with the RSPCA to stamp out this activity once they are given the appropriate powers to do so.

“As a final comment, I will remain available to work closely with the Government and the RSPCA to bring those responsible to justice. I am pleased this activity has been discovered and have no doubt it will be stamped out.”

Caillard also maintained he did not believe the practice was widespread, however, he said he could no longer be satisfied it was restricted to just those caught at the Tooradin trial track. He finished his statement by congratulating the government on its swift action to try to eradicate live baiting.

Also in Victoria and three Group 1 races were run and won at The Meadows on Saturday night with no major incidents to report after it was initially thought a large number of anti-racing protestors would be at the meeting.

The feature events – the Temlee, the Rookie Rebel and Zoom Top, were taken out by My Bro Fabio, Cosmic Wise and Space Star respectively.

Awesome Project, formerly trained by Darren McDonald, was on Friday given the all clear to take his place in the Temlee for McDonald’s wife Joanne Gane and finished second.

There was doubt as to whether the son of Collision and Honour Phase would run after he was suspended from racing earlier in the week when McDonald was stood down due to alleged baiting offences.

RQ Integrity boss on the outer

Racing Queensland has announced the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board has stood down the general manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations, Wade Birch.

Kevin Dixon, chairman of the QACRIB Board, said the action was taken following recent evidence which suggested procedures of the integrity department need to be addressed.

“Information that has to come to light in the past week suggests there are procedural issues within the integrity area of the business,” Dixon said in a press release on Sunday.

“As Mr Birch is the officer responsible for that department, the board has taken the decision that it is appropriate to stand Mr Birch down while those shortcomings are further understood.

“There is no allegation of improper conduct on Mr Birch’s part, however, in the board’s view, it was appropriate he be stood down until the review is completed.”

In total, 13 trainers have so far been stood down in Queensland for alleged live-baiting practices.

Also in the Sunshine State, Australian Racing Greyhound has requested an update in regards to the greyhounds removed from the properties of suspended participants, however, Racing Queensland was not able to provide further information by the time of publishing.

It is understood some owners have lost patience and are considering legal action. RQ has put the number of dogs seized at 100 but it is believed to be much higher than that.

Lavender says standing down was right call

In NSW, Greyhound Racing New South Wales board member Megan Lavender has publicly spoken about her decision to step down.

The entire board and CEO of GRNSW were asked to stand down or be fired by NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant last week.

Lavender, while disappointed, conceded it was in the best interests of the sport for them all to step down.

“It was in the public interest and in the interests of the greyhound racing industry as a whole that I offered my resignation as a board member of Greyhound Racing NSW to the Deputy Premier, Mr Grant,” Ms Lavender said.

“The only other alternative for the Government would have been to call an immediate halt to greyhound racing in our state. This was an option which I was not prepared to countenance because it would have resulted in the immediate unemployment of thousands of innocent NSW residents associated with greyhound racing – from the ladies serving at the tuck shop to the blokes sweeping out the kennels.

“It was for the greater good – the sacrifice of the few to protect the many – and, to quote Sydney Carton, ‘it is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known’.”

Lavender said she in no way supported the actions of the trainers depicted on the ABC’s controversial report.

“What we saw on Four Corners is not just abhorrent. It is revolting. It is vile. It is a crime predicated on evil,” she said.

“I hope that each and every one of the depraved individuals involved is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, which, in this case, can mean nothing short of a custodial sentence.”

Live-baiting scandal: The darkest week in an industry’s history

JUST a week has elapsed since the nation was shocked by revelations of live baiting in the greyhound industry broadcast on the ABC’s investigative program Four Corners. The week has seemed more like a month as the hits kept coming in all three states affected by the raids. Here is how the scandal unfolded:

RSPCA and police raided five properties in Victoria, NSW and Queensland on February 10 and 11, after Four Corners, in conjunction with Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, handed over details of its investigation into cruelty in the sport to state-based RSPCAs. The raids were driven by the RSPCA and targeted alleged use of live-baiting methods. Four Corners screened an episode entitled “Making A Killing” last Monday night (February 16) at 8.30pm, including hidden-camera footage of industry participants engaging in live baiting.

NSW

Breaking-in establishments in the Londonderry area were raided and the registration of the Box Hill Trial Track was suspended. Five participants were immediately stood down for alleged live-baiting activities. Another person, Congewai trainer John O’Brien, was stood down after a property inspection allegedly discovered eight live European rabbits. After Four Corners screened, northern NSW trainer John Thompson was also stood down. Greyhound Racing NSW announced a taskforce with wide-ranging powers to investigate the extent of live baiting in NSW, headed by former High Court justice Michael McHugh. The board of GRNSW was later stood down, as was chief executive Brent Hogan. Paul Newson, head of the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, was installed as interim CEO. The NSW Greyhound of the Year awards night last Friday was postponed. GRNSW stood down three further registered participants for alleged live-baiting offences.

Licensed persons stood down:

John Cauchi: Box Hill Trial Track in the Hills District.

Tony Cauchi: Box Hill Trial Track

Donna Grech

Zeke Kadir: Wilshire Park, popular breaking-in facility near Richmond. Has broken in notable dogs such as Keybow.

Ian Morgan: Sydney trainer with the notable “Quoted” greyhounds. It is a successful line including Best Quoted, which was part-owned by Morgan and won five group races, including the Sandown Cup, SA Distance Championship and Easter Chase.

John O’Brien: Trainer from Congewai in the Hunter district.

John Thompson: Trainer from Shannon Brook near Casino in northern NSW.

Majella Ferguson: Popular Sydney conditioner who won the 2008 NSW Trainer of the Year Award.

David Sundstrom: Trainer.

Bruce Carr: Trainer from Londonderry stood down after stewards allegedly found four live rabbits on his property.

Victoria

After raids by RSPCA and police, the Tooradin trial track near Cranbourne had its registration suspended and 10 industry participants were quickly stood down. Their names were finally released by Greyhound Racing Victoria last last week. It also moved to suspend any greyhounds owned and/or trained by the 10 stood-down participants until after investigations were complete. GRV later stood down five additional persons for alleged live-baiting offences at the Tooradin track. Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, announced an Own Motion Inquiry into live-baiting practices, while the Victorian government also announced it will allocate up to $3 million from the Victorian Racing Infrastructure Fund towards bolstering GRV’s animal welfare and integrity measures. On Monday, February 23, Peter Caillard resigned as chairman of the board of GRV.

Licensed persons stood down:

Darren McDonald: Arguably Australia’s No.1 trainer. McDonald has prepared champions headed by the outstanding Brett Lee, which won 31 of 39 starts with eight placings and was inducted into the AGRA hall of fame.

Chris Connolly: Assists McDonald preparing his champion team of dogs at Devon Meadows.

Stuart Mills: Part of the Mills family, which is greyhound racing royalty in Victoria, and runs the Tooradin trial track. Trains greyhounds in his own right. Brother Andrew is head grader for GRV and a former deputy chief steward.

Tony Mills: Father of Stuart and veteran trainer who won the Ken Carr medal in 2013. The medal recognises outstanding contribution to a greyhound club or clubs. Mills has had a long association with the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club and the National Coursing Association.

Kerry Chalker: Veteran trainer from Pearcedale.

Paul Anderton: Well-known Devon Meadows trainer and lifelong participant in the industry. Anderson has formerly driven the lure at Cranbourne and was a former GRV Steward. Shifty Sticka is his most recent star, though the dog suffered a career-ending injury before it could reach its full potential. Anderson has also been the “slipper” at coursing events.

Dennis Dean: Well known for having the “Hand” dogs. One of the best-known was Henry Hand, which won $113,000 in prizemoney in the mid to late 90s, with 17 wins from 31 starts.

Neville King: The Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club president. Has prepared such stars as Return The King and Boomeroo.

Bob Smith: Former GRV integrity and racing operations manager.

Laurie Cunningham: Long-time trainer.

Kenneth Hodges

Brett Mackie

James Reynolds

Jon Roberts: Trainer who owned and prepared the 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Lord Ducal.

Eric Sykes

Queensland

The raids in Queensland centred around an unregistered greyhound training track at Churchable, 65km west of Brisbane. Seven trainers were immediately stood down for allegedly engaging in live-baiting offences. They have been given seven days to show cause why they should not be warned off Queensland tracks for life. Six others were later stood down and their greyhounds suspended from racing. Racing Queensland on Tuesday seized more than 100 greyhounds. On Sunday RQ announced it had stood down chief steward Wade Birch.

Licensed persons given show-cause notices:

Tom Noble: Owner and operator of the training track at Churchable.

Reg Kay: Champion trainer based at Lowood. Racing Queensland has said Kay will be removed from its hall of fame.

Debra Arnold: Trainer based near Tom Noble’s track at Churchable.

Tony McCabe: Coominya trainer.

James Harding: Coominya trainer.

Michael Chapman: Trainer.

Greg Stella: Trainer.

Licensed persons stood down:

Stephen Sherwell

Gerri Crisci

Anthony Hess

Stephen Arnold

Mick Emery

Samantha Roberts

Amanda Hill stands by her decision to speak out on Four Corners

FORMER steward Amanda Hill is standing by her words despite backlash following her appearance on last Monday’s controversial Four Corners program focusing on live baiting.



The ABC, working with the RSPCA, Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, launched an investigation into live-baiting practices within the greyhound racing industry and caught a large number of trainers red-handed through the use of secret surveillance cameras. 



Hill has received a mixed reaction to her interview on the program where she spoke out on the deplorable practice used by some participants within the sport. 

Some critics accused her of being bitter on the industry after she was forced out of her role in Tasmania.

“People are looking at me thinking I am one of the animal activists, but anyone that knows me knows that I’m not,” Hill said. 



“I didn’t do this for any status or any form of money, I was not paid, I did it because anyone that knows me knows my thoughts on live baiting.



“I didn’t do this to come back into the industry or get a job out of it – I did it because it broke my heart to think that an industry I loved was about to come unstuck in such a catastrophic way. When you know they have this sort of calibre of evidence you think to yourself, ‘What do you do?’.



“I didn’t crucify the industry but unfortunately what I saw as a good deed has bitten me on the backside. I don’t regret it, not for one minute, because I was trying to balance a show that I thought was going to be really hard on the industry.”



Hill has a diverse background in the greyhound racing industry. Starting off as an owner, she also worked as a vet nurse at the Sandown Vet Clinic before becoming a steward in both Victoria and Tasmania. 



“I don’t bet, I don’t gamble, I don’t punt, my involvement with racing is purely because I love the breed. I used to say to Jim Gannon, who was on the GRV board, ‘What they should do …’ and I used to be at him constantly saying they should do this and they should do that.

“Jim came into me one morning and handed me a clipping from The Age and said, ‘What you should do, Amanda, is apply for a job with the regulatory body’. That was the start of it, that’s how I became a steward.”



Hill, who has a Graduate Certificate in Animal Welfare through Monash University, said she found it challenging when working for Greyhound Racing Victoria which ultimately led her to taking a job as Chief Steward in Tasmania. 



“In my time as a steward I found it frustrating in Victoria – we were on different pages. While I understand the marketing and promotion of the sport was important, I also thought that the animal welfare was just as important,” she said.



