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William Lambert Receives Lengthy Disqualification For Positive Swab

Offence: Mr. William Lambert failed to present the greyhound Sovereign Star free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club on Wednesday, 6 November 2013.

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 greyhound Sovereign Star at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 6 November 2013.

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

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Lambert with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound Sovereign Star free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 6 November 2013, given that the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Benzylpiperazine.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 14 April 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. William Lambert represented himself, assisted by Mrs. Ellen Lambert.

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

Mr. William Lambert pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. Lambert was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 18 months (with 9 months of this disqualification suspended for 2 years pending no further breaches of GAR83 during this 2 year period), effective from Monday, 14 April 2014.

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

(a) Mr. Lambert’s guilty plea;
(b) The nature of the prohibited substance Benzylpiperazine;
(c) The substance falls under category 4 of the Prohibited Substance Penalty Guidelines published by GRV;
(d) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing field for all participants;
(e) Prior penalties for similar Category 4 substances;
(f) Mr. Lambert’s character and his clean history over 40 years in the greyhound industry (both coursing and greyhound racing) as an owner, trainer, breeder and his contributions to the industry (including as a sponsor)

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified Sovereign Star from Event 3 – Santons of Bendigo Maiden 500m – at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 6 November 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Five Year Strategic Plan

The Governing body of greyhound racing in the state of Victoria, Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV), have announced a five year Strategic Plan to oversee and direct the future of the sport, until 2019.

After much industry consultation, the plan, On Track for a Great Future, lists eight core competencies that address all aspects of the sport, including animal welfare, racing operations, wagering, member services, culture, clubs, technology and branding.

While stake returns to participants has never been greater ($41 million in the Financial Year ending 2013) and wagering turnover continues to increase, GRV have recognised the way forward must be carefully planned in order for greyhound racing to continue its prosperity.

Despite the successes of the past decade, GRV Chief Executive Officer Adam Wallish says now is not the time to stay stagnant and there is much to be done to ensure the future of the code nationally and internationally.

Of the eight core competencies itemised in the Strategic Plan, three perhaps more than the other five may have a direct impact on current participants.

The implications of the new Strategic Plan may predominantly be experienced by participants in the areas of animal welfare, racing operations and increased membership.

Firstly, the animal welfare topic continues to be a highly scrutinised, both internally and externally. Wallish described animal welfare as a “key plank in our strategic direction”, emphasising the amount of onus placed on this one issue.

The tracking of a greyhound throughout its entire life, from whelping, rearing, breaking in, racing and finally retirement, is of paramount importance for GRV. This forms part of their commitment to ensuring the greyhound is always monitored throughout its life cycle and that someone is responsible for the greyhound at all times. An additional $2.8 million is being injected into animal welfare to make sure best practices are observed in regards to Greyhound welfare issues.

“A key priority is to have a Victorian strategy and also we are leading the way in a National strategy”, says Adam Wallish in regards to greyhound welfare.

Secondly, in racing operations, GRV are committed to providing a fair, transparent and enjoyable racing experience for all participants with increased racing opportunities and clear rules in order to govern the sport with the highest level of integrity.

The aim is to monitor grading rules and to implement drug policies and increase swabbing in order to preserve the fairness to all competing.

Thirdly, the attraction and retention of the next generation of members through increased opportunities is also a key priority for GRV, for without new blood entering the sport, greyhound racing will not flourish. While this seems to go without saying, our current participants’ average age is 51 years, so to entice and maintain newcomers to greyhound racing is of huge importance.

Other sections of the Strategic Plan include the vision statement as follows:

“Greyhound Racing Victoria to become the world’s most respected greyhound body; widely regarded for the market position and reputation we have created for greyhound racing in Victoria.”

While this declaration is fairly obvious in its objective, GRV are already the industry leaders in this country, and perhaps even on a world scale.

GRV Chief Executive Adam Wallish will present the Strategic Plan to members at The Meadows, Warragul and Ballarat clubs in the coming month to explain the significance of the five year plan. If you would like to attend any of these sessions you should contact GRV Member Services to reserve your place.

The next five years in greyhound racing cannot be taken for granted as far as success is concerned for our governing body, and many hard yards are still to be traversed before the goals of this plan are realised. However, it is fair to say Greyhound Racing Victoria have achieved a great result for our Owners, Trainers and Breeders in recent years.

The implementation of this Strategic Plan over the next five years should ensure the continued success of greyhound racing in Victoria.

David Rowan Fined $500 For Failing To Attend Inquiry

Offence : Failing to attend an Inquiry on Thursday, 13 February 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.

Following an Inquiry into Mr. David Rowan, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation.

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. David Rowan with a breach of GAR86 (e) in that being an owner, trainer attendant or person having official duties in relation to greyhound racing, refuses or fails to attend or give evidence or produce a document or other thing at an inquiry held pursuant to these Rules when directed by the Controlling Body, Stewards or the committee of a club to do so.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules, a breach of GAR86 (e) constitutes a Serious Offence.

As a result, on Tuesday, 25 March 2013 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M of the Racing Act.

As Mr. David Rowan did not appear no plea was entered.

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

After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. David Rowan was guilty of failing to attend an Inquiry on Thursday, 13 February 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.

He was fined the sum of $500 and disqualified until he appears at an inquiry, effective from Tuesday, 25 March 2014.

Denis Lyons Suspended For Six Months And Fined $500

Offence : The greyhound “Kid Richard” was left unattended in the car park on a day of extreme heat, at Sandown Greyhound Racing Club on Sunday, 2 February 2014.

Following an Inquiry into the circumstances relating to the greyhound “Kid Richard” being left unattended in the car park on a day of extreme heat, at Sandown Greyhound Racing Club on Sunday, 2 February 2014, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation.

During the investigation, Stewards heard evidence from registered trainer Mr. Denis Lyons. After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Denis Lyons with a breach of GAR86 (d) in that a person being an owner, trainer, attendant or person having official duties in relation to greyhound racing, makes a false or misleading statement in relation to an investigation, examination, test or inquiry, or makes or causes to be made a falsification in a document in connection with greyhound racing or the registration of a greyhound.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules, a breach of GAR86 (d) constitutes a Serious Offence.

As a result, on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M of the Racing Act.

Mr. Denis Lyons represented himself via telephone.

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

Mr. Denis Lyons pleaded not guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. Denis Lyons was guilty of making a false and misleading statement to Stewards officiating at the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club on Sunday, 2 February 2014, pertaining to the circumstances surrounding the greyhound “Kid Richard” which was left unattended in a vehicle in the car park on a day of extreme heat.

He was fined the sum of $500 and disqualified for 6 months to be served after the completion of his current 6 month disqualification.

Santoso And Sime Disqualified For Failing To Attend Inquiry

Selly Santoso Offence :

Failing to attend an Inquiry on 3 February 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.
 
Following an Inquiry into the details that Ms. Selly Santoso provided on her ownership applications, in particular her residential address, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation.

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Ms. Selly Santoso with a breach of GAR86 (e) in that being a licensed trainer and having official duties in relation to greyhound racing, Ms. Selly Santoso did fail to attend an Inquiry on 3 February 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules, a breach of GAR86 (e) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M of the Racing Act.

As Ms. Selly Santoso did not appear no plea was entered.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) represented the Stewards Panel. After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. Selly Santoso was guilty of failing to attend an Inquiry on 3 February 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.

She was disqualified until she appears at an Inquiry, effective from Tuesday, 25 March 2014.
 

Chris Sime Offence :

Failing to attend an Inquiry on 3 February 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.
 
Following an Inquiry into the details that Mr. Chris Sime provided on his ownership applications, in particular his residential address, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation.

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Chris Sime with a breach of GAR86 (e) in that being a licensed trainer and having official duties in relation to greyhound racing, Mr. Chris Sime did fail to attend an Inquiry on 3 February 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules, a breach of GAR86 (e) constitutes a Serious Offence.

As a result, on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M of the Racing Act.

As Mr. Chris Sime did not appear no plea was entered.

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

After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. Chris Sime was guilty of failing to attend an Inquiry on 3 February 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.

He was disqualified until he appears at an Inquiry, effective from Tuesday, 25 March 2014.

GRV Introduce “300” Plus Meetings

Due to some greyhounds not being catered for under the current grading system, Greyhound Racing Victoria are trialling a new race type, 300 plus.

300 Plus refers to greyhounds that have a ranking of 300 points or more that may not be eligible for Tier 3 racing, but cannot gain a start at the full stake provincial level. To be eligible a greyhound will need to have a ranking, per the grading guidelines, of 300 points.

After the recent consultation sessions held across the State, GRV have decided to introduce these meetings in an effort to assist trainers whose greyhounds fall into this bracket to maximise their racing opportunities.