“When I took the job as the Chief Steward in Tasmania, I did it because I thought that from a position of higher standing, that I could do more to promote animal welfare. 



“When I got to Tasmania one of my first challenges was to re-write the rules and I put in very, very strict animal welfare policies. In my time there, I prosecuted cases of animal welfare.”



Hill said she never had any trouble with animal activists when she was in Tasmania, despite confronting some serious animal welfare cases.



“When I prosecuted live baiting in Tasmania in 2008, Lyn White (from Animals Australia) was quite well aware of it. I didn’t see her make a huge deal about it,” Hill said.



“I had no problems with the animal activists jumping up and down saying, ‘see, it does go on’. I think that was because we were showing that we were proactive on it, if you did something wrong and you got caught, you didn’t participate in the industry.”



Hill said a lot of the problems the industry is facing is due to the fact that the relevant state authorities are not proactive enough to stamp out misconduct.



“My personal opinion on what has happened here is that the regulators have let the industry down. For whatever reasons, I don’t know, was it lack of resources? Lack of knowledge? I can’t say.



“Their approach to animal welfare is all wrong. You don’t ring up a trainer and announce that you are going to be there at 10 o’clock next Wednesday to do an inspection. When I got to Tasmania that is what they used to do, I stopped that. I think that is where the regulators have failed, if you are announcing that you are going there you are not going to be successful.



“Animals Australia went straight in and did what they did, and I know and understand that stewards don’t have that type of power, but it makes my blood boil when you listen to some of the hierarchy say, ‘We had no idea it was going on’ because if they can’t work out why they had no idea, you really have got to question why they are in the positions of power that they are in.”



Hill said she also believed the authority bodies were not working together with the participants to form a mutually trusting relationship, something she feels is extremely important for the industry to operate smoothly. 



“The sad thing is that people in the industry felt that there was no one that they could report this to and that is quite apparent when they (the authorities) said they had no idea it was going on.



“They (the authorities) failed, because you need someone in your ranks that the industry feel they can approach and know that their confidentiality will be protected.”



Hill said the issue needed to be faced as it was never going to just disappear. 



“I can understand why the industry is mad at me, they think I joined in on tarring the (entire) industry with the same brush, but I just tried to be as open and honest as I could be based on my experience.

“Unfortunately a lot of that ended up on the cutting-room floor. No one wanted to speak about it, but it wasn’t going to go away or be buried.”


Hill emphasised the Four Corners program should not brand the entire greyhound racing industry as there are a lot of decent trainers and participants involved for the love of the sport and their dogs.



“The thing that didn’t come across that I was trying to portray is that I don’t believe that it is systemic and until someone can actually give me the evidence that it is, I won’t accept it.



“I am not blind to it, but I don’t believe in alleging things that you haven’t got the hard facts to support and to balance it.”



Moving forward, Hill is adamant things need to change to ensure that greyhound racing survives.




“I don’t blame the industry because there a lot of good people, I blame the regulators because they are the ones that failed.

“I am not saying that I know the answer and I know that there are a lot of people standing around now scratching their heads – but I know that what has been happening hasn’t worked. Unfortunately it had to get to this stage before anyone stood up and took notice. 



“The industry can’t be self-regulated, in the last 10 years I have watched GRV turn into this massive media circus and animal welfare has been missed. In Tasmania the regulation is separate to the promotion and it seemed to work.”



Despite the chaos, controversy and carnage the greyhound industry is facing, Hill remains optimistic the sport will survive and will have a bigger and brighter future.

“The industry is going to take a long time to recover and I am not saying it is going to be overnight but I think when the industry does recover, it is going to flourish, it is going to blossom.



“Did I foresee it going like this? Absolutely not. 



“I wasn’t a whistleblower, the regulators have just failed the industry. That is my opinion and I am happy for people to challenge that.”

Hallinan confirms Zipping Willow will not compete in 2015 Temlee

ZIPPING WILLOW is back in the Richmond Vale kennels of her original trainer, Jason Mackay, after a tumultuous week in the lead-up to the Group 1 Temlee at The Meadows.



After drawing box one in the invitation-only feature, the New South Wales superstar was being prepared in Victoria by Darren McDonald for both that event and for the upcoming Australian Cup series.



But, after just one week in McDonald’s care, her quest for Group 1 glory was halted as she became one of the many chasers suspended across the state when her new trainer was stood down for alleged live-baiting practices on Friday, February 13. 



Zipping Willow’s owner and breeder Martin Hallinan found out on Saturday that McDonald was in trouble with the authorities.



“I only found out through word of mouth, nothing official,” Hallinan said.



“On Saturday morning I got a call to say that Darren was in trouble and that his licence was suspended, but nothing from Greyhound Racing Victoria to say that owners must move their dogs, no email at all.

“I got a hold of Darren and we put her in Joanne’s (Gane, McDonald’s wife) name and we thought everything was cruising along good until the Four Corners program came out. 



“Then I heard they were going to scratch us all if they stayed in Joanne’s name, so I rang Glenn Rounds (prominent Victorian trainer) on Tuesday and said, ‘Please, Glenn, can you go and get my dogs? I don’t want to be scratched’.”



Rounds quickly collected Zipping Willow and transferred the daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass into his name while Hallinan made plans to travel down to Victoria.



“I was going to drive down and check her over because she went extremely well in a trial at The Meadows on Monday night and I was going to stay down there until Friday and then head home,” Hallinan explained.



“I left at 2.30(pm), it’s a 10-hour drive, and it was probably 5.30(pm) when Brad Canty (owner of Awesome Project, also trained by McDonald) rang me to say that we were going to be scratched from the Temlee.”



“About 7 o’clock Glenn Fish (GRV chief steward) rang me and said that there had been a board meeting and it was decided that all dogs that had gone into Joanne’s name were going to be suspended.”



“I said, ‘That’s all right but that there was no notification for me to move that dog out, you could have given me 48 hours and I could have done it officially’. He said the board had spoken.”



After his solicitors sent letters on Tuesday night requesting that Zipping Willow be allowed to start, Hallinan received an email on Wednesday morning to advise that his star performer would not be starting in the Temlee.



“We were sent a slip that was sent to everyone saying that Darren McDonald was suspended on Friday the 13th at 12 o’clock at night. I rang back and said, ‘Glenn, I don’t want that, I want you to tell me Zipping Willow will not start on Saturday night’.



“He then sent me another email that said ‘Zipping Willow is suspended’. I called him back and said, ‘Glenn, just tell me in your terms that she is scratched, because when I go I am not coming back with her’. That’s why she was down there, she doesn’t travel good.



“He told me, ‘Martin, head for home, you will not start’.”



Hallinan then started the long and arduous trip back home to NSW with Zipping Willow. 



“I was driving for home on Wednesday and I was back at Albury when the solicitor rang and told me that all the letters had been sent in and that there was a big possibility that she may get a run,” Hallinan said. 



“But I was headed for home, I had already driven five hours.

“Yesterday (Thursday) Glenn Fish rang me and told me that he thought I was going to be back in because they had lots of complaints.

“I told him to scratch Willow, because she went to my house on Wednesday night and then to Jason’s house on Thursday to get her back in training ahead of the Easter Egg.



“We all got notified last night (that Zipping Willow was back in the race), but we have to file an affidavit to allow her to start again.”



Hallinan is adamant Zipping Willow will not be taking her place on Saturday night.



“We cannot drive back down there in Group 1 racing taking on Free For All dogs to make her look ordinary – you’d kick yourself all the way back home on Sunday for being so stupid.


“It would be different if she was a great traveller, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive back down there today, but I weighed her when I got home and she was 0.6kg down.

“She hasn’t had the normal week that she needed in the lead-up to a Group 1.”



Despite his disappointment, Hallinan has remained understanding in what has been an extremely difficult time in the greyhound racing industry.



“Realistically, what’s happened has happened and I just want to move on. Everyone is saying to sue or do this, do that, but it has been a traumatic week and I just want to move on and live with it and go from there,” he said.



“Everything has gone wrong but sometimes you have just got to turn the other cheek and that is my attitude with it all.



“I would love for Willow to be in it, I have never had a Temlee starter and I don’t think I have had a bitch as good as her for many years. It has all been a bad dream, but I just want to move on.”

GRV released a statement on Friday afternoon explaining that the suspension had been lifted on all involved greyhounds, meaning that technically Zipping Willow and Awesome Project could rightfully contest the race.

Awesome Project will still jump from box four in the Temlee on Saturday night for Joanne Gane.

“The Board of GRV yesterday received a report from the Chief Steward in relation to the progress of that inquiry,” their release said.

“Following receipt of that information, the Board has resolved to lift the suspensions provided that it receives a statutory declaration from the owner stating that, having made reasonable inquiries, they are not aware of the relevant greyhound having been trained using live baiting.

“Needless to say, the suspension may be reinstated if subsequent evidence has been received that the greyhound has been trained in such a manner.

“Suspensions under this Board resolution will be lifted in relation to greyhounds only. The 15 alleged offenders suspended by GRV in relation to live-baiting offences remain suspended.”

More suspensions in NSW and Vic; Qld greyhounds impounded

LEADING Londonderry trainer Harry Sarkis has been suspended immediately by GRNSW stewards following an inspection of his property and kennels.

Sarkis is no stranger to trouble with GRNSW stewards and has been stood down after the inspection revealed vials of substances permanently prohibited under the rules of greyhound racing.

The substances found have not been confirmed but were believed to be growth hormone. If that’s the case Sarkis would be the first trainer in any racing code in Australia to have been found to have used growth hormone, despite decades of its rumoured use in all codes.

GRNSW board member Peter Davis feels like a victim

Sacked GRNSW board member and Fairfax journalist Peter Davis on Thursday told Sky Sports Radio he “feels like a victim”, adding he “was in the right place at the wrong time”. Davis, who once owned and raced a greyhound named Amongst Thieves which was trained by Darren McDonald, says his greyhounds have “never seen a bunny … or anything else” and that “Brent Hogan is the best racing administrator racing has ever seen”.

Davis and his fellow board members were reportedly given the option to stand down or be sacked on Wednesday night.

Seized greyhounds in Queensland have uncertain future

Racing Queensland has confirmed to Australian Racing Greyhound it now has approximately 100 greyhounds in its care following a series of raids. The greyhounds were seized on the basis they may have been exposed to a practice which could compromise their welfare.

Veterinarians have inspected each greyhound to ensure the animals’ health and well-being. RQ will continue to have oversight of the welfare of any greyhounds seized.

RQ said “any owner, whose greyhound has been seized, and who wishes their dog to be returned to their ownership, is encouraged to contact RQ’s licensing department”.

The fate of high-profile and high-worth greyhounds such as Happy Haswell, owned by Reg Kay, is as yet unknown.

GRV names 10 and stands down a further five

Late on Thursday afternoon Greyhound Racing Victoria confirmed the 10 suspended registered greyhound participants and alleged offenders as: Paul Anderton, Kerry Chalker, Chris Connelly, Laurie Cunningham, Dennis Dean, Neville King, Darren McDonald, Anthony Mills, Stuart Mills, and Bob Smith.