To ascertain your greyhounds ranking you are required to access the GRV FASTTRACK system, via the GRV website.

The first of these 300 Plus Meetings is to be held at Bendigo next Wednesday March 26, 2014 and will carry normal Tier 3 Stake money.

While any amendments to the grading system to increase racing opportunities is always welcomed, I can’t help but feel that perhaps we are over complicating our system of grading. As you may know, I have not been a fan of the entire Tier 3 concept, that’s despite its overall acceptance by most in the industry.

Are we simply segregating the racing population even further and making it even more difficult for our current participants to not only manage their greyhounds, but understand the grading system, which is seemingly becoming more and more complex.

The purpose for Tier 3 Racing is surely to give lower grade greyhounds the opportunity to race against other like greyhounds. Is this in reality what is occurring, or are we promoting mediocre racing under the guise of making racing “fairer”.

The other belief by many of the supporters of the Tier 3 system is that it is primarily for the small hobby trainer, who cannot compete with the professional full time trainers.

This argument is obviously flawed, as it’s not unusual to see several of the so called professionals racing at the Tier 3 fixtures when the circumstances suit. So is the Tier 3 and now 300 Plus racing realising, in the most efficient manner, what it was originally set out to accomplish.

As an alternative, I don’t know why we can’t operate under a non-penalty system, with perhaps some covenants to protect the lower grade dogs.

At least this would be an inclusive rather than an exclusive policy, not discriminating against any trainer who wishes to race his greyhound for the lower stake money. The non-penalty system seems to be appropriate for the Midweek city programs; I cannot see any reason why this can’t be adapted to the country fixtures as well.

I get the feeling we are confusing matters more than perhaps we should, and maybe the GRV agenda in regards to these lower grade meetings has more to do with animal welfare and less to do with the standard of racing and participant longevity.

As the old adage says, KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. I think perhaps the GRV Grading system could learn something from that old saying.

Nicole Marum Receives Six Month Suspension For Positive Swab

Offence: Miss. Nicole Marum failed to present the greyhound ‘Cheap Rush’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Sale Greyhound Racing Club on Sunday, 27 October 2013.

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 greyhound ‘Cheap Rush’ at the Sale Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 27 October 2013.

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

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Miss. Marum with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Cheap Rush’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Sale Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 27 October 2013 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 (refer to GAR 83b).

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 21 February 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.

Miss. Nicole Marum did not attend the hearing and declined to provide any written submissions for the Board to consider.

The Board decided to proceed with the hearing in her absence.

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

Miss. Nicole Marum pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined that Miss. Marum was guilty as charged and disqualified her for 6 months, effective from Wednesday, 26 February 2014.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Cheap Rush’ from Event 5 – Coca Cola Grade 5 440m – at the Sale Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 27 October 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

Turbine Takes Out Bendigo Vic Breeders

The Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club hosted their Victorian Breeders Stakes final for maiden greyhounds last Friday, with victory going to the locally trained Turbine.

An imposing son of Dyna Lachlan out of the lightly raced bitch Queen Of Bling, Turbine was the most expensive lot sold at the recent Bendigo Ready to Race Sale held in November 2013, being purchased for $28,000.

Turbine created a lot of interest at the R2R Sale, having run some quick times during the qualifying heats, and he is now beginning to vindicate the faith shown by his new owners, already recouping $10,000 in just his seven official career race starts.

Having been runner up in both his heat and semi-final, Turbine was at luxury odds for the Victorian Breeders Stakes Final, and his many supporters would have enjoyed the TAB price of around $15 for the decider. Beginning much cleaner than he has in his prior six race track appearances, Turbine, relishing his wide draw, quickly raced up to join the early leader Eternal Magic, and forged to the front at the first turn. It was at this point when the runners behind Turbine tightened and the resultant scrimmage giving him an unassailable lead.

Turbine increased his margin in the run to the line, greeting the judge 7 ¾ lengths clear of Mumma Hook for Rob Neocleous, while third money went to Banged Up Bill for Wayne Vassallo, in a quick 23.98 seconds for the 425 metre journey.

On a sad note, Rob Neocleous’s other competitor, race favourite Rose Lilly fell and unfortunately suffered a broken leg and was subsequently euthanized.

Turbine has a strong pedigree on his Dam side, being a son of Queen Of Bling, who is a sister to former track record holder at Sandown over the 595 metres and Sir John Dillon trophy winner Bling It On. Queen Of Bling is also a half sister to recent Warragul Cup Winner Walk Hard (x Bit Chilli).

Queen Of Bling only raced twice and did not register a win in those two starts, but she looks like having an influence as a brood bitch if her first progeny are anything to go by. Turbine is from her first litter; she has since whelped pups to Stagger and is currently in pup to Knocker Norris.

The Torr family have been stalwarts in the Greyhound industry for many years, and despite having breaks from the sport at stages, Jenny and David have always kept a strong interest in the code. Many greyhound followers would remember the Torr’s competing at the old Eaglehawk track in the 1960s and 70s where they enjoyed a great run of success, quite often training multiple winners.

The Ready to Race Auction series has proven a hit for Greyhound Racing Victoria in the two series held so far, with the inaugural winner Kiss Me Ketut, lining up in the Australian Cup this Saturday night.

I am not sure if Turbine will reach those dizzy heights; however, he certainly is a young dog to keep an eye on as the current R2R Series progresses.

John Galea Receives Six Month Suspension For Positive Swab

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 greyhound ‘Gaelic Melody’ at the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 22 August 2013.

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

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Galea with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Sisco Comet’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Horsham Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 given that the pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Methandriol, 17α-Methyl-5 β-Androstane-3α, 16α, 17β-triol and 17α-Methyl-5α-Androstane-3β-17β-diol.

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 Tuesday, 11 February 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. John Galea represented himself.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) with the assistance of Mr. Dan Verberne (Steward), represented the Stewards Panel.

Mr. John Galea pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined that Mr. Galea was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 6 months (with 2 months of this penalty suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during the 12 month period), effective from Monday, 17 February 2014.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Sisco Good’ from Event 12 – Axis Employment Grade 5 – at the Horsham Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Tuesday, 22 October 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

David Ferguson Fined $1,000 For Diclofenac Positive Swab

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 greyhound ‘Ruff Edges’ at the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 13 October 2013.

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

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Ferguson with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Ruff Edges’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 13 October 2013 given that the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Diclofenac.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 11 February 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. David Ferguson represented himself.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) with the assistance of Mr. Dan Verberne (Steward), represented the Stewards Panel.

Mr. David Ferguson pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to submissions and further information provided by the parties, the RADB determined that Mr. Ferguson was guilty as charged and fined him the sum of $1,000.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Ruff Edges’ from Event 7 – www.tab.com.au Grade 5 No Penalty 515m – at the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 13 October 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

Wayne Wrout Receives Three Month Suspended Sentence And $500 Fine

Offence: Mr. Wayne Wrout did strike a greyhound on multiple occasions to the head with a clenched fist, at the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club trial session conducted on Tuesday, 21 May 2013, which in the opinion of stewards was improper and constituted misconduct.

Following an incident at the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club on Tuesday, 21 May 2013, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation.

During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Wayne Wrout, Mr. Adam Bailey (GRV employee) Ms. Angela Rowland (Club employee) and Mr. Daryl Keirl (Club employee).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Wrout with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 86 (o) which provides that a a person shall be guilty of an offence if the person has in relation to a greyhound or greyhound racing, done a thing, or omitted to do a thing, which in the opinion of the Stewards or the Controlling Body, as the case may be, is negligent, dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent or improper, or constitutes misconduct.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 3 February 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. Wayne Wrout did not attend the hearing.

Mr. Ron Matthews (GRV Steward) with the assistance of Dianne Pyers represented the Stewards Panel.

The RADB entered a not guilty plea of behalf of Mr. Wayne Wrout.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR86 (o), the RADB determined that Mr. Wrout was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 3 months (wholly suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR86(o) or AR106(1)(2) during this 12 month period), plus a fine of $500, both effective from Monday, 3 February 2014.

GRV and GRNSW Announce Animal Welfare Strategy

The greyhound industry in Australia is set to walk a tightrope in future years as the issue of animal welfare challenges the very survival of the sport.

Animal welfare is perhaps the single biggest issue for the industry to confront as wagering and profitability clash with emotion and changing community sentiment.  While some underestimate the power of the animal welfare lobby, overseas experience has shown the power of the animal welfare faction is potent enough to see the sport in both England and the United States severely dented.

In England, greyhound tracks have been in steady decline over recent years, and although this is not solely related to animal welfare, there is no doubt animal welfare issues have been a contributing factor in this wane.  The USA has also experienced a sharp fall of tracks in recent years, with 27 tracks closing since 2001.  As of August 2013, there are only 21 tracks left operating in the entire United States, with the popularity of the sport, in both attendance and wagering, falling dramatically.  Again, the Animal Welfare antagonists are not entirely responsible for this fall from grace, but their continued bad-mouthing of the industry has ensured the general public have a slanted, if not misinformed, view of greyhound racing.

So what implications does this have for Australia and New Zealand.  We have already witnessed the animal welfare lobby trying to ban hurdle racing from thoroughbreds, and there is no reason this sort of protest will not lend itself to greyhound racing in the future.  There has already been negative web sites and social media designed to rally animal activists to campaign against the sport of greyhound racing, some of which I am sure you have seen in one form or another.  While the future is always difficult to predict, the greyhound racing authorities in both Australia and New Zealand have recognised the importance of animal welfare and have been preparing for issues of animal wellbeing for some time.

This week Greyhound Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing New South Wales have adopted a joint animal welfare strategy to provide new standards of animal welfare for participants in both states.  Some of the initiatives include tighter controls on breeding regulation, improved inspection and compliance on greyhound properties and a tiered system of trainer types which will stipulate how many greyhounds a trainer can train.

While I applaud the proactive approach provided by our racing authorities, I wonder if we are going down a slippery slope with regards to some of the measures proposed.

The sovereignty of our racing landscape in Australia is something most of us treasure.  The option to breed, rear and train our own greyhounds is a facet of our sport that should be supported and promoted.  We surely don’t want to have contract trainers supplying large numbers of greyhounds to tracks while our hobbyists are lost to the sport.

The recommendations surrounding breeding should also be looked at carefully.  Should I wish to breed with a bitch which perhaps does not meet the criteria, should I be excluded from doing so?

Should an authority be able to legislate against me doing so?

Should I wish to increase my race team to compete on a level playing field, should the authorities have the right to stop me?

So long as the said greyhounds are cared for properly and well educated, who should be able to prohibit me from training as many greyhounds as  I like.

Breeding especially, is not an exact science.  So should GRV or GRNSW have the authority to stop a participant from breeding with a certain bitch.  I would hope not.  As almost any experienced breeder will tell you, predicting a successful brood bitch is almost impossible, it’s almost always a try and see approach.

I worry if we employ some of these strategies without question, would we then be placing some of our rights in jeopardy, limiting our options and losing some of the sovereignty greyhound racing in this country has always offered.

There is no doubt the issue of animal welfare, whether it’s retirement of ex-racers, placement of young greyhounds which are not of race standard, or protection of our breeding stock requires much thought and planning.

I fully support animal welfare contingencies and the protection of our noble greyhounds, so long as the rights and interests of all in the industry, professionals and hobbyists alike, are also maintained.

Eleanor Ferguson Suspended For Two Positive Swabs

Offence (1)

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 greyhound ‘Gaelic Melody’ at the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 22 August 2013.

During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Ms. Eleanor Ferguson, Mr. William Ferguson (Registered Trainer), Mr. David Batty (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Ms. Ferguson with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that she did fail to present the greyhound ‘Gaelic Melody’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 22 August 2013 given that the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Caffeine and its metabolites
Theobromine, Paraxanthine and Theophylline.

Offence (2)

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 greyhound ‘Gaelic Melody’ at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club held on Tuesday, 1 October 2013.

During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Ms. Eleanor Ferguson, Mr. William Ferguson (Registered Trainer), Ms. Naomi Selvadurai (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Ms. Ferguson with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that she did fail to present the greyhound ‘Gaelic Melody’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club on Tuesday, 1 October 2013 given that the post-race urine samples taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Caffeine and its metabolites Theobromine, Paraxanthine and Theophylline.

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 Tuesday, 21 January 2014 these matters were 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.

Ms. Eleanor Ferguson did not attend the Hearings. She was represented by Mr. William Ferguson in relation to both charges.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) with the assistance of Catherine Scarlett represented the Stewards Panel.

Through Mr. William Ferguson, Ms. Eleanor Ferguson pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined that: (a) in relation to offence (1), Ms. Ferguson was guilty as charged and disqualified her for 3 months and (b) in relation to offence (2) Ms. Ferguson was found guilty as charged and disqualified for 6 months with both penalties to be served concurrently effective from Tuesday, 28 January 2014.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Gaelic Melody’ from Event 1 – Action Packed Images – at the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 22 August 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Gaelic Melody’ from Event 3 – Ace Contractors – at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Tuesday, 1 October 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

Kade Joske Suspended And Fined For Salbutamol Positive

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 ‘Daintree Puzzle’ at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Saturday,
28 September 2013.

During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Kade Joske,
Ms. Naomi Selvadurai (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic
(Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Joske with a breach of Greyhounds
Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Daintree Puzzle’
free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club meeting
held on Saturday, 28 September 2013 given that the pre-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 this constituted a Serious
Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 21 January 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. Kade Joske represented himself.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) with the assistance of Catherine Williams represented the
Stewards Panel.

Mr. Kade Joske pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined
that Mr. Joske was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 6 months (with 4 months of this disqualification suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during this 12 month period), plus a fine of $500, effective from Thursday, 30 January 2014.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Daintree Puzzle’ from Event 4 – GRV VBIS Maiden Series Heat 4 513m – at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Saturday, 28 September 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

The Future Of Straight Racing In Australia

The long term outlook for the continuation of straight track racing in Australia, be it coursing or Straight track full field events, is in some doubt after the number of tracks conducting these meetings slowly decline.

While the premier racing state of Victoria continues to enjoy huge nominations and strong support for the revamped Healesville venue, interstate contemporaries do not seem to enjoy the same enthusiasm for straight track racing.

The falling popularity of coursing is also of great concern, with only Victoria and South Australia conducting coursing events.  The stakemoney for these coursing events, other than the Classics, is poor. Without a renewed vigour from Greyhound Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing South Australia, these once popular events may be consigned to history.

The powers that oversee Greyhound Racing in these two states have already shown their hand to some extent, offering only modest increases in stakemoney for coursing events in recent years.  Without a decent jump in returns to participants, coursing in Australia may cease to exist, which would see the end of some 140 years of history.

Some would argue coursing is from a bygone era and should be wound up because coursing fixtures do not directly raise revenues for their State controlling bodies due to being non-tab events.  It could also be argued that this is the reason behind the seemingly indifferent attitude to these events shown by GRV and GRSA.  For mine however, there is still a place for coursing on our racing schedules and it should not only be preserved and protected by GRV and GRSA, it should be promoted and supported as well.

With regard to normal straight track racing, we have seen the demise of the once popular Wyong (NSW) and Wentworth (NSW) tracks, while most recently Appin (NSW) has also fallen by the wayside, conducting their final race meeting on December 15th, 2013.  The final closure of Appin has left the once revered state of New South Wales with no straight race track racing venue, while in South Australia Kulpara ceased to race in June 2008.  So at is stands in 2014, just two straight racing venues survive, Capalaba in Queensland and Healesville in Victoria.

Capalaba has been resolute, surviving floods and a show cause notice, among other perils. It still continues to be popular with owners and trainers in the Sunshine State.

The Capalaba Club race each Saturday afternoon throughout the year and their Melbourne Cup Day fixture is always very popular and remains their biggest revenue raiser.  The returns on offer for participants at Capalaba continue to be reasonably low, thus the quality of the fields are fairly average apart from special events. The Club has continued to meet every challenge so far in an effort to stay relevant and viable.

In 2009 the Management of Capalaba was handed over to the Brisbane Greyhound Club to ensure the club remained operational.  Then in March 2011 Capalaba was issued with a show cause notice by Greyhound Racing Queensland.  Despite this, the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club has continued to work hard and have survived not only as a racing club, but as a training facility as well.

Healesville in Victoria is a different scenario altogether.  Beginning as picnic meetings, the Don Road venue has gone from strength to strength in recent years.  Originally a grass track racing over 340 metres on a right side lure, recent upgrades have seen two distances installed, the grass removed and loam installed, a revamped pavilion area, upgraded kennel block and the lure being switched to the left hand side of the track.  Along with these enhancements the club also attained full TAB and Sky Channel coverage, which has markedly raised the profile of the Healesville Club.  Perhaps the only criticism of Healesville may be the question of why, if the club has full tab and sky channel coverage, do they continue to race for Half-Stakes, or Tier 3 stakemoney.  Surely with the quality of fields usually as good as any other provincial club, it’s time Healesville went to full stakes, and rewarded those who continue to support the venue.