Notably, as reported earlier, Anderton is a former GRV steward; King was at the time the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club president; Smith is a former operations and integrity manager of GRV; and, McDonald has been considered one of the most successful trainers of the past two decades.

GRV also announced another five participants have been stood down following review of video footage, but has declined to name them.

Close to 40 participants have been stood down nationwide, including some of the sport’s most prominent trainers. It is not yet known exactly how many registered participants will be implicated in total, however, Queensland Animal Liberation, which conducted the live-baiting investigation in conjunction with the RSPCA and Animals Australia, has estimated the figure to be 70.

Huge fines and jail terms are possible for those found guilty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

GRV announces only artificial lures permitted

The board of GRV has resolved that only artificial materials are permitted for use as a lure for the purpose of training a greyhound. This is effective immediately.

The decision means trainers will no longer be able to use dead animal carcasses or skins on the arm of a lure as a reward for their greyhound.

Controversy surrounds Temlee night at The Meadows

Brad Canty has threatened to put an injunction on The Meadows racing on Saturday night if his greyhound, Awesome Project, is not reinstated in the field for the Group 1 Temlee.

Trained for most of his career by Darren McDonald, Awesome Project was one of the greyhounds stood down from competing after his trainer was also stood down for alleged live-baiting practices.

“If the dog is not reinstated, we’ll be getting the race stopped and pretty confident that will happen,” Canty said.

“No one rang us … we heard nothing … they [GRV] have no idea what they’re doing.”

Also implicated by suspension is NSW star Zipping Willow, which was transferred to McDonald’s kennel just days before he was stood down in order to compete in the lucrative Australian Cup carnival. She had drawn box one in the invitation-only Temlee.

Staying on Temlee night, and it is expected a large group of animal activists will be holding a protest at The Meadows on Saturday. GRV CEO Adam Wallish said they were preparing for action such as this with increased security set to be in place.



”There has been a lot of planning and investment [that has gone into the carnival], it is an event that is steeped in history and some of the best greyhounds from around the country will be participating,” he said. “We are hopeful that it will be an uninterrupted and successful event.”

More sponsors pull the pin on greyhound racing

The list of sponsors which have pulled their sponsorship for greyhound racing has continued to grow. Mazda, Schweppes, Hyundai, Autobarn, Bendigo Bank, Century 21 and Macro Meats have all reportedly cut ties with the sport after the damning live-baiting footage that was shown on the ABC’s Four Corners program on Monday night.

As greyhound racing continues to lose valuable sponsors, Greens MP John Kaye has called for an immediate suspension of the sport.

“Trainers live-bait their dogs to give them a winning edge. All races must be suspended to stop these participants profiting from their unconscionable behaviour and the opportunity for any incentive for the practice to continue,” he said.

Amanda Hill stands by her statements

Amanda Hill, the former GRV steward who appeared on Four Corners, stands by what she said in the show despite a backlash from many greyhound racing participants. Australian Racing Greyhound spoke with Hill and on Friday will feature a full interview about her decision to appear on the ABC’s program and her thoughts on the future of greyhound racing.

Adoption program moves to dispel myths after live-baiting saga

ASK any greyhound owner about the breed’s suitability as a family pet and you’ll hear about a dog with a beautiful, placid and sometimes lazy nature.

It seems a far cry from the speed machines we see flying around the race track chasing the mechanical bunny, but greyhounds have been proven to make fantastic and safe family pets.

It’s a point Dr Linda Beer, greyhound welfare manager at Greyhound Racing Victoria, hopes people don’t forget in the wake of this week’s shocking live-baiting saga.

AustralianRacingGreyhound.com was lucky enough to chat with Dr Beer this week with a simple goal in mind – reminding the public about the many benefits of the Greyhound Adoption Program.

Like many around the nation, Dr Beer was horrified by the live-baiting footage screened by the ABC’s Four Corners on Monday night and she now fears for the public perception of the breed.

“The live-baiting footage was distressing and disgusting for all that viewed it,” she said.

“The footage certainly has the potential to impact the wonderful work of the Greyhound Adoption Program in two ways – firstly by portraying the greyhounds as savage killers, and secondly by suggesting that all greyhounds will have been exposed to this type of ‘training’.

“There is no doubt that some people watching the footage of Monday night will now think of all greyhounds as ‘savage’ and ‘dangerous’.

“During the Four Corners report, Professor Paul McGreevy from Sydney University explained some of the behavioural aspects involved, and attested to the normally placid and lazy nature of the greyhound breed. Unfortunately, his comments are unlikely to have been remembered by viewers once the very graphic footage that followed was aired.”

Dr Beer explained the thorough process in which racing greyhounds are tested and trained to become suitable for adoption.

She stressed the importance of remembering the greyhound is no different to hundreds of breeds of dogs around the globe that have been bred for generations to help in hunting endeavours.

“The Greyhound Adoption Programs across the country will test and assess any greyhound, regardless of whether it has raced 100 times, or if it has never even seen a race track because it has not shown any interest in chasing.

“There are dogs that pass and dogs that fail the national temperament test (which includes a prey-drive assessment) from both of these populations.

“The GAP staff would have absolutely no way of knowing if a greyhound had been exposed to live-baiting practices during its life.

“Even if a greyhound fails the national temperament test, it does not mean that they cannot go on to be a loved family pet, it just means that they need to managed in such a way that they are not a risk to small, mobile animals.”

With the greyhound industry facing its darkest hour, Dr Beer said the Greyhound Adoption Programs would spend countless hours dispelling the myths surrounding the breed. Some of the biggest barriers to new adoptions are the public’s misconceptions about the activity levels, feeding requirements and typical temperament of the greyhound.

Anyone who has owned a retired greyhound, or who has friends or family with one, will attest to the lazy, placid nature of this breed.

Victorian Govt waiting on inquiry before acting on GRV board

THE Greyhound Racing Victoria board will not meet the same fate as its recently-sacked NSW counterparts.

For now.

Speaking exclusively with AustralianRacingGreyhound.com, Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, dismissed speculation of a potential GRV clean-out on Thursday.

Perna, who announced an Own Motion Inquiry into live-baiting allegations on Tuesday, said he believed the Victorian Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, would not act before that inquiry was complete.

“The only person who can sack the board is the minister and, to the best of my knowledge, he won’t be pre-empting the inquiry just days after green-lighting it,” he said.

Perna, the man charged with getting to the bottom of the live-baiting debacle that has crippled the greyhound racing industry, said his office would be working alongside GRV and the RSPCA to ensure every guilty party was brought to justice.

“The way I look at it is, at the moment we are dealing with an absolutely disgusting, sickening act,” he said.

“We have to investigate whether it is isolated or widespread and if it’s actually worse than we know.

“We have Greyhound Racing Victoria, which will focus its resources on investigating the breaches to its laws, and the Victorian RSPCA, which will work through the cruelty-to-animals issues.

“We expect those two bodies to work quickly and thoroughly to ensure the right people see justice. While they work, we will be operating in the background on a broader perspective of the whole saga.

“Did GRV know about live baiting? Did officials turn a blind eye? How far does the corruption go? These are the questions that will form our investigation. They will take longer to sift through as we gather all the information.”

Perna acknowledged the pressure was on his inquiry to deliver results quickly, but said the investigation could not afford to be rushed.

“I am not going to run a half-baked inquiry. The worst thing we can do is act on knee-jerk reactions before we know all the facts and have collected all the evidence.”

Perna refused to put a timeline on the inquiry, but speculated that with the amount of evidence being introduced, it could take up to two months.

The Racing Integrity Commissioner did not know the reasoning behind the NSW Government’s decision to immediately dump its greyhound racing board, but said Victorians shouldn’t expect the same approach.

The Greyhound Racing NSW board resigned late last night after being threatened with an immediate dismissal by the New South Wales Government.

Following a shocking Four Corners report on Monday night, the topic of live baiting has flooded newspapers, social media, talk-back radio and other national media.

Perna said he was not shocked by the story’s effect on the public.

“I’m not shocked at how the story has been received around the country because it is a highly emotive issue.

“You could have governing issues, drug issues or race-fixing issues and the only people who would care would be those inside the industry, but the moment you have cruelty to animals it becomes a social issue and everyone is incensed. Rightly so, too.”

Live-baiting scandal: more suspensions on way in Victoria

GREYHOUND Racing Victoria CEO Adam Wallish has told Australian Racing Greyhound that it expects to stand down more registered participants in coming days as the live-baiting saga intensifies. 


The state body suspended the registration of 10 participants and the Tooradin Trial Track last week for alleged baiting offences after it was advised on Wednesday that the RSPCA had been investigating alleged illegal activity at the track.



After receiving further information from the RSPCA and the Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, last Friday, GRV made the decision to instantly suspend the registrations. 



While GRV is yet to formally disclose any names, shocking vision on the ABC’s Four Corners program on Monday seemingly identified many of the implicated trainers, including one of Australia’s top mentors. 



On Wednesday, Wallish said more suspensions were on the way, while he would not divulge when GRV would confirm the names of all suspended participants.



“We are still acting in accordance with our legal advice at the moment not to make those names public so until that changes we will keep them within GRV,” he said.



“We are going through the process at the moment and within the next day or two it is likely that [more suspensions] will happen.”



Wallish went on to say GRV had no tolerance for those who engaged in live-baiting activities. 



“We are all disgusted by the footage and the criminal behaviour that we saw on the Four Corners program on Monday night, it was despicable. Make no mistake, it was criminal behaviour and I am sure that the RSPCA and GRV will prosecute as hard as we can.”



While there has been speculation the sport may be suspended following the shocking Four Corners vision that depicted participants training their dogs by allowing them to maul rabbits, pigs and native possums, Wallish also said he believed that was highly unlikely.



“I don’t think it is warranted (suspending racing) and I think that it is over the top and I think it would be very unlikely to happen,” he said.



“Greyhound Racing employs directly 3000 people in Victoria and 20,000 people are involved. We have an economic impact in Victoria of $350,000,000, it is an important business, so I think it would be unlikely.”



In other developments:

  • Greyhound Racing NSW has stood down another three participants for alleged baiting offences. Trainers Majella Ferguson and David Sundstrom have been stood down pending further investigation. GRNSW’s actions follow property inspections by RSPCA NSW in connection with alleged live-baiting activity at the Londonderry property of Zeke Kadir last week. Kadir was one of the five participants stood down last Friday. GRNSW said it felt confident it could identify another seven people who are of interest in relation to the footage captured on the property between December 5, 2014, and January 29, 2015. Licensed trainer Bruce Carr has also been suspended after GRNSW removed four live rabbits from his property.

  • One of the sport’s biggest sponsors – meat provider Macro Meats Gourmet Game – on Wednesday withdrew its support. Macro Meats boss Ray Borda told the Sydney Morning Herald: “It’s not just a business decision, it’s a personal decision. I’m as appalled as everybody else. It sickens me, my staff and a lot of people in the public.” Borda said the company, which sponsored Albion Park in Brisbane as well as races such as the Golden Easter Egg, could return as a sponsor but “they’d have to address animal welfare issues, that’s the No.1 problem, and change the image of what it is”.
  • Animal Liberation Queensland has renewed calls for the state government to scrap its planned $12 million track at Cronulla Park at Logan. And former Brisbane Lions AFL superstar Jonathan Brown has stepped aside from his role as an ambassador for Queensland greyhound racing.
  • Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting, famously one of Australia’s leading greyhound owners,  told News Limited via email: “Greyhounds have been a part of my life from my earliest memories and I’m devastated that the industry has been smeared by the actions of a minority. I’m horrified by the revelations.’’
  • Racing Queensland hits seven trainers with show-cause notices

    A DAY on from the screening of the Four Corners investigation into live baiting in greyhound racing, the hits keep coming for the besieged industry.