Appin in New South Wales has been a curious case.  The Club has been closed once before and re-opened by GRNSW; however the closure this time around looks to be final.  Any loss of a track is always sad, especially for those who have frequented the venue over a long period of time and utilized the track not only for racing, but as a training tool as well.  At least Appin is still available to owners and trainers for trialling, so at this stage, the venue is not lost completely to the industry.

The long term future for straight track racing and coursing is far from assured. It would be a travesty should these options disappear from the racing landscape completely. We can only trust the authorities in each state work hard, along with owner and trainer groups to retain the spectacle of straight track racing and coursin, for the benefit of all involved in the sport of greyhound racing in Australia.

Douglas Blake Receives Seven Month Ban For Positive Swab

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 “Mine By Choice” at the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on
Tuesday, 24 September 2013.
During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Douglas Blake, Mr. Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).
After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Blake with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound “Mine By Choice”  free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 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 10 ng/mL, contrary to GAR83(6).
Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Friday, 20 December 2013 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. Douglas Blake was present but was represented by Ms. Katherine Brooks.
Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.
Mr. Douglas Blake pleaded guilty to the charge.
After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined that Mr. Blake was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 7 months (with 3 months of this disqualification suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during this 12 month period), effective from Saturday, 28 December 2013.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Mine By Choice’ from Event 8 – Wannon Room Function Centre 450m Mixed 4/5 – at the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Tuesday, 24 September 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

Michael Said Fined $750 For Theobromine Positive Swab

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 “Lady Cappuccino” at the Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on
Thursday, 26 September 2013.
During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Michael Said, Mr. Stewart Willers (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).
After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Said with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound “Lady Cappuccino” free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club
meeting held on Thursday, 26 September 2013 given that the pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance “Theobromine”.
Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Friday, 20 December 2013 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. Michael Said represented himself.
Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward), with the assistance of Ms. Heather Montgomery (GRV Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.
Mr. Said pleaded guilty to the charge.
After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. Said was guilty as charged and fined him the sum of $750.

Under GAR83(4), “Lady Cappuccino” is disqualified from Event 3 – Top Cat Video 450 Tier 3 Maiden – at the Shepparton Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 26 September 2013. The stewards amended the placings for the race accordingly.

Is Tier 3 Racing Good For the Industry?

The future of Tier 3 racing in Victoria must surely be under the spotlight, with many rank and file participants questioning the concept, declaring that the current system promotes mediocrity.

A growing number of Owners and Trainers are concerned with the non-grading of these meetings and the random way the competing greyhounds are selected. Although fields are compiled around how much prizemoney the greyhound has won, it’s the greyhounds that are being drawn “randomly” that have participants questioning the grading. The current system doesn’t guarantee that the best performed greyhounds are receiving a start. Whilst the betting turnover on these meetings appear satisfactory, many believe a change is required to grade the greyhounds as per normal, thus assuring the better performed greyhounds are starting in Tier 3 meetings.

The entire racing product in Victoria, including all Tier 3 racing, is now covered on Sky Racing. So clearly it makes sense to put our best greyhounds on display at any one time to drive betting turnover.

It seems Greyhound Racing Victoria are keen to continue these meetings in their current format, and why not, there are plenty of nominations. No grading, other than splitting maiden and grade 5 greyhounds by prizemoney earnt is required, and the programs only race for half the full stake money of the normal Victorian provincial meetings.

Without grading the fairness of the racing must surely be called into question though.  Many times have we have witnessed maiden greyhounds drawn as reserves at Tier 3 meetings despite qualifying wins and performing well in maiden finals without placing.

As well as the obvious lack of class in Tier 3 programs, there is the dilemma at the other end of the scale, when a better performed greyhound drops so far in grade it’s almost farcical.  A recent example of this saw Vicky Pollard, a multiple city winner in Melbourne, competing against a second rate field at a Bendigo Tier 3 program recently.  Not only did she stifle the betting as a fives on favourite, she won by 13 lengths and ran 28.12 for the 500 metre journey, a time which would win most full stake programs at Lords Raceway.

It is in no way against the rules for the trainer of Vicky Pollard to take advantage of the Tier 3 system, but the question must be asked, is this good for the future of greyhound racing, and  does it promote fairness and an equal playing field for all participants.

Does the Tier 3 structure maximise returns to participants as is the GRV mantra, or is it simply a matter of time management and ease to compose the fields in this manner.  The splitting of the Normal and Tier 3 programs is quite a divide, in fact it almost harks back to the days when the major provincial tracks such as Geelong and Cranbourne raced for much more stake money than the smaller provincial clubs such as Horsham and Wangaratta used to, before stakes equalisation was introduced in 2000.

While GRV is content with the status quo of random selection of fields for Tier 3 racing, the long term effect on Greyhound Racing in Victoria might have implications that are not being considered or intended.

Some consequences may include the loss of some long term participants, the disenfranchisement of others and a de-valuation in pups and breeding stock.

It seems we are perhaps going backwards, under the guise of moving forward.  Food for thought, I am sure you would agree.

Victorian Greyhound Trainers Fined For Misleading Stewards

Greyhound Racing Victoria Stewards have just released details of a Stewards inquiry in to the scratching of a greyhound from a Geelong greyhound meeting that saw a Victorian greyhound trainer fined for making a “misleading” statement.

GRV Stewards held an inquiry in to the late scratching of Mr. Rumby from a Geelong greyhound race on Friday 12th November 2013.

Officially Mr. Rumby was a late scratching from the meeting due to non-arrival, and the greyhound’s trainer Lauren Gorman; was fined $100 over the matter.

However greyhound trainer Pam Tabone and Traralgon Track Manager Andrew Inger, have each been fined $250 by GRV Stewards for “making false and misleading” statements regarding the greyhound’s non-arrival. We are left to assume Tabone and Inger were handling the greyhound for Gorman on the night, as no attempt is made to explain their relationship to the greyhound in the report; nor was Gorman called to give evidence at the inquiry.

At inquiry, GRV Stewards interviewed Ms. Pam Tabone (Trainer), Mr. Andrew Inger (Trainer), Ms. Janine Giles (Trainer) and Mr. John Rea (GRV Steward). There is no mention of the trainer Lauren Gorman.

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Tabone and Inger with a breach of GAR86 (d) in that being licensed trainers and having official duties in relation to greyhound racing, they did make false or misleading statements to Stewards in an inquiry regarding the greyhound’s non-arrival.

We are left to assume that Tabone and Inger were handling for Gorman on the night of the meeting.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules, a breach of GAR86 (d) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 16 December 2013 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M of the Racing Act.

Tabone and Inger represented themselves and pleaded guilty to the charges.

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

After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that both Tabone and Inger were guilty of making false and misleading statements to Stewards in an inquiry, contrary to rule GAR86 (d).

They were both fined the sum of $250, with $150 suspended for 12 months pending no further breach of GAR86(d).

Greyhound Union Leader Fined For Improper Conduct

Greyhound Racing Victoria have just released details regarding a Stewards Inquiry in to the conduct of Greyhound Union principal Tony Vass.

Stewards alleged that Mr. Vass engaged in improper conduct towards Greyhound Racing Victoria Steward Mrs. Catherine Scarlett and improper conduct towards Greyhound Racing Victoria Steward Mr. Carl Scott in the kennel area of the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club on Wednesday, 6 November 2013.

Following incidents at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club on Wednesday, 6 November 2013, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation.

During the investigation, Stewards heard evidence from Mr. Tony Vass (Trainer), Mrs. Catherine Scarlett (GRV Steward), Ms. Angela Langton (Trainer), Ms. Jacquie Wright (Club employee) and Mr. Carl Scott (GRV Steward).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Vass with a breach of GAR86 (f) (i) which provides that a person shall be guilty of offence if the person engages in, publishes or causes to be published, broadcasts or causes to be broadcast, the use of any contemptuous, unseemly, improper, insulting, or offensive language, conduct or behaviour in any manner or form towards, or in relation to a Steward.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules, a breach of GAR86 (f) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Friday, 13 November 2013 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M of the Racing Act.

Mr. Tony Vass did not attend the Hearing. He provided a written statement to the RADB.

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

After considering Mr. Vass written statement, other communications provided to the RADB and submissions from Mr. Fish, the RADB determined to proceed with the Hearing in the absence of Mr. Vass and entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to both charges.

After hearing all the evidence tendered, the RADB determined that Mr. Vass was guilty of both charges. He was fined $500 on each charge with $250 of each fine wholly suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of Rule GAR86(f) during this period, effective from today.

$200 Fine For Posting Comments On Greyhound Forum

Greyhound Racing Victoria Stewards have just advised that on the 6th December 2013, they conducted an inquiry into comments that were posted on the German greyhound site Greyhound Data by registered Victorian greyhound trainer Keith Lloyd.

According to reports, Lloyd made comments about the GRV grading system that the GRV viewed as “detrimental to the image of greyhound racing”.