    Authorities in the three states affected by the scandal tried to present a united front amid a climate of anger and disgust over the acts of cruelty by greyhound participants in footage presented by the ABC.

    There were widespread calls for life bans for anyone found guilty of live-baiting offences and a push to prevent trainers accused of serious offences from transferring dogs into the care of others so they could continue racing.

    Other developments included:

  • In Queensland, seven trainers – Tom Noble, Reg Kay, Debra Arnold, Tony McCabe, James Harding, Michael Chapman and Greg Stella – were issued show-cause notices as to why they should not be warned off Queensland racetracks for life. A further six were stood down by stewards.
  • In NSW, trainer John Thompson was added to the list of those stood down, bringing the number in that state to six.
  • In Victoria, a former Greyhound Racing Victoria integrity and racing operations manager was identified as among those in attendance as live baiting was employed at the Tooradin trial track.
  • NSW and Victorian industry awards nights set down for Friday have been postponed, as has an awards night in Queensland.
  • Federal politician Andrew Wilkie has called for greyhound racing to be suspended nationally.
  • The Racing Queensland board met at Deagon on Tuesday afternoon and six trainers were added to the list of those stood down. “The other six trainers also remain suspended and their greyhounds suspended pending the outcome of the investigation,” chairman Kevin Dixon said in a statement. “Those individuals are Stephen Sherwell, Gerri Crisci, Anthony Hess, Steven Arnold, Mick Emery and Samantha Roberts.”

    Dixon said it had also been decided Reg Kay would be removed from the Queensland Greyhound Hall of Fame.

    GRV has resolved to suspend any greyhound trained and/or owned by the 10 persons suspended by the board, on Friday, February 13, in relation to live baiting. The dogs will reportedly not be able to race until investigations into the allegations are completed.

    Time for a fresh start: ARG responds to live-baiting crisis

    MAKE no mistake, greyhound racing in Australia is teetering on the brink of destruction.

    The calls for an end to greyhound racing are coming from far and wide in the aftermath of the Four Corners expose originating from Animal Liberation Queensland’s efforts.

    Over the past eight years of Australian Racing Greyhound, we have observed, heard and frequently been on the end of abuse and “requests” to stop the sport.

    In the past two years those voices have grown louder and the support base has spread from the fanatical animal welfare “professionals” to those further from the fringes.

    In the past 12 hours, those voices have been joined by many sensible, reasonable-thinking Australians who have quickly taken to social media to express their outrage – and justifiably so.

    What was shown on Monday night in the living rooms of Australia is indefensible.

    There are no words which can placate those assaulted by the images or mitigate the reactions to the vision.

    Greyhound racing has reached a crossroad – it can continue on in a whole new form with new leadership and a new set of values; or it can go the way so many have before it.

    To survive, greyhound racing will require strong, transparent leadership with a strong focus on integrity and welfare – we do not have that currently. It could be argued all racing codes suffer this dilemma, and recent fiascos in AFL and NRL demonstrate integrity is not an issue reserved for the racing codes, but greyhound racing has suffered from a terminal lack of “backbone” from its leaders who are all too happy to hide behind “incidents” and “ongoing investigations” than to put forward the brutal truth.

    In the lead-up to the most destructive media event of the year, our leaders seemed to be more concerned with controlling the message than providing that transparency. It was difficult to extract comment from GRV, and the fact we are the only independent media organisation devoted to the coverage of Australian greyhound racing online should not be lost in the noise. This is the same group of people who invited the ABC journalists in on the pretence they were doing a positive story on increasing popularity and TAB turnover in the sport. The words naïve and inept come to mind.

    Due in no small part to the short-sighted dealings of the Greyhound Action Group in New South Wales, who got into bed with the Greens and animal welfare groups to get its facile NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the sport off the ground last year, the bright light of the animal welfare and anti-racing groups was already shining on greyhound racing. After Monday night, that spotlight has turned supernova and includes many who the sport may have considered allies. The heartland of greyhound support, the blue- and white-collar families of suburbia, have turned on the sport in numbers; and the horse racing crowd and their high-profile names have lent their support to calls to ban the sport.

    Clearly greyhound racing is on the wrong path; the vast and overwhelming venom and disgust for the sport are palpable.

    Swift, dramatic and conclusive changes must take place, and they must take place immediately.

    Those who led us here, whether through ignorance or apathy, must be removed for there to be any hope that confidence in the sport will return.

    Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for the chairs of the three boards concerned – Greyhound Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing New South Wales and Racing Queensland – to stand down or be removed at once.

    Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for the chief executive officers of the three racing authorities concerned – Greyhound Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing New South Wales and Racing Queensland – to stand down or be removed.

    Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for the chief stewards of the three authorities concerned – Greyhound Racing Victoria, Greyhound Racing New South Wales and Racing Queensland – to stand down or be removed.

    Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for life bans for those identified in the vision as perpetuating these acts of extreme animal abuse.

    Australian Racing Greyhound is calling for an end to the revolving door of suspensions and disqualifications being subverted by authorising the transfer of greyhounds from the offending trainer to their spouse.

    Only clear and decisive actions such as these will even partially restore faith that our authorities can properly administer the sport.

    Australian Racing Greyhound fears it is too late.

    ABC live-baiting investigation draws blood

    “This is the vision the greyhound racing doesn’t want you to see.”

    Powerful opening words backed up by a horrific image of a terrified live rabbit on the lure.

    In the lead-up its screening on Monday night, ABC’s investigative program Four Corners promised to expose “the gruesome underbelly of greyhound racing” in its latest episode, Making A Killing, following last week’s co-ordinated raids by police and RSPCA on multiple training establishments across the country, which found illegal live baiting occurring on-site.

    CEO of Greyhound Racing Victoria Adam Wallish called the story, which started with findings from Four Corners in conjunction with Animal Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, “explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia.”

    What was delivered is a serious wake-up call for regulators and a shocking look into the illegal practices of some trainers – one that can be used as a vehicle for change.

    Queensland wrap-up:

    • Prominent greyhound breeder and trainer and president of the United Queensland Greyhound Association Deborah Arnold allowed her 70 greyhound puppies and racing dogs at her property ‘Dessa Downes’ in Churchable to be filmed by Four Corners. “The kennels have to be RSPCA QLD-approved,” said Arnold. “It definitely meets the requirements.” When questioned on the practice of live-baiting, Arnold denied any knowledge of it: “If they do I don’t know about it, and I don’t really want to know about it.”
    • Undercover footage from Animal Liberation Queensland and Animals Australia earlier filmed a training track in Churchable, Queensland, across the road from Arnold’s property. On film, it captures Arnold and her dog Dorak Des chasing a live pig on the lure while Arnold asks “what’s the quickest been today” before being informed her dog is. Arnold is later asked by Four Corners what mantra is at the forefront of greyhound racing in 2015, to which she states, “animal welfare.”
    • Professor of animal behaviour and animal welfare science Paul McGreavy offered his comments on the matter of live-baiting coming from a decade of research into the breed, insisting there are breeds far more dangerous and that greyhounds are simply “chasing to catch, not to kill”. He emphasises the dogs “love racing, they love moving around that speed – they’ll be getting off on this,” and that they “are so sedentary when they’re not exposed to this stimuli.”
    • Animal Liberation Queensland investigator Hailey Cotton reveals the first tip-off regarding live-baiting in Churchable was passed to her: “Their words to me were ‘something really bad is going on there,’ and they said ‘it smells like death’”.
    • Undercover cameras were placed in the property of prominent Queensland trainer Tom Noble, a celebrated, award-winning greyhound trainer with almost 50 years in the game. His break-in centre is the epicenter of greyhound training in Queensland, and the live baiting footage of Deborah Arnold’s dog occurred on his track.
    • More than 40 owners, trainers and handlers are recorded on camera while live baiting occurs on Tom Noble’s property. “These people are leading trainers, they’re training their dogs with these methods,” said Cotton. “They’re then going on to win races using these methods, so the whole integrity of greyhound racing is really brought into question here.”
    • Footage confirms four times a week, piglets and later possums are flung around Noble’s track 26 times at high speed. The piglet is shown squealing with a man on the camera swearing at it, and one or two dogs are let loose to chase, grab and maul the possum while it’s still alive. Some 56 minutes later, the lure stops and the possum is snapped in half, the corpse still attached by its spinal cord, with the men in the footage making light of the situation.
    • Discussion of dumping dead dogs is captured on film, leading the investigation to ask NSW greyhound trainer John Thompson about the issue. Animal Liberation Australia links him as the man in the footage telling others to smash a baby possum’s head in so the live baiting of its mother can begin. “They ripped the baby from the mother, they tied the mother on the lure, and they then stick the baby’s head in the sand to kill it while its mother is watching on, all the time laughing and joking on how amusing it is,” said Hailey Cotton.

    Victoria wrap-up:

    • In mid-November 2014, Lyn White of Animals Australia simultaneously led an investigation at the Tooradin Trial Track in Victoria after a tip-off. Considered to be in the heart of greyhound racing territory in the state, the track is run by owner operator Stuart Mills, whose brother is Andrew Mills, former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator’s chief racing grader for the entire state.
    • Lyn White reveals 17 people were captured live baiting the first time undercover footage was recorded. The first trainer identified is former steward of Greyhound Racing Victoria Paul Anderton, who arrives as Stuart Mills attaches a lure on a wooden plank with leather straps, before returning with a live rabbit and stretching it out tightly as he buckles it down flat. The rabbit is shown returning five minutes later, mauled but still alive and twitching in agony. “It tells me this is a practice that has been going for an acceptable level to trainers for years and years,” White said.
    • Anderton’s dogs went on to win three races days after being captured on the footage in Tooradin. President of Cranbourne Racing Club Neville King is also filmed on camera live baiting two days before Christmas at Tooradin.
    • Trainer Dennis Dean and a young girl watch as live rabbits are leashed and thrown to the dogs to kill. CEO of Greyhound Australasia Scott Parker was questioned on his thoughts of live-baiting behaviour during the revelations of the footage and the discovery of children being brought to watch while it occurs: “I think that’s ridiculous and abhorrent. I don’t support that at all. I’m not aware of it, and never heard of it, live baiting is illegal as well as being wrong and against the rules of greyhound racing.”
    • Footage of dogs on the Tooradin track is shown, encouraged to savagely kill several rabbits, which are skinned or tied as they maul them.
    • Former steward at Greyhound Racing Victoria Amanda Hill says there was a problem inside GRV regarding regulators failing to pick up and follow on rumours of live-baiting in the state: “Lack of resources, lack of funds, lack of knowledge, or plainly, they don’t want to accept that it’s a possibility.” She believes some trainers are “doing it to try and get an edge. It’s probably harder to get caught live baiting than what it is to using performance-enhancing drugs.”
    • Hill left GRV in 2004 and became the Chair of Stewards in Greyhound Racing Tasmania, where she was able to do better in stopping live baiting. In 2008, Hill caught a female trainer red-handed live baiting a possum. Possum carcasses were found all over the track, and it remains one of two cases in the past decade where a steward has followed through and successfully convicted a live baiter.
    • Hill identifies two-time Australian greyhound trainer of the year Darren McDonald as one of the figures caught on film three days before the 2014 Melbourne Cup, engaging in live baiting at Tooradin alongside handler Chris Connelly. He is shown on camera carrying a sack with a tiny pink piglet before placing it on the lure. The two men remove the muzzles on their dogs after two laps and the dogs maul the piglet, heard squealing as it dies off-camera. McDonald has since transferred all of his greyhounds to his wife’s name.