Those comments have since been removed from the site.

Stewards heard evidence from Keith Lloyd at the inquiry and subsequently charged him with “breaching GAR86 (q) in that he did post a comment online which in the opinion of Stewards was detrimental to the interest, image, control and promotion of Greyhound Racing.”

Mr. Lloyd pleaded not guilty to the charge but was found guilty as charged by stewards.

Lloyd was fined $500, but $300 of that amount is to be suspended for a period of twelve (12) months, pending no further breaches of the rule.

When considering penalty, Stewards took into account Mr. Lloyd’s submissions and his previous record in this area.

As recently as January 2013, Lloyd was fined $300 by GRV Stewards for the same offence on the same German Greyhound Forum.

Punters Misled By Ballarat Cup Timing Fiasco

The 2013 Group Two Ballarat Cup was a sensational race between two of the best horseshoe sprinters we have seen, but the previous weeks heats are full of controversy. The first of the cup heats was “officially” won in the speedy time of 25.346 by promising young dog Deadly Vane, and that is the race in question.

Put simply, the time was wrong. Not by a length, not by half a length, but by a hectare. In reality, Deadly Vane crossed the line in a sensational 25.09, making him the fastest heat winner.

On a night where there were seven heats run, the fastest second placegetter qualified for the final. This meant the timing error had huge ramifications for connections of Ferly Reign who was “officially” given the time of 25.48. However Ferly Reign actually ran close to 25.19 and was in reality the fastest second placegetter, and worthy of his place in the final.

Australian Racing Greyhound spoke with Anthony Azzopardi, the trainer of Ferly Reign.

“I knew as soon as the race was over there was a problem with the time. Ferly Reign is a consistent 5.30 dog at Wentworth Park and there is no way they could’ve run that slow to the first mark in the heat. I said to the steward straight after the race there was an issue with the time. I was in the wash bay and after the race the steward was waiting to do the swabs, and I said you better have a look at that, there’s no way they’ve gone that time. There was no reaction, like water off a ducks back and I didn’t want to create waves, so didn’t say anything further that night.”

“I spoke with some professional punters and Joe Borg who had the winner, and we all agreed the time was wrong. The pro punters put their time on the race and all five of them said my dog ran 25.18-25.19.”

Anthony then decided the best course of action was to phone the GRV to speak with chief steward Glenn Fish to take his concerns further.

“I rang Glenn Fish on Friday morning and he was unavailable, but he did ring back in the afternoon. I said that I didn’t want to make waves, but there is an issue with the time on the race and my dog should be the fastest second and in the final. He said, he was bound by the Finish Lynx time and would not even consider reviewing the race further. As far as he was concerned whatever time the Finish Lynx gave is the time the race would be recorded as.”

“It’s ridiculous, if the time was a length or two here or there, you know, you could live with that. But this is five length difference on the winners time, and my dog is easily the fastest second and into the final.”

“What really annoyed me was that Glenn Fish didn’t give me the impression he thought it was a big issue. What about the punters? How much would the betting have changed if the public were aware Deadly Vane was the fastest qualifier?”

“Never mind their duty of care to owners and trainers in this case, but what about their betting partners? They knew the times were wrong and did nothing to alert the public or the TAB who were betting on the race.”

“Now I’m not saying we could’ve won, but my dog has enough early pace to have changed the way the final was run. Probably we don’t win…..we’d have been running for third, but with Ferly Reign’s early pace and the way he doesn’t leave the rail; if we’d have drawn inside, the race would’ve been different, that’s all I’m saying.”

Australian Racing Greyhound contacted the Racing Integrity Office and spoke to Sal Perna, who informed us that this situation, “didn’t qualify as an integrity issue and fall within his jurisdiction.” For all the advances that have been made in Victoria with the Integrity Commissioner, it is simply an amazing situation that something that directly affected betting markets and should have been made public knowledge, but was kept quiet; doesn’t qualify as an integrity issue and fall within the scope of the Racing Integrity Commissioner. The public have been misled by a government department, and remarkably that does not qualify as an integrity issue.

Mr Perna went further in his explanation, “If it is related to raceday operation, our office has no jurisdiction. We deal with issues relating to crime and corruption. Even if we received a complaint, there is nothing we can do. We are independent, and it’s a very specific role.”

We next contacted the Integrity Manager at the Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV), Brian Williams, and CEO Adam Wallish, who had nothing to add but were both aware of the issue.

The video below says it all.

2013 Ballarat Cup Heat 1 Time Fiasco

One Month Disqualification For Beta Blocker Positive Swab In Victoria

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 greyhound Sam Harper at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Saturday, 31 August 2013.

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

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Terry with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound Sam Harper free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Saturday, 31 August 2013 given that the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Sotalol.

Sotalol is Beta Blocker, more commonly used as an anti-arryhtmic drug in humans. Sotalol is from the same class of drugs as Timolol, the famed drug of choice used by “fence jumpers” and race fixers throughout the 80′s and 90′s.

The drug Timolol, only rose to wide spread public awareness as a “stopper” when in Janury 1990, the AJC laboratories detected the Beta-Blocker in three beaten favourites competing at Sydney racetracks over the Christmas-New Year period 1989-1990. That was the first recorded detection of a Beta-Blocker in racing anywhere in the world.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 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. Peter Terry represented himself.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) with the assistance of Christine Gent represented the Stewards Panel.

Mr. Terry pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. Terry was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 2 months (with 1 month of this disqualification wholly suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during this 12 month period), effective from midnight Friday, 6 December 2013.

Under GAR83(4), Sam Harper is disqualified from Event 1 – Lion Quality Products 513 Maiden Final – at the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Saturday, 31 August 2013 and the placings amended accordingly.

Two Months Suspension For Offensive Behaviour Toward GRV Stewards

Following an incident at the Sale Greyhound Racing on Sunday, 1 September 2013, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation.

During the investigation, Stewards heard evidence from Ms. Rosalie Van Vaught (Spectator), Mr. William Kenney (Registered Trainer), Ms. Christine Gent (GRV Cadet Steward) and Mr. William McMahon (Registered Trainer).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. William McMahon with a breach of GAR86 (f) (i) which provides that a person engages in, publishes or causes to be published, broadcasts or causes to be broadcast, the use of any contemptuous, unseemly, improper, insulting, or offensive language, conduct or behaviour in any manner of form towards, or in relation to a Steward.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules, a breach of GAR86 (f) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 3 December 2013 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M of the Racing Act.

Mr. William McMahon represented himself.

Mr. Andrew Mills (GRV Deputy Chief Steward) represented the Stewards Panel.

Mr. William McMahon pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered including further oral evidence given by Steward Ms. Christine Gent, the RADB determined that Mr. William McMahon was guilty as charged.

Mr. McMahon also lodged an appeal against the severity of the penalty of 2 months suspension handed down by the Stewards on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 in that he did engage in conduct which was detrimental to the image and promotion of greyhound racing in the vicinity of the parade yard at Sale Greyhound Racing Club on 1 September 2013 in breach of GAR 86(q).

As the offences under GAR 86(f) and 86(q) both related to from Mr McMahon’s conduct arising from similar circumstances at the same meeting, and after considering submissions from Mr Mills and Mr McMahon, the RADB invited further submissions from the parties in respect of penalties for both offences. The RADB determined that 2 months suspension was the appropriate penalty for Mr McMahon for both matters, to be served concurrently, and effective from Monday 9 December 2013.

2013 Group 1 Topgun Preview

This Saturday Night the Meadows plays host to the 21st edition of the invitation-only Group 1 Topgun.  With a wonderful field of sprinters engaged the race features champion greyhounds from 4 different states. Victoria,  South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia – each entrant with their own realistic chance of taking out the first prize and the title of Topgun winner.   This year’s event will also be the final race of champion Queensland greyhound Glen Gallon, who with victory would surpass Miata as Australia’s highest stake winning greyhound.

As Greyhound racing’s most controversial race, arguments have continued around the Topgun format since the first running in 1993 when the race finished in a dead heat between Golden Currency and Worth Backing.  The Topgun creates media attention and is marketing genius. It gets participants talking and butting heads, participants argue for and against and ultimately the result is media attention on a race that many don’t believe should exist, let alone carry the status that it does.  A walk up start, Group 1 status and $150,000 to the winner.  These arguments add to the aurora of the event, the build-up, the spectacle.  It is what the industry needs – fuelling discussions between participants, stakeholders, observers and punters alike.