    New South Wales wrap-up:

    • McDonald’s top sprinter Keybow is revealed by Four Corners to have been broken in across the border in NSW at Londonderry by Zeke Kadir.
    • Four Corners received a tip-off within the industry that Kadir was rumoured to be the best live baiter within the state, and that it occurred at his property as part of his training purposes. “He mentioned that he broke (in) Keybow, and he talked about how he gets live rabbits from a person he knows, and he gets about 30 a week,” a private investigator for Four Corners confirms.
    • Footage shows Zeke Kadir using the rabits tied to a hand-pushed lure, controlled by Kadir. They’re dragged along the ground at speed pursued by dogs in training. On January 12, 2015, the footage captures Ian Morgan arriving at the venue for a private session, where a native possum is strung to the lure struggling to escape as two muzzled greyhounds attempt to bite the possum. Four minutes later, the muzzles come off and the cry is captured off-screen of the possum’s demise. “I am fearful at how widespread this is, and the consequences for literally thousands of animals each year,” said Lyn White.
    • Morgan is later seen removing the dead possum from his greyhound, Cee Cee Quoted. Four days later, Four Corners catches him leaving his Western Sydney home bound for an afternoon race meet in Newcastle, where Cee Cee Quoted places third. John Cauchi, of Box Hill, was also caught practising live baiting by hand.
    • Aftermath:

    • Four Corners notes requests for interviews with the regulators in all three states caught live-baiting were declined, deferring comment to CEO of Greyhounds Australasia Scott Parker. “I don’t suspect this is a systemic problem at all,” Parker said. “It’s illegal, abhorrent, and totally rejected by the industry.”
    • When asked about how three tracks have been confirmed to have had live baiting occurring on site that have not been detected by regulators, Parker surmises “our controlling bodies do a great job, but it’s a big industry and a lot of these facilities are a long, long way away from Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane – and that’s why compliance officers are employed to get out there.”
    • In Queensland, RSPCA caught the live-baiters at Tom Noble’s establishment during their follow-up raids and saved a live piglet tied in a sack moments away from being bound and baited. Tom Noble was on-site, as well as his staff James Draws and Tony McCabe. They denied any wrong-doing despite being caught on film. RSPCA eventually found a second piglet hidden inside a shed on the property, wounded from a previous live-baiting session.
    • At Tooradin, Stuart Mills was watched closely, but no animals were caught on-site. Four Corners visited him the next day of the raids, and he’s clearly shaken as he maintains his denials about live-baiting.
    • Zeke Kadir’s property was visited, but he refused to answer Four Corners’ reporters on live baiting.
    • Four Corners’ investigations are now a criminal matter, with state charges imminent.

    Post program:

    • In Victoria, GRV chair Peter Caillard has welcomed a $6 million government investment for investigative resources for GRV to help detect and prevent practises such as live-baiting from occurring in the future. In addition, GRV have also announced that dead animals will no longer be allowed to assist in the training of greyhounds. “The use of live animals is already outlawed. GRV will also outlaw the use of dead animals in greyhound training whether on private premises or registered training premises,” Mr Caillard said in a press release. Caillard has also agreed to cancel the Greyhound Industry Awards night, which was to be held this Friday night, after instruction from MP Martin Pakula. The Darren McDonald-trained Sweet It Is was the frontrunner to take out the highest honour, 2014 Victorian Greyhound of the Year.
    • In New South Wales, GRNSW have announced that a taskforce has been established to investigate the extent of the live-baiting practices in the state. The taskforce will be led by former High Court justice and eminent legal practitioner, the Hon. Michael McHugh AC, QC. The taskforce will look into the training methods used in NSW and will arrange for trial tracks and training facilities to be monitored. It is also set to examine whether GRNSW and relevant agencies such as the RSPCA NSW have the necessary powers to correctly investigate animal cruelty allegations. “We need to stamp out live baiting once and for all. Not only is it illegal but it is sickening and we are disgusted with what we have witnessed on air,” GRNSW CEO Brent Hogan said in a press release. “GRNSW welcomes Michael McHugh’s acceptance to head this taskforce and is committed to working closely with him and the taskforce as quickly as we can. The taskforce will help ensure that live baiting and other acts of animal cruelty identified in NSW are eradicated as quickly as possible.”

    Fallout spreads as industry braces for Four Corners probe

    THE shockwaves in the industry from the co-ordinated RSPCA-police raids targeting alleged live baiting continue to spread and the raids may be about to net their biggest name yet.

    While the ruling body down south, Greyhound Racing Victoria, has stood down 10 participants, it has refused to name them or the offences with which they are to be charged.

    Most are believed to have been stood down because of alleged activities at the Tooradin Trial Track, an establishment run by Stuart Mills which has had its registration suspended.

    Tooradin Trial Track is a family-run operation, with the Mills name synonymous with greyhound racing in Victoria. Stuart Mills’ father Tony was the 2013 winner of the Ken Carr Medal, the highest award for excellence within the Victorian greyhound industry.

    Stuart Mills refused to comment on the allegations on Sunday, neither confirming nor denying he was one of those stood down.

    CEO of Greyhound Racing Victoria Adam Wallish said in a letter addressed to participants at the weekend that the organisation had no tolerance for people who chose to engage in live-baiting activities.

    “It is extremely disappointing that there are still people in this sport that appear to partake in this practice or are complicit in its continuation,” he said.

    “GRV has been very clear that community standards regarding the treatment of animals have changed significantly over the years and it is disappointing that some in this sport have not moved with the times.”

    In other developments:

  • A leading Victorian trainer is believed to have been stood down, though it is not yet known what any possible charges relate to.

  • Racing Queensland has set up a $1 million taskforce to be chaired by Racing Integrity Commissioner Jim O’Sullivan to combat live baiting and other animal welfare issues. It has also announced a $1 million boost to its Greyhound Adoption Program budget.
  • In NSW, GRNSW is expected to make an announcement in the next few days in regards to the establishment of an independent taskforce. The aim will be to investigate training methods used within the state and to control and supervise registered trial tracks, breaking-in centres and training facilities.

    The taskforce is also set to identify whether GRNSW and all relevant agencies have the power to properly investigate claims of animal welfare breaches and cruelty themselves and to ensure GRNSW is fulfilling its duties in regards to welfare and integrity.

    The live-baiting furore comes as the ABC’s Four Corners is to on Monday night broadcast an episode entitled “Making A Killing”, which it says exposes the dark underbelly of the sport and will change it forever.

    Wallish’s letter cautioned participants the Four Corners program would be hard hitting and potentially upsetting for some members of the greyhound racing fraternity.

    “Make no mistake, this story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia,” he wrote.

    “As a group of people that love the greyhound breed we should all be shocked and outraged by the allegations in the story and prepared to fight the small minority that continue to partake in such practices jeopardising the future of the sport and indeed the future of the breed itself.

    “You will be emotional, you might be angry. Don’t be angry at those that attack us, regardless of their position. Be angry at those within the sport that are doing the wrong thing and undermining the values for which we stand.”

    Last week, police and RSPCA officials raided properties in NSW, Queensland and Victoria, with seven industry participants immediately stood down in Queensland, six in NSW and 10 in Victoria.

    What you may have missed: New incentives for Vic stayers

    THE Meadows Greyhound Club in Victoria has introduced a new incentive for its handicapped staying events conducted over 725 metres.

    Any greyhound which wins off nine metres (with 10m being the standard in stakes races) will collect an extra $1000 for their connections, greyhounds which win off eight metres will receive a bonus of $2000 and greyhounds successful off seven metres will receive $3000.

    Dyna Kayla chalks up another win

    Successful partnership Andrea Dailly and Brendan Wheeler have another reason to celebrate, with Dyna Kayla being named The Meadows Greyhound of the Year for 2014.

    The beautifully bred daughter of Surf Lorian and Amity Bale raced 25 times during 2014, recording 11 wins, six of which were at The Meadows. Dyna Kayla won over 525m, 600m and 725m, with her biggest achievements finishing second in the Group 1 Superstayers Final and runner-up in the Group 1 Zoom Top Invitational final.

    GRV puts kennel plan on back-burner

    Greyhound Racing Victoria’s trial of a new kennel procedure, where trainers were allowed access for a short time to their greyhounds in late races, has been dismissed.

    Due to an overwhelming outcry against the procedure, Greyhound Racing Victoria has suspended the trial immediately. It will now investigate other ways to reduce the kennelling time of greyhounds.

    Worth another look

    My Bro Fabio produced a sensational come-from-behind victory in Saturday night’s Group 1 Perth Cup at Cannington, weaving his way through the field to secure $140,000 for trainer Brooke Ennis and owner Michelle Jones.

    Clocking a time of 30.34, the son of Turanza Bale and Flamenco took his prizemoney total to $369,325 as he recorded win No.24 from start 47.

    Lock in your diary

    February 9: Semi-finals, Group 2 Launceston Cup – 515m

    February 14: Semi-finals, Group 2 Vince Curry Memorial Maiden – 520m

    Hunt greyhound returns positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine

    ANOTHER high-profile trainer may be in hot water with stewards: one of Jenny Hunt’s greyhounds has returned a positive swab to the permanently banned prohibited substances amphetamine, methamphetamine and its metabolites.



    The greyhound in question, Jubilea Bale, was scratched from Sandown Park on Thursday (February 5) by order of stewards after they were notified by the Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) that Jubilea Bale had returned a positive post-race urine sample to the above substances after winning her heat of the Group 2 Warragul Cup on January 17.

    Glen Canty, GRV’s general manager of integrity, racing and welfare, said it was not uncommon for a swab sample to take that long to be tested, regardless of it being for a heat of a Group feature.

    “The time-frame can vary for a number of reasons specific to the swab taken but three weeks is not unusual,” he said.
    


    A kennel inspection of Hunt’s property was conducted on Thursday.

    Jubilea Bale will be unable to race until she returns a swab sample that is not in breach of the Greyhounds Australasia rules. The results of testing on the reserve and control substances from the Warragul race are not yet known.

    “It is important to note that Ms Hunt has the right to have the reserve and control sample testing done in the presence of an independent approved analyst nominated by her,” Canty said. “At the moment we do not have a time-frame, the process is in the hands of RASL.

    “The reserve and control samples are yet to be analysed and the investigations pertaining to this particular case are currently proceeding. As such GRV is unable to provide any more information on this matter at this time.”

    Jubilea Bale, which has won 14 of 44 starts, with 12 placings, ran fifth in the final of the Warragul Cup on January 23.

    

Hunt shot to training prominence after taking over the large team of greyhounds formerly trained by her prolific father-in-law Graeme Bate,who is serving a three-year disqualification for five offences relating to prohibited substances.

    Victoria-based Hunt is one of the country’s leading mentors, training many of her greyhounds for leviathan owner/breeder Paul Wheeler, including Dyna Villa, arguably the nation’s best sprinter.

    Dyna Villa, which has won an incredible $634,990 in prizemoney and is expected to soon become the greatest prizemoney earner in Australian history, runs in Sunday’s Group 2 Shepparton Cup final in which it has drawn box six.

    Hunt no doubt faces a nervous wait, with GRV showing little mercy for trainers using prohibited substances in recent times.

    “GRV has stated on many occasions that it has a zero-tolerance attitude to the use of drugs in our sport to affect the performance of greyhounds. Nothing has changed,” Canty added.

    What you may have missed: Best in west, new grades in Victoria

    Racing and Wagering Western Australia this week announced three finalists for its prestigious greyhound-of-the-year title to be presented at a gala awards night on February 1. They are On Coin, Star Recall and Zelemar Fever.

    On Coin, which was also a finalist in the 2013 award, notched up 11 wins from 20 starts in 2014. Despite suffering several injuries last year, the John Crossley-trained chaser won the Lew Dorsa Memorial Final, Sandi’s Me Mum Memorial Final and the Winter Cup. The son of Primo Uno and West On Lee also contested the WA Sprint Championship and Group 2 Solo All Stars Sprint.

    Star Recall, now trained in Victoria by Jeff Britton, had 32 starts in 2014 for 20 wins and eight placings. The daughter of High Earner and No Recall made 12 feature finals, with her biggest success a third in the Group 1 Perth Cup at Cannington. Her wins included “The Sandgroper”, Mandurah Oaks, Spring Gift and WA Sprint Championship.

    Zelemar Fever is now retired and was trained by Linda Britton. The daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Noaki Pace won eight of her 25 races in 2014, with her biggest achievement being selected for the Group 1 Temlee. She finished fifth in the Group 1 Perth Cup and unfortunately fell in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown at Sandown Park.

    GRV making the grades

    Greyhound Racing Victoria will introduce two new grades this month, with grade 6 and grade 7 giving greyhounds the chance to build up more experience before joining fifth-grade contests.

    Maiden winners will automatically become grade 7 greyhounds and after another win will move up to a grade 6.

    The rollout of the new grades starts on Monday, January 26.

    Stars check out Cannington

    Six greyhounds contesting the $140,000 Group 1 Perth Cup heats next weekend had exhibition trials at Cannington on Saturday night over the 530m.

    Space Star trialled over the 642m distance, as he prepares to line up in this week’s Group 1 $80,000 Galaxy heats.

    The trial results were:

    Allen Deed – 30.29

    Dyna Double One – 30.35

    Avondale Porche – 30.86

    Droopys Bentley – 30.43

    Above All – 30.31

    Space Star – 37.09

    Keep an eye on

    After almost falling at box rise, Nightwatchman produced a sensational effort to come from last and finish second in a heat of the Group 1 National Derby on Saturday night at Wentworth Park. If he gets a trouble-free start in this week’s semi-finals, watch for another strong finish.

    Lock in your diary

    January 29:

    Heats of the Group 3 Big Dog Cup over 600m at Albion Park.

    January 31:

    Semi-finals of the Group 1 National Derby and Futurity over 520m at Wentworth Park.

    Heats of the Group 1 Perth Cup over 530m at Cannington.

    Heats of the Group 1 Galaxy over 715m at Cannington.

    What you may have missed: GRV trial, Girls on Track

    Greyhound Racing Victoria will employ a new kenneling procedure from next month that will allow trainers with runners in races 9-12 to briefly access their greyhounds.

    After many requests from participants, Geelong and Sandown Park will trial the new procedure for three months, with a permanent solution expected in May.

    Trainers with dogs in race nine can remove them from the kennels after race six for a toilet break and a drink of water. Greyhounds engaged in race 10 will be allowed out after race seven; race 11 runners after race eight; race 12 runners after race nine.

    A steward and kennel attendant will supervise all trainers during this process.

    This trial is another step in the right direction for GRV’s strong stance on animal welfare, helping greyhounds which could become distressed while in the kennels for a long time, to perform to the best of their ability, and also assisting with recovery.

    Road show making inroads

    The highly successful road show by GRV’s Compliance and Education team will make four stops in coming weeks at Shepparton, Ballarat, The Meadows and Warrnambool.

    The seminars assist participants with council requirements for housing greyhounds, along with providing education and information on minimum standards in caring for greyhounds.

    RQ promotes women in racing

    Racing Queensland will recognise and promote the achievements of women in greyhound racing, with the launch of the Girls on Track racing series in March.

    Heats for the OMW Women In Racing Classic will be at Ipswich, Bundaberg, Townsville and Rockhampton, with the final at Albion Park over 520m on March 26.

    Incorporated into a tri-code series, which is expected to become a regular feature on the racing calendar, it is for bitches which haven’t won a metropolitan race.

    Another incentive is a $500 bonus for any female trainer who wins the series final, along with a first prize of $7000.

    Heats of the Winged Runner Trophy will be conducted at Albion Park over 600m on March 19, with the final a week later. This event is open to bitches of all classes, with the winner taking home $5250. If the winning trainer is female, they’re eligible also for the $500 bonus.

    Reefton Trainer Anthony Kent Cops 15 Year Ban

    REEFTON based greyhound trainer Anthony Kent is in more hot water over his implosion at Bendigo on August 27 and his actions have been slammed by the Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria.

    At a Greyhound Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board hearing on Tuesday, December 9, Kent was banned for 10 years and fined $2000 for punching Bendigo Racing Club manager Troy Harley in the face, threatening steward Christine Gent, refusing to have his dog vetted and using repetitive indecent language on three occasions.

    And now he can add another five years on top of that after a separate Greyhound Racing Victoria stewards inquiry, on Friday, December 19, found him guilty of removing a greyhound from the kennel area of the Bendigo track by throwing it over a fence – at the same meeting.

    GOTBA Victoria president Phil Micallef told Australian Racing Greyhound: “We don’t condone any behaviour that’s going to be detrimental to any greyhound and certainly don’t condone any violence either, no matter what the reason.”

    He said 99.9 per cent of people in the greyhound racing industry did the right thing, “we just get one or two that do things like this and wreck it for the people who do the right thing”.

    He said he wasn’t concerned Kent’s actions could tarnish the industry’s name and, quite the contrary, those involved in the industry would band together to decry his actions.

    “Look, I think it’s so few and far between that it doesn’t have an impact because it doesn’t happen often at all,” Micallef said.

    “This is so unique that everybody would agree this is not a good thing and if anything, it might unite everyone in that this type of behaviour isn’t acceptable.

    “I wouldn’t have thought it’s holding the industry back, because it’s an isolated incident, I’m not aware of it happening often at all, I wouldn’t know when the last time something like this happened.

    “But it’s not unique to our sport, whether it’s football or racing, these things happen because people get emotional.”

    Kent did not attend either hearing, but a plea of ‘not guilty’ was entered on his behalf and both went ahead.

    During the second investigation, stewards received evidence from Harley, Gent, stewards Kim Meredith and Ian Taylor, trainers Graham Carr and Barry Hiscock and racing club employees Daniel Pell and Michael Cole.

    A GRV press release stated: “After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr Kent with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rule 86(q) in that he did engage in conduct that was detrimental and or prejudicial to the interest, welfare and image of greyhound racing.”

    Upon hearing the evidence from the witnesses, GRV chief steward Glenn Fish and fellow steward Ron Matthews found Kent guilty as charged and disqualified his licence for a period of five years, “to begin at the expiration of the disqualification periods as determined by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on December 9, 2014.”

    That means the five years is tacked on top of the 10 he is already serving.

    At the December 9 inquiry, the appeals board heard Kent punched Harley in the face “with a clenched fist”.

    He then threatened Gent by saying “I’m coming back to see you”.

    An appeals board press release stated “This statement was delivered in an intimidating manner and transpired shortly after Mr Anthony Kent had assaulted Mr Troy Harley.”

    Kent then disobeyed the lawful direction of GRV Steward Ian Taylor, by refusing to have his dog, Pirate Arcade, vetted, before leaving the track.

    He was also charged with misconduct over three foul mouthed tirades, behind the starting boxes, around the kennel block and in the stewards room, following race two.

    GRV stewards laid the charges against Kent and the inquiry was heard in front of Fish and Matthews.

    Evidence was tabled from witnesses Carr, Hiscock, Pell and Cole and found him guilty of all six charges.

    He was banned for five years for each of the assault and threat to the steward, to be served cumulatively, and slapped with $500 fines for each of the other four charges.

    The appeals board press release stated: “In assessing penalty, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:

    (a) Mr Kent’s failure to attend the hearing;

    (b) Mr Kent’s appalling behaviour involving physical and verbal assaults;

    (c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing;

    (d) Prior penalties for similar offences and particularly Mr Kent’s previous offences
    which involved improper language and disregard of the rules as to compliance with
    direction from the Stewards;

    (e) Mr Kent’s complete disregard for the rules of the industry and inappropriate
    behaviour including putting his greyhound at risk of significant injury; and

    (f) The lack of any evidence of remorse and as to the prospects of rehabilitation.”

    “The board noted that the police may take action against Mr Kent but, nonetheless, determined to proceed to hear the charges as the issues raised went to industry participation and not criminal liability.”

    Micallef said the GOBTA Victoria “provides a lot of support to any owner, trainer or breeder in any shape or form and sometimes that includes financial support.”

    “If people are having problems, we help them, but we need to know about them.

    “We’ve had people who have had issues with nothing to do with greyhound racing that impact on them – for example, a partner might be terminally ill, so we help people find temporary homes for their dogs.

    “Or we represent people if they’re up on any charge which they feel us unjust. A dog might have fought and been charged with marring and the trainer disputes that. We can help represent them at the appeal at the GRV.

    “So we provide quite extensive support in really any facet of ownership or training or breeding.”

    Need help? Visit gotbav.org.au phone secretary Patti Ladd on 0411 148 008 or email gotbav@gmail.com

    Tales Of NSW Greyhound Racing’s Glory Days As Gov Launches Review

    BARRY Colless pines for greyhound racing’s good old days.

    The New South Wales based trainer, who is a welfare officer with the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association, misses the characters of the day.

    And, at 75, with “42 or 43 years” in the business, he’d know a thing or two.

    “I grew up with some of the characters in Sydney and you don’t see them today,” Colless told Australian Racing Greyhound.

    “They looked after their greyhounds, they did things with their dogs that they don’t do today, you don’t rub the dogs down and massage ‘em and brush ‘em these days.

    “Back then, they always looked a picture.

    “There was the old saying: you always picked the old bloke with the hat.