Adding to the furore to this year’s event is the drawing of champion greyhound Xylia Allen in box 5. Whilst definitely deserving her place in the final field, Greyhound Racing Victoria have done themselves and the integrity of the industry no favours by allowing Hall of Fame trainer Graeme Bate to be listed as her trainer.  Recently disqualified for elevated Testosterone levels Bate is facing nine months on the sidelines if an appeal before VCAT is not successful. GRV have since approved the transfer of Bate’s team to his son in law Peter Hunt. Some would say that in fairness to others in the industry, Bates punishment should have affected his whole team, not just changed the name of the dog’s trainer.

Nevertheless, the aurora of controversy surrounding the Topgun will continue and with a quality field assembled, Australian Racing Greyhound looks into each of the 8 finalists and 2 reserve runner’s chances.

Sky Channel TOPGUN – The Meadows Race 8 – 525meters – 9:52PM Vic Time

Box 1 – Peter Rocket (Where’s Pedro – Belron Blue) – Vic

The Keith Hellmuth-trained Victorian sensation has been a wonderful performer since first gracing the track some 49 starts ago.  With a career record of 20 wins and 19 placing’s, the August 2010 whelp has won in excess of $225,000 in prizemoney. With group wins in the Group 1 Megastar and the Group 2 Horsham Cup he is a multiple group finalist capable of running sub 30 at
the Meadows. With wonderful track form (12 starts – 5 wins and 6 placing’s) he looks well drawn in the cherry with the bonus of a wide runner drawn to his outside. Should have room to move early.

Box 2 – Punch One Out (Knocka Norris – Little Egyptian) – Qld

Owned and Trained by Grant Fennelly, the 27 kilogram speed machine is coming off her first group win when successful at her most recent start- the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup when running a flying 29.75 (BON) at Albion Park.  Often mistaken as being a he, she is a flying machine as evidenced by track records at Wentworth Park and Richmond.  With 44 career starts resulting in 22 wins and 14 placings, the February 2011 whelp has won in excess of $125,000 in prizemoney.  She is a speed machine capable of anything on her day.  Whilst yet to win at the Meadows (1 start – 1 third),, she did trial just .10 seconds outside the track record last week when scorching in a solo trial running 29.55.  Well drawn and with fast beginner to her immediate outside she will have every chance.

Box 3 – Tomac Bale (Dyna Lachlan – Princess Bale) – Vic

The first of three finalists for Australia’s greyhound dynasty The Wheeler Family.  Trained by Victorian Mentor Mark Delbridge, Tomac Bale headlines a kennel who have had an amazing 2013.  Loves the Meadows with 7 wins from 11 starts here including a 29.67 PB. Group 2 winner of the Launching Pad, he is a multiple group finalist and was second at his most recent start, the Group 1 Adelaide Cup Final. 23 starts resulting in 12 wins and 4 placing’s and in excess of $150,000 in prizemoney.  If he begins will take plenty of catching. A speed machine who can be risky (at times) at box rise – followers will know his chances in the first few strides.

Box 4 – Spud Regis (Bombastic Shiraz – Phiona) – Vic

December 2010 whelp who has faced criticism and negative comments about his invitation into this year’s event.  Returning from a brief stud career, his last performance was very impressive winning at this track and trip in BOD 29.83 one month ago. Track specialist with 10 starts resulting in 6 wins and 1 placing. The son of legendary greyhound Bombastic Shiraz, he is himself a 3 time group winner including the 2012 Group 1 Adelaide Cup, Group 3 SA Derby and Group 1 Australian Cup. With 31 careers starts returning 16 wins and 10 placing’s, he has been a superstar on the track winning $450,000 in prizemoney.  In the kennel of leading Victorian Mentor Andrea Dailly, Spud Regis will have plenty of support despite the awkward draw in box 4.  He is a tenacious chaser who is brilliant early – a win would not surprise despite a limited preparation.

Box 5 – Xylia Allen (Turanza Bale – Tayah Bale) – Vic

Champion bitch who has had a wonderful 2013 campaign, including 4 Group wins (3 Group 1’s) – Group 1 National Sprint, Group 1 Sapphire Crown, Group 1 Peter Mosman and Group 2 Launceston Cup.  Tenacious chaser who would run through a brick wall. Can be tardy early but does have excellent race awareness and field sense. 42 Career starts resulting in 17 wins and 16 placing’s including $377,000 in earnings.  Fast PB of 29.63 at this track and distance. Second of the Wheeler runners and is a winning chance.

Box 6 – Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley – Incoherent) – Qld

Queensland Champion and third on the overall all-time prizemoney list with $618,000 in career earnings. Regular group performer in the hands of leading Queensland mentor Tony Brett. The four year old superstar is having his final race start before retiring to stud and is looking for his 4th Group 1 win (Brisbane Cup 2011, Winter Cup 2012 and 2013).  A TOPGUN win would take his prizemoney past the great Miata as the all-time highest.  70 career starts resulting in 37 wins and 15 placing’s. Champion dog sure to be well supported in this despite the terrible draw.

Box 7 – Ernie Bung Arrow (Lochinvar Marlow – Slipper’s Tonic) – SA

Up and coming superstar from South Australia in the hands of popular mentor Ken Gill.  The November 2011 whelp is the baby of the field and has only faced the starter on 14 occasions for 13 wins and 1 second. Last start Group 1 Adelaide Cup winner where he was ultra-impressive in what was his toughest test to date.  The TOPGUN will be his first start at the Meadows and outside of South Australia. Trialled well and is sure to be improved after having his first look. Exceptional from the boxes, he has the ability to lead and is a definite winning chance.

Box 8 – Dyna Nalin (Ashom Bale – Tally Bale) – WA

West Australian speed machine and the third runner owned by the Wheeler dynasty.  In the hands of leading WA trainer Paul Stuart (Miata) who is no stranger to winning big events away from home.  Strong chaser who was victorious in winning the Group 1 Perth Cup in devastating fashion. Well drawn in box 8 as he can be a little tardy at box rise.  Group performer who possesses a powerful motor and can finish over the top of these.  Career earnings in excess of $278,000 from 38 starts for 25 wins and 7 placing’s.  Has raced well at the Meadows with 3 starts resulting in 2 wins and a second including a 29.89 PB. Winning chance.

Reserves

Box 9 – Gold Town (Surf Lorian – Golden Gwen) Vic

Trained by Lara mentor Peter Hunt, Gold Town has been a group performer throughout his 64 start career. Does have wonderful Meadows form with 19 starts resulting in 5 wins and 11 placings.  Was in outstanding racing form prior to last start, when he fell in a heat of the Group 2 Geelong Cup.  Recent form includes fast wins at Wentworth Park (Group 2 Bob Payne winner in 29.59BON) and Geelong (29.81B). Bank balance in excess of $191,000 – he is a strong greyhound capable of surprising if fortunate of gaining a start.

Box 10 – Marcus Joe (Velocette – Mojo Glory) Vic

Out of form recently, including a last start fall in a heat of the Group 2 Geelong Cup series.  The April 2011 whelp is owned and trained by Marcus Hill mentor Barry Maloney.  Has an incredible 29.66 PB at the Meadows and did win the Group 1 Maturity here in July 2013 beating Dyna Nalin.  25 career starts resulting in 7 wins and 10 placing’s he has close to $150,000 in career earnings. Is in a strong winning chance if he can rediscover his earlier career form

Selections – 2, 3, 8 and 1

With the race full of chances and conjecture, this year’s winner will not only be added to the honour role, but will be listed alongside some of Australia’s all-time greats – including: Rapid Journey (1998), No Intent (2001), Bombastic Shiraz (2003) and Meticulous (2007) as well as a host of famous Australian greyhounds of years gone by.

Hall Of Fame Trainer Graeme Bate Disqualified For 9 Months Over Positive Swab

Greyhound Racing Victoria have today advised that Victorian Hall Of Fame greyhound trainer Graeme Bate has been handed an effective nine month disqualification for returning an elevated Testosterone level in one of his greyhounds.

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 ‘Gunda Bale’ at the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 28 March 2013.

During the investigation, Stewards heard evidence from registered trainer Mr. Graeme Bate, Mr. Joe Briffa (Registered Trainer), Paul Zahra (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer), Dr. Alastair Smith (Veterinary Surgeon at Sandown Veterinary Clinic) and Mr. Tony Vandenberg (General Manager of Compliance and Governance at the National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Bate with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Gunda Bale’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 28 March 2013 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 10 ng/mL.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules this constituted a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 14 October 2013 the 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. Graeme Bate was represented by Mr. Phillip Boulton SC who was instructed by Mr. Vincent Murphy Solicitor.

Mr. Paul Holdenson QC with Mr. Chris Winneke represented the Greyhound Racing Victoria Stewards Panel instructed by Corrs Chambers Westgarth Solicitors.