    “You always backed his dog, any old bloke with a hat who walked onto the track with a dog that looked the picture, you backed his dog.

    “And sure enough, up he’d get up.”

    With the New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing announcing plans to review the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 to ‘determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives’, Colless says there is plenty of scope for change in the industry.

    “They need to make changes, I know that, but what changes they’ll make is another thing,” Colless said.

    “I’ve read about the inquiry. At least the government is taking a look.”

    Mr Colless said issues with grading and lack of prize money had hurt the industry in New South Wales, forcing many trainers to send their dogs south.

    “It’s a very good sport, and it’s a shame the way it’s going,” he said.

    “Grading’s the biggest issue.

    “I used to do a bit of grading in the non TAB stuff and I thought that was pretty fair, but I think it’s a personal thing.

    “I think now they just sort of set the guidelines, put it through a computer and forget it, but equal opportunity is what you are after.”

    He said Greyhound Racing Victoria set the benchmark.

    “We just want to improve our sport and get better prize money,” he said.

    “I think Victoria, they’re going (ahead) in leaps and bounds. They get a lot of money from the government.

    “And now we’re trying to get the government up here to do the same thing. They take so much out of the dollar and they take too much out.

    “Vic dogs get a better deal than we do.

    “Lots of our guys (New South Wales trainers) send their dogs down there because there’s more prize money.

    “No wonder we’ve got a shortage up here.

    “I remember when all the dogs used to come up from Victoria to Wentworth Park, you’d back the Victorians. And I can’t answer that one now, because they never come here.”

    You could sit and listen to Colless talk for hours.

    His aging voice tells tales of yesteryear, like they happened yesterday.

    “I’m glad I got introduced to it (greyhound racing) by accident,” he remembers.

    “I met a lady – who I later married – and my father in law got me interested in dogs.

    “I’ve had no disappointments whatsoever.

    “You get good ones and bad ones, but you’ve just got to put up with that, you can’t all have good ones, but you can always have one at the track, you can always compete.

    “It’s all money now, there’s too much greed today.

    The most dogs he’s ever had under his care is four.

    He now has “just the two”, as arthritis in his hands makes it tougher to look after the dogs, and he does all his own vet work on his animals, picking up the tools of the trade over the past four decades.

    “I learnt the hard way from old trainers and I still believe in it,” he said.

    “I’ve only got two. You can’t spend the time with them if you have any more.

    “I can’t understand blokes with 20 dogs.

    “They just don’t have the time to do it right.”

    Snow Shiraz is his darling at the moment, with two wins at Wentworth Park and a recent second at Gosford.

    “He’s a very honest dog and he’ll make a bloody good pet when he eventually retires,” he said.

    “A beautiful dog.

    “I’ve had a hell of a lot of winners, I can’t complain.

    “I’m not making a million, but I’ve got a little bit of money put away.”

    Barry Colless with wife Judy

    Next time you’re at the track, and you see the old fella with the hat, with a dog that looks a million bucks, it’ll probably be Barry, ready to send his next winner home.

    UPDATE

    More details have emerged about the review into the NSW Greyhound Racing Act, 2009.

    A spokesman for the New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing said the move was a five year statutory review.

    Under the legislation, the Minister for Racing is required to review the Greyhound Racing Act to:

    • Ensure objectives of the Acts themselves remain relevant.
    • Review established governance models to ensure that mechanisms to control and supervise greyhound and harness racing are best practice effective and fit for purpose.
    • Reviewing mechanisms for stakeholder input.

    The spokesman told Australian Racing Greyhound the reviews and any recommendations would be tabled in the NSW Parliament by May, next year.

    The spokesman said the OLGR had produced a discussion paper to help people make submissions on the review.

    We previously reported it was available on the OLGR website, but it is set to be published in the near future.

    “The discussion paper poses questions about matters of specific interest, however comments or suggestions may be made on any aspect of the industry,” the spokesman said.

    “Advertisements seeking suggestions to improve greyhound racing are also scheduled to be placed in the media to widen the recruitment of ideas.

    “OLGR invites individuals and organisations interested in the review to make submissions.

    “All submissions will be treated as public and may be published as part of the review report, unless advised by the person making the submission or it is determined during the review that all or part of a submission should be treated as confidential.”

    The closing date for submissions is January 31, 2015.

     

    • Australian Racing Greyhound has contacted the New South Wales Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing for comment on the review.
    • In a statement on its website, Greyhound Racing New South Wales wrote the Act under review “principally provides for the constitution of Greyhound Racing NSW as the industry’s controlling body, the functions and the powers of that body, the constitution of an industry consultation group (GRICG) and the appointment of a Greyhound Racing Integrity Auditor.”
    • The full Act can be viewed at the NSW legislation website legislation.nsw.gov.au.
    • A discussion paper prepared to assist submitters with the preparation of their contribution to the review can be accessed at the OLGR website olgr.nsw.gov.au or a copy can be requested via email at greyhoundreview@olgr.nsw.gov.au
    • OLGR has invited interested individuals and organisations to make written submissions to the review. Submission should be sent to: The Coordinating Officer, Greyhound Racing Act Review, Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, GPO Box 7060, SYDNEY NSW 2001 or  greyhoundreview@olgr.nsw.gov.au.
    • All submissions will be treated as public and may be published as part of the review report, unless advised by the submission maker or it is determined during the review that all or part of a submission should be treated as confidential.
    • The closing date for submissions is January 31, 2015.

     

    Robert Conway Disqualified For Androstane Positive

    Offence:

    83 (2) (3) and (6): Mr. Robert Conway failed to present the greyhound ‘Norrie’s Antics’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club on Wednesday, 27 August 2014.

    Report:

    Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound ‘Norrie’s Antics’ at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 27 August 2014.

    During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Robert Conway, the Racing Analytical Services Laboratory and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

    After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Conway with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2)(3) and (6) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Norrie’s Antics’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 given that the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance 5β- Androstane-3α, 17β-diol at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml.

    Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (2) (3) and (6) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Thursday, 18 December 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.

    Mr. Robert Conway represented himself.

    Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) and Ms. Demi Barber (GRV Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.

    Mr. Robert Conway pleaded guilty to the charge.

    After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (2)(3) and (6), the RADB determined that Mr. Conway was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 9 months (with 5 months of this penalty suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during the next 12 month period), effective from Tuesday, 23 December 2014.

    Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Norrie’s Antics’ from Event 4 – The KINGSTON TROPHIES – Grade 5 – at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 and amended the placing’s as follows:

    1st Midnight Reign
    2nd Buckle Up Axel
    3rd Henry Garth
    4th Bekim Goddess
    5th Ulla Allen
    6th Sonic Fantasy
    7th Smash It
    Disqualified Norrie’s Antics

    In assessing penalty, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:

    (a) Mr. Conway’s guilty plea;

    (b) The nature of the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha, 17beta-diol when present at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/mL;

    (c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing
    field for all participants;

    (d) Prior penalties for similar offences;

    (e) Mr. Conway’s character and his clean history for more than 45 years in the
    greyhound industry;

    (f) The need for general deterrence as a factor in sentencing and having regard to the
    number of similar offences coming before the Board; and

    (g) Mr. Conway’s positive presentation before the Board.

    The Board took the opportunity to repeat its concern as to the number of matters involving this substance coming before it. The penalty given in this matter must stand at the low end of any scale and influenced by all the matters in Mr. Conway’s favour.

    ARG Opinion:

    There seems to be a lot of positive swabs for Androstane in recent months, probably due to the threshold being reduced to a lower concentration. GRV have shown that they are committed to eliminating the issue with most trainers caught facing disqualification and fines with this case’s penalty being consistent with those handed out recently.

    Terry Moore Disqualified And Fined For Salbutamol Positive

    Offence:

    GAR 83 (2)(3): Mr. Terry Moore failed to present the greyhound ‘Irene Florence’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at Bendigo Greyhound Racing Association on Wednesday, 10 September 2014.

    Report:

    Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound ‘Irene Florence’ at the Bendigo meeting held on Wednesday, 10 September 2014.

    During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Terry Moore, Mr. Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

    After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Moore with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Irene Florence’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Bendigo meeting held on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 given that the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Salbutamol.

    Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (2) and (3) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Thursday, 18 December 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.

    Mr. Terry Moore represented himself.

    Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) and Ms. Demi Barber (GRV Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.

    Mr. Terry Moore pleaded guilty to the charge.

    After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (2) and (3), the RADB determined that Mr. Terry Moore was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 3 years and fined him $3,000, effective from Thursday, 18 December 2014.

    In assessing penalty, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:

    (a) Mr. Terry Moore’s guilty plea;

    (b) The nature of the prohibited substance Salbutamol and how and when the offences
    occurred;

    (c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing
    field for all participants; and

    (d) Prior penalties for similar prohibited substance offences.

    Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Irene Florence’ from Event 3 – The BARBEQUES GALORE BENDIGO – Grade 5 T3 – at the Bendigo meeting held on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 and amended the placing’s as follows:

    1st Flynn O’Malley
    2nd Lioness Lulu
    3rd Victoria Jay
    4th Astana Spur
    5th Moonlight Cruise
    6th Thyme For Bed
    7th Talkin’ Lass
    Disqualified Irene Florence

    ARG Opinion

    Another forceful penalty imposed in Victoria, highlighting GRV’s intolerance of banned substances within the sport. Salbutamol, being a drug commonly used for treatment of bronchospasm, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis, has been shown to increase performance in athletes.

    Chris Darmanin Suspended And Fined For Procaine Positive

    Offences:

    GAR 83 (2) (3): Mr. Chris Darmanin failed to present the greyhound ‘Penny Maid’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club on Saturday, 2 August 2014.

    Report:

    Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound ‘Penny Maid’ at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Saturday, 2 August 2014.

    During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Chris Darmanin, Mr. Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

    After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Darmanin with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Penny Maid’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Saturday, 2 August 2014 given that the pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Procaine.

    Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (2) and (3) constitutes a Serious Offence.

    As a result, on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.

    Mr. Chris Darmanin represented himself.

    Mr. Ron Matthews (GRV Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.

    Mr. Chris Darmanin pleaded guilty to the charge.

    After hearing all the evidence tendered, the RADB determined that Mr. Darmanin was guilty as charged and suspended his registration for 2 months and fined him $250.

    In assessing penalty, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:

    (a) Mr. Darmanins’ guilty plea;

    (b) The nature of the prohibited substance Procaine and the probability that it had been present in meat ingested by the greyhound;

    (c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing field for all participants;

    (d) Prior penalties for similar category 2 prohibited substance offences;

    (e) Mr. Darmanins’ character and his clean history in the greyhound industry, save for a prior conviction for a similar offence in 2009, which the RADB took into account.

    Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Penny Maid’ from Event 9 – The VIRBAC ANIMAL HEALTH – Grade 5 – at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Saturday, 2 August 2014 and amended the placing’s as follows:

    1st Sasha Diva
    2nd Claretown Tex
    3rd Abit Late
    4th Lexi Star
    5th Loyal Miss
    6th Sister Trix
    7th Greysynd Rava
    Disqualified Penny Maid

    The RADB also expressed concern that another charge involving Procaine was before it. If this is to continue the range of penalties may need to be addressed.