Mr. Bate pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined that Mr. Bate was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 12 months (with 3 months of this disqualification suspended pending no further breach of GAR83 during this period) effective from midnight Wednesday, 23 October 2013.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Gunda Bale’ from Event 7 – City of Greater Geelong Mixed 4/5 – at the Geelong Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Thursday, 28 March 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.

Graeme Bate spoke with Australian Racing Greyhound in the wake of today’s decision and was “naturally very disappointed and a bit taken aback” by the sentence. But it was the severity of the nine month disqualification which shocked the leading trainer, “I was expecting something, but I was not expecting that” said a despondent Bate.

Bate intends to appeal the decision with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). He will be seeking a stay of proceedings from VCAT and GRV Stewards to allow him to continuing training until the VCAT appeal ruling can be decided upon. That VCAT hearing is expected to be heard and finalised within four to six weeks.

In recent years Bate has had what many believe to be a lucky run with positive swabs, having never been disqualified despite return a positive swab to Morphine in 2002, two positive swabs to Procaine in 2009 and 2010, and a positive swab to Diclofenac (an NSAID) in 2011. Those recent positive swabs have cost Bate an SA Derby and a Darwin Cup victory.

Graeme Bate’s Recent Positive Swabs

Ironically, Bate was instrumental in a research project started in 2005 by Greyhounds Australasia (GA), Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL), the Australian Greyhound Veterinary Association (AGVA), and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) which helped establish the current Testosterone threshold levels in bitches.

Victorian Premier Chips In To Ensure 140th Waterloo Cup Running A Success

Premier and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine has announced funding of $9,000 to help celebrate the 140th anniversary of greyhound racing in Victoria at this year’s Waterloo Cup at Longwood in the State’s North East.

Dr Napthine said the Waterloo Cup combined with family friendly activities is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the first greyhound event in Victoria.

The Waterloo Cup meeting will be held over two days at the Longwood Coursing Club on Saturday 31 August culminating with the running of the 138th Waterloo Cup finals on Sunday 1 September.

“This is a great event to encourage new patrons to experience the thrill of greyhound coursing,” Dr Napthine said.
Member for Benalla Bill Sykes said the event was a great opportunity for residents from Longwood, Euroa and Nagambie to experience greyhound racing.

“This will be a terrific family event and a great chance to see more than 100 greyhounds race for the richest prize in Victorian greyhound coursing,” Mr Sykes said.

Patrons will enjoy a range of family-oriented activities on race day including:
Camp Australia activities;
a jumping castle;
show bags;
tee-shirt giveaways;
raffle prizes;
sled dog displays; and
cars from the Buick Car Club of Victoria on show.

The National Coursing Association of Victoria and Greyhound Racing Victoria will celebrate this important milestone by having a special ‘birthday’ cake for all patrons to enjoy.

Greyhound Racing Victoria Chairman Peter Caillard said the Waterloo Cup is a great opportunity for people to experience greyhound racing at the grassroots level.

“The extra on course activities that will be provided through the Raceday Attraction Program at the event are sure to entice more people to help celebrate 140 great years of tradition.”

National Coursing Association of Victoria Secretary Carolyn Mills said the race day attractions will help to advertise the fantastic sport of greyhound racing to enthusiasts and to the local Longwood community.

“It will be a great day out for all of the family as we celebrate where greyhound racing all began; we are the grass roots of greyhound racing in the state of Victoria,” Ms Mills said.

“The meeting will bring trainers and visitors as to the area and local businesses will benefit,” said Ms Mills.

The Victorian Coalition Government is providing more than $4,000 from its Raceday Attraction Program, with Greyhound Racing Victoria contributing $3,000 and the National Coursing Association of Victoria contributing $2,400.

GRNSW Finally Acknowledges Its Growing Integrity Problems

It’s taken the best part of 6 months, but the statutory body that controls greyhound racing in New South Wales has finally formally acknowledged the worst kept secret in the industry – GRNSW has a massive positive swab issue.

Even the Newcastle Herald managed to put the point in print before GRNSW even hinted there was a growing dilemma. This is even more condemning when you consider that GRNSW are habitual “tweeters”, have a borderline addiction to sharing on Facebook; and employ a growing list of journalists/media and marketing types. The channels of communication for them are many and varied.

The silence from those bestowed with the integrity and governance of the industry surrounding the issue has been deafening. Jason Mackay had to publicly “give up” his colleagues to emphasise the fact that he isn’t the only leading trainer waiting on their regulatory body to drag itself up by the bootstraps and deal with the issue.

Even Mackay wasn’t sure of the numbers involved citing “maybe 30 or 40 trainers” waiting for authorities to get their integrity “house in order”. But those numbers, as devastating as they are; could be even larger given there is currently a national epidemic of positive swabs – (an issue we will deal with in another analysis).

A few months ago, when Australian Racing Greyhound ran the numbers across Greyhound Racing in New South Wales, there were over 42 outstanding swabs that had not been reported as clear in New South Wales alone- some of them went right back to late 2012. Some may have been administration or “clerical” errors, but it was safe to say that there was more going on than “the new girl” not knowing how to do her job.

In GRNSW’s defence, the only reason we were able to run that analysis was that GRNSW do report when swab results “clear”. Somewhat obliquely though, they fail to report a swab anomaly. It is left to the user to “assume” an unreported clear swab has an irregularity. Surely commonsense and good governance dictates that it would cause less innuendo and “betting ring gossip” to be upfront and report the issue? But this is the modern reality of greyhounds racing’s version of “transparency”.

As dark as this would appear to be for those in New South Wales, GRNSW are light years ahead of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV).

It should come as no surprise that the regulatory body that runs greyhound racing in Victoria don’t even report the swabs they take in a format anyone could digest. The same group who were the subject of an Racing Integrity Ombudsman inquiry in to their lack of governance and gambling employees, will only make mention of a swab being taken in a stewards report of a race meeting. Nothing is ever mentioned of the swab again. Its value as information for the public just evaporates in to the ether.

Unless the swab is positive, and then the job of joining the dots falls at the feet of the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB). The RADB will report a positive swab inquiry outcome, although often months after the initial incident. Apparently nothing noteworthy occurs in the intervening period between a swab being taken, and inquiry report being finalised.

It wasn’t that long ago that GRV did not even report its integrity issues online. Believe it or not, GRV sought to hide integrity issues from wider public scrutiny until 2010. It’s only the last few years that these results can be found online. GRNSW through its predecessor, GHRRA; had been publishing these results online since the early 2000′s. A fact that is hard to reconcile when the GRV once trumpeted itself as the leading greyhound body in Australia with regard to Information Technology (IT).

Disappointingly, Racing Queensland and Racing Tasmania both follow the Victorian trend of only reporting swab issues after the outcome of the inquiry.

Greyhound Racing South Australia (GRSA) and Racing And Wagering West Australia (RWWA) who are often maligned in industry circles, actually lead the industry in integrity and transparency with regard to stewards inquiries and positive swabs. They both publish and release notifications when swab irregularities arise, and then keep the interested public informed as the process evolves.

If you’re waiting for the same from GRNSW – they sometimes report a swab anomaly, sometimes they don’t. The mere fact some are reported and others not only serves to further industry speculation and fuels a perception of “rules for some”. When GRNSW do choose to report swab irregularities, it is usually only days before the inquiry is set to take place; a date which is often months after the fact.

And what of Victoria? Well you might as well be living in a world before the pre-industrial age. It’s as if an information vacuum the equivalent of Steven King’s dome has descended over the greyhound racing headquarters. There will be no information forthcoming at all until after the RADB hearing is held; and then it can take weeks to months for that information to be relayed to the public. Presumably the pigeon struggles under the weight of the message it is delivering.

Given the constant spiel from the million dollar marketing machines of our regulatory bodies, morphing modest achievements and occasional complete fails into stunningly digestible and palatable media “bites”, there will always be a need for commentary and analysis uninfluenced by the spell of our statutory bodies.

From time to time Australian Racing Greyhound and its writers have themselves been maligned for not providing a “sugar & candy” analysis and coverage of Australian Greyhound Racing. The bare facts, the potential pitfalls, and the reality of some unsavoury incidents and issues has the capacity to become too much to bear for some.

While our regulatory bodies seek to hide from the transparency the industry deserves; and while they continue to put marketing concerns ahead of integrity issues; there will always be a need for an independent coverage of greyhound racing.

“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth” – Albert Einstein.

Level The Playing Field – Integrity

In 2012 the Victorian Ombudsman produced a report in relation to the integrity of Greyhound Racing Victoria. The report, titled Victorian Ombudsman – Own Motion Investigation into Greyhound Racing Victoria June 2012 – is available in full on-line and makes for interesting reading. Unfortunately most participants probably have never heard of the report. Most won’t have read it. Everybody needs to : Ombudsman’s Integrity Report.

The report highlighted the actions of those entrusted to run our great sport – their unprofessionalism and their actions that boarded on corruption.

The 7 main points are highlighted below – the report identified:

1. GRV staff were betting on greyhound races during work hours including those in integrity-related positions.

  • One employee, a senior manager was found to have placed 4,409 bets over a three year period totalling $508,705 dollars during WORK TIME. Remarkably, when identified by the ombudsman, this employee’s contract was not torn up nor were they marched out of the building in disgrace. They were issued with a first and final warning and in the months that followed they were given a $10,000 bonus and a pay rise. Eventually this employee left the GRV in March 2012.
  • Then CEO John Stephens admitted to betting on greyhound races during work time
  • 11 GRV staff were found to have been involved in betting during work hours including stewards: of these 11 people – 3 stewards were terminated, 1 received a first and final warning, 1 form analyst resigned, 1 form analyst was given a first and final warning, 2 graders were terminated, 2 senior managers given first and final warnings, and 1 data operator given a first and final warning.

2. GRV staff owned greyhounds – this presents integrity issues

  • How can GRV staff assure participants that they are acting in a professional manner and with integrity to everyone? They have their own interests to consider.
    • 3. The Tender Processes and Practices of GRV

      • GRV would continually award contracts without the correct procedures being followed – staff including then CEO would use the same contractors for personal developments. This presents further integrity issues – we need to ensure that tenders are being awarded fairly – and in align with what the industry expects.

      4. GRV lack of gift and hospitality declarations

      • The ombudsman’s report highlighted that GRV staff failed to correctly record gifts and benefits. Whilst receiving gifts and benefits is not necessarily illegal – what is received needs to be recorded and be transparent – which is wasn’t. This leads to allegations of corruption and other concerns regarding integrity.

      5. Hospitality Expenditure

      • GRV would use corporate credit cards and funds to pay for a number of non-core business related expenses such as alcohol. Public servants have faced criminal prosecution for this type of activity.

      6. Staff were given termination payments

      • Staff found in breach of GRV policy by betting on greyhound races during work time were given a ‘golden handshake.’ GRV informed the industry that their positions where terminated. This again raises integrity issues.

      7. Staff use of email system

      • Staff employment conditions stipulated the use of work email and internet based programs. Staff were able to access betting sites during their shifts to place bets on races including greyhound racing. Emails sent to one another also contained content of a pornographic and explicit nature – again in breach of policy.
      • The ombudsman report identified a number of issues involving greyhound racing in Victoria – some of which are still on-going and have not been adequately addressed. The report has identified a number of issues that affect all state authorities. Changes have occurred in Victoria and they needed to. We need to ensure that this keeps occurring – both here and throughout Australia. Everybody needs to read the ombudsman’s report – changes needs to occur and integrity needs to be maintained.

        The Australian Greyhound industry and the punting public need to have complete trust in those entrusted with the role of overseeing it. State authorities need to show that they are doing all they can to ensure integrity and transparency. Continuing on from our swabbing story last week – let’s take a further look at some other issues. There are countless others and everyone needs to raise their concerns.

        GRV Staff

        GRV staff identified by the ombudsman are still employed by GRV. One questions how this can ensure integrity if some of these persons are still in charge of overseeing the greyhound racing industry? If they have been found responsible of breaching GRV policies, then they were responsible for unethical behaviour. How can they still be employed in these positions?

        Race Seeding

        One concern is the seeding of greyhounds into races. In blatant terms one could consider this a true example of race fixing. By seeding greyhounds, stewards are attempting to shape the fields and influence the outcome of a race. Of course in greyhound racing, things happen during a race, so why do we need greyhounds to be seeded? This is a quick fix that would improve transparency and integrity. No more greyhounds seeded into races, concerns addressed. Allegations that race fixing occurs disappears.

        Box Draws

        Box draws are a unique issues. It is all well and good to say that they are conducted by a computer. However computers can be programed to produce particular results under given circumstances. The fairest way to draw a race, and box draws is by the banjo system – which should be recorded or displayed online to ensure transparency and fairness to all.

        Telephone Checks

        The ombudsman report touched on the surface of an organisation failing to be managed in a manner that was expected of it by the industry that supported it. It was an unethical organisation.

        Furthermore – the ombudsman report touched on the surface where the industry needs to dig deeper. The investigation needed to delve into the phone records of GRV staff and stewards identified in the investigation. Confidence and transparency needs to be built. When people entrusted with the administration of this industry are placing substantial bets of races it begs the question, ‘To what extent are these people prepared to go to ensure they reap a benefit (reward) from their investment?’ Let’s remember, it was these same people who were responsible for grading dogs into the races, seeding dogs into field and the box draw. They were also responsible for deciding which dogs were subjected to the swabbing process during a meeting.

        By comparing betting records with telephone checks, investigators may be able to identify a particular pattern of bets between GRV staff and trainers. Was there any communication that would help identify a particular pattern? Can we conduct this inquiry to negate the risk that any trainers were involved?

        Investigations need to be made to ensure that these issues didn’t occur and indeed are not currently occurring. A formal inquiry should be conducted by experience investigators with sufficient experience and knowledge within the racing industry to ensure that these issues and more are completely investigated. This may require commission of inquiry powers to ensure such an investigation is successful. The persons identified in this report oversee the integrity of the industry, they are judge jury and executioner.

        Race Swabs

        Similarly the process of determining which dogs are swabbed at a meeting needs to be overhauled. If officials have placed substantial bets on a particular dog and the trainer is made aware that the dog will not be subject of a swab, than the officials bet had a greater likelihood of success. The ombudsman’s investigation did not delve deeply enough into the activities of those persons involved. Similarly, where were the offenders managers in this process, what role did they play and why did their supervision not detect this activity?

        How do we stop this? While not saying that it does occur, let’s prove that it doesn’t. Dogs that are to be swabbed on race night should be drawn randomly and in the public spectrum for all to see. All race winners should be swabbed. All swab results need to be published.

        These are just five issues of many that need to be urgently addressed. The industry needs leadership and governance by corporate business professionals. Integrity needs to be built and participants need confidence that those in charge are doing everything they can to level the playing field. Victoria in particular would benefit from a Commission of Inquiry, and those that do the wrong thing are in turn held suitably accountable for their actions. These small few can’t be allowed to damage the industry for all involved. Queensland has begun its Commission of Inquiry and industry participants are eagerly anticipating the findings.

        The ombudsman’s report touched on the surface concerns about GRV – but the findings relate to each state authority. We raised some issues – a few of many – and you are encouraged to raise your issues and concerns. Again, there is no proof that this has happened – but let’s eliminate any suggestion that it has, or it is currently occurring.

        Parliamentary Secretary Vocal In Support Of National Sprint & Distance Championship Finals

        Victorian greyhound racing enthusiasts are in for a treat with the Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association hosting the 2013 National Sprint and Distance Championship finals at The Meadows on Saturday 24 August.

        Craig Ondarchie, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier and State Member for Northern Metropolitan Region said the event would showcase the cream of Victorian greyhounds taking on all challengers from across Australia.

        A focus on the night, apart from the racing, will be the Great Gatsby themed Young Persons’ Marquee on the new terrace area. The marquee will feature a DJ and be hosted by two young racing personalities to help with Tips on greyhound racing.

        An entry package to the marquee will include finger food, entertainment and giveaways throughout the evening.

        There will also be children’s activities throughout the evening including face painting, a jumping castle and showbag give-aways.

        “The Victorian Coalition Government is getting right behind this major national event at the Meadows by helping to put on a simply fantastic night of entertainment and other off-track activities,” Mr Ondarchie said.

        “I encourage everyone, particularly those in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, to be at The Meadows on Saturday 24th august to cheer home the Vics against the interstate raiders.

        “The Meadows is a terrific venue to enjoy world-class greyhound racing action with easy parking and some great spots to watch greyhound racing close up.”

        The National Sprint and Distance Championship finals are rotated around Australia and thus only come to Melbourne every six years. Both the National Sprint Championship and the National Distance Championship carry first-prize money of $75,000. Hundreds of interstate participants are expected to come to Victoria for the finals and lead-up events.

        Greyhound Racing Victoria Chairman, Peter Caillard said that GRV is proud to welcome the nation’s best greyhounds to The Meadows for the running of the National Sprint and Distance Championships.

        “This is a unique and prestigious series and the support of the State Government has been important in ensuring we provide the best possible event to showcase the sport of greyhound racing,” Mr Caillard said

        “The eyes of the nation will be on The Meadows on Saturday 24 August, with the series essentially being a greyhound racing ‘State of Origin’. The Victorian greyhounds will be the home-town favourites and we’ll be cheering them home along with the big crowd on-course.”

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