    ARG Opinion:

    It has become pretty standard for positive Procaine swabs to result in a fine with $250 a fair amount given the other cases that have been heard recently. Mr Darmanin was also suspended for two months, a penalty less common, which is perhaps attributed to the fact that he had a conviction for a similar offence in 2009.

    What You May Have Missed

    Greyhounds Australasia Details National Welfare Strategy

    Greyhounds Australasia has released initial details on the National Welfare Strategy to be implemented from 1 July 2015. The strategy focuses heavily on the breeding side of the sport, with several restrictions to be introduced including:

    • All broodbitches are to be registered with the controlling bodies as a “breeding female” before they whelp their first litter
    • Broodbitches over eights years of age won’t be allowed to continue to whelp litters, unless a veterinary certificate detailing their health and fitness is provided to authorities
    • Creation of a National Breeding Review Panel who will be responsible for deciding is a brood bitch who has whelped three litters is allowed to continue for a fourth or any subsequent litters that may follow
    • Individual brood bitches will only be able to whelp two litters at a time, during an 18-month period.

    These changes will aim to combat unnecessary breeding with bitches that haven’t produced any successful chasers within their first three mating’s, improving welfare of brood bitches and ultimately reduce the number of greyhounds that never make the race track.

    Greyhounds Australasia is currently calling for feedback on their proposed changes and this should spark great debate amongst participants in the coming months.

    Compression Suits Approved In Victoria

    The popularity of the compression suit for greyhounds has grown in leaps and bounds of late, with Greyhound Racing Victoria approving the use of the suits made famous by champion horse Black Caviar.

    Introduced as an approved mechanism from 1 December this year, trainers can use the suits whilst their greyhounds are in the race kennels and can reapply them after the event, provided the greyhound has left the kennel block area.

    Social media has been flooded with pictures of custom made suits for an array of trainers, illustrating another positive initiate of greyhound racing welfare.

    New Cannington Bunny Cam

    Cannington greyhound track introduced a fun concept at their weekly trial session last week, with a GoPro attached to the lure and the launch of bunny cam.

    The short-term aim of this concept is to give participants a new and unique insight into the racing patterns of greyhounds, with plans to upload race footage after the completion of each meeting and the possibly of bunny cam footage being broadcast live in the future.

    Worth A Second Look:

    23-year-old Victorian trainer Bethany Dapiran claimed her first career group victory at Wentworth Park, after Zipping Rory sizzled over the 720m journey in a time of 42.08. Dapiran’s father Peter finished second in the Group Three Summer Cup Final with Zipping Maggie, giving the training duo and renowned owner’s Martin and Fiona Hallinan a sensational quinella.

    Barry Wells Fined And Disqualified For Heptaminol Positive

    Offence:

    GAR 83 (1) and 83 (2) (3)

    (1) Mr. Barry Wells the trainer of the greyhound HECAN BOLT, which was nominated to compete in an Event, namely, Race 10, the AWESOME LODGE – Mixed 4/5, conducted by the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club at Healesville on Sunday, 3 August 2014, did administer or cause to be administered the prohibited substance Heptaminol for the purpose of affecting the greyhound’s condition, behaviour or performance in the Event.

    (2) Mr. Barry Wells the trainer of the greyhound HECAN BOLT, which was nominated to compete in an Event, namely, Race 10, the AWESOME LODGE – Mixed 4/5, conducted by the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club at Healesville on Sunday, 3 August 2014, did fail on that date to present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance, given that a pre race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Heptaminol.

    Report:

    Following advice from the Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound ‘Hecan Bolt’ at the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 3 August 2014.

    During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Barry Wells, Mr. Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

    After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Wells with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules as indicated in charges (1) to (2) above.

    Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (1) and GAR83 (2)(3) constitute Serious Offences.

    As a result, on Monday, 15 December 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.

    Mr. Barry Wells did not attend the Hearing.

    Mr. Ron Matthews (GRV Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.
    After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (1) and GAR83 (2) (3), the RADB determined that: (the Stewards having withdrawn charge 1)

    In relation to charge (2), Mr. Wells was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 2 years effective from completion of this present period of disqualification, he was also fined $2,000.

    Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Hecan Bolt’ from Event 10 – The AWESOME LODGE – Mixed 4/5 – at the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 3 August 2014 and amended the placing’s as follows:

    1st Transcend Time
    2nd Lost Profits
    3rd Centralian
    4th Dirty Mary
    5th Under Threat
    6th Gino Keeping
    Disqualified Hecan Bolt

    In assessing penalty, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:

    (a) Mr. Wells’ failure to attend the hearing;

    (b) The nature of the prohibited substance Heptaminol;

    (c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing field for all participants; and

    (d) Prior penalties for similar offences and Mr. Wells record of prior offences.

    ARG Opinion:

    GRV has been very consistent in their handling of positive swabs and this hearing has resulted in yet another firm decision. It reinforces their adamant stance that that prohibited substances will not be tolerated within the Victorian greyhound racing industry.

    Robert Neocleous Disqualified For Androstane Positive

    Offences:

    GAR 83 (2) (3) and (6): Mr. Robert Neocleous failed to present the greyhound ‘Mumma Hook’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club on Wednesday, 20 August 2014.

    Report:

    Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from greyhound ‘Mumma Hook’ at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 20 August 2014.

    During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Robert Neocleous, Mr. Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

    After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Neocleous with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2)(3) and (6) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Mumma Hook’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 given that the pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance 5β- Androstane-3α, 17β-diol at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml.

    Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (2) (3) and (6) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 15 December 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.

    Mr. Robert Neocleous represented himself.

    Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) and Mr. Ron Matthews (GRV Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.

    Mr. Robert Neocleous pleaded guilty to the charge.

    After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (2)(3) and (6), the RADB determined that Mr. Neocleous was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 9 months (with 5 months of this penalty suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during the next 12 month period), effective from Friday 19 December 2014.

    Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified Mumma Hook’ from Event 5 – The TAB GREAT CHASE (1-5 Wins) Heat 2 – at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 and amended the placing’s as follows:

    1st Custom Classic
    2nd First Dan
    3rd Tekki Minx
    4th Take Them On
    5th Elly Nora
    6th Smith And Wesson
    7th Elegant Elle
    Disqualified Mumma Hook

    In assessing penalty, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:

    (a) Mr. Neocleous’ guilty plea;

    (b) The nature of the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha,17beta-diol when present at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml;

    (c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing field for all participants;

    (d) Prior penalties for similar offences;

    (e) Mr. Neocleous’ character and his clean history for more than 40 years’ in the greyhound industry;

    (f) The need for general deterrence as a factor in sentencing and having regard to the number of similar offences coming before the Board; and

    (g) Mr. Neocleous’ presentation before the Board.

    ARG Opinion

    The penalty in this case is standard to what has been dealt out in Victoria in recent times and is another clear indication that the state is determined to rid the sport of banned substances.

    Anthony Kent Fined And Disqualified For Ten Years

    Offences:

    GAR 86 (g), 86 (p) and 86 (o)

    (1) Mr. Anthony Kent on the 27 August 2014, at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club Track did wilfully assault Mr. Troy Harley the Manager of the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Association, by punching him in the face with a clenched fist.

    (2) Mr. Anthony Kent on the 27 August 2014, at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club Track did threaten Ms. Christine Gent, a Steward with Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) by stating “I’m coming back to see you”. This statement was delivered in an intimidating manner and transpired shortly after Mr. Anthony Kent had assaulted Mr. Troy Harley the Manager of the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Association.

    (3) Mr. Anthony Kent on the 27 August 2014, at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club Track disobeyed the lawful direction of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) Steward Mr. Ian Taylor in that Mr. Anthony Kent was ordered by Mr. Ian Taylor to have the greyhound “Pirate Arcade” vetted and did leave the track without doing so.

    (4) Mr. Anthony Kent on the 27 August 2014, at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club Track used indecent language in an aggravated and repetitive fashion behind the starting boxes during the running of race 1, which in the opinion of the Stewards is improper and constitutes misconduct.

    (5) Mr. Anthony Kent on the 27 August 2014, at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club Track used indecent language in an aggravated and repetitive fashion in and around the kennel block prior to the running of race 2, which in the opinion of the Stewards is improper and constitutes misconduct.

    (6) Mr. Anthony Kent on the 27 August 2014, at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club Track used indecent language in an aggravated and repetitive fashion in the Stewards room following race 2, which in the opinion of the Stewards is improper and constitutes misconduct.

    Report:

    The Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the behaviour of Mr. Anthony Kent at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 27 August 2014.

    During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Anthony Kent, Mr. Troy Harley (Club Manager), Ms. Christine Gent (Steward) and Mr. Ian Taylor (Steward).

    After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Kent with breaches of Greyhounds Australasia Rules as indicated in charges (1) to (6) above.

    Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of 86 (g), 86 (p) and 86 (o) constitute Serious Offences.

    As a result, on Tuesday, 9 December 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.

    Mr. Anthony Kent failed to appear at the Hearing. The Board entered a plea of ‘not guilty’ to each of the charges.

    Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) and Mr. Ron Matthews (GRV Steward) represented the Stewards Panel. During the Hearing Stewards received evidence from witnesses Mr. Graham Carr, Trainer, Mr. Barry Hiscock, Trainer, Mr. Daniel Pell and Mr. Michael Cole, Bendigo GRA employees.

    After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR 86 (g), 86 (p) and 86 (o), the RADB determined that:

    (a) in relation to charge (1), Mr. Kent was found guilty as charged and he was disqualified for 5 years;

    (b) in relation to charge (2), Mr. Kent was found guilty as charged and he was disqualified for 5 years;

    (c) in relation to charge (3), Mr. Kent was found guilty as charged and he was fined $500;

    (d) in relation to charge (4), Mr. Kent was found guilty as charged and he was fined $500;

    (e) in relation to charge (5), Mr. Kent was found guilty as charged and he was fined $500;

    (f) in relation to charge (6), Mr. Kent was found guilty as charged and he was fined $500;

    The periods of disqualification to be served cumulatively.

    In assessing penalty, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:

    (a) Mr. Kent’s failure to attend the hearing;

    (b) Mr. Kent’s appalling behaviour involving physical and verbal assaults;

    (c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing;

    (d) Prior penalties for similar offences and particularly Mr. Kent’s previous offences
    which involved improper language and disregard of the rules as to compliance with
    direction from the Stewards;

    (e) Mr. Kent’s complete disregard for the rules of the industry and inappropriate
    behaviour including putting his greyhound at risk of significant injury; and

    (f) The lack of any evidence of remorse and as to the prospects of rehabilitation.

    The Board noted that the Police may take action against Mr. Kent but nonetheless determined to proceed to hear the charges as the issues raised went to industry participation and not criminal liability.

    ARG Opinion:

    A strong and decisive move here that makes it quite clear that harmful and/or offensive behaviour will not be tolerated in the greyhound racing industry. While there are many passionate people within the sport and there are undoubtably many stressful times, there is no need to resort to physical violence or threats. Regardless of knowing or not knowing the story behind the incident, that behaviour is unnecessary and it was a good move by the board to act with such force.

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