Ronald Murch Disqualified And Fined For Caffeine Positive

Offence:

GAR83 Racing greyhound to be free of prohibited substances

(2)The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound-

(a) nominated to compete in an Event;

(b) presented for a satisfactory, weight or whelping trial or such other trial as provided for pursuant to these Rules; or

(c) presented for any test or examination for the purpose of a period of incapacitation or prohibition being varied or revoked

shall present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance.

(3) The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound presented contrary to sub-rule (2) shall be guilty of an offence.

(4) A greyhound presented for an Event contrary to sub-rule (1) or (2) shall be disqualified from the Event or any benefit derived from a trial or test.

Report:

On the 17th October 2014 Mr. Ronald Murch was informed that the greyhound ALL BLACK JACK had shown the presence of CAFFEINE and its metabolites THEOPHYLLINE, PARAXANTHINE and THEOBROMINE from the urine sample taken at the Greyhound Racing SA race meeting held at Gawler on Tuesday 23rd September 2014, and that he would be advised of the date, time and place of an inquiry.

The reserve portion of the urine sample was tested and the presence of CAFFEINE and its metabolites THEOPHYLLINE, PARAXANTHINE and THEOBROMINE was confirmed.

Mr. Murch was advised of the analyst’s results and attended an inquiry at the offices of Greyhound Racing SA on Tuesday 2nd December 2014 at 10.00am, into the circumstances relating to the obtaining of the positive urine sample.

After taking evidence from Mr. Paul Zahra (Scientific Manager) and Mr. Murch stewards were of the opinion that there was sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Murch with a breach of the GRSA Rules Of Greyhound Racing R83 in that he produced the greyhound ALL BLACK JACK for racing at the Greyhound Racing SA race meeting held at Gawler on Tuesday 23rd September 2014 and the greyhound was found to have the prohibited substance CAFFEINE and its metabolites THEOPHYLLINE, PARAXANTHINE and THEOBROMINE in its urine.

Mr. Murch pleaded guilty to the charge and was disqualified for a period of 3 months and fined the sum of $500.

Such penalty to commence from midnight Tuesday 9 December 2014.

Kevin Wright Appeal Dismissed For Want Of Jurisdiction

Offences:

GAR 99.3 (b): Unless the Controlling Body in special circumstances otherwise directs, a person who has been disqualified, warned off or declared as a defaulter is not permitted to transact any business affecting the registration of persons or greyhounds with the Controlling Body.

GAR 99.3 (e): Unless the Controlling Body in special circumstances otherwise directs, a person who has been disqualified, warned off or declared as a defaulter is not to have any of the rights or privileges conferred by any registration pursuant to these Rules.

GAR 99.3(f): Unless the Controlling Body in special circumstances otherwise directs, a person who has been disqualified, warned off or declared as a defaulter is not eligible to otherwise participate in or associate with greyhound racing and any greyhound which has been nominated by the person or in the person’s name, or of which the person is wholly or partly the owner or which is proved to the satisfaction of the Controlling Body to be pursuant to the person’s care, custody or training, is prohibited from competing in any Event.

GAR 100: The period of penalty imposed on a person who is disqualified or warned off shall automatically be deemed to have recommenced as from the most recent date of the person breaching Rule 99.

Report:

On Wednesday, 5 November 2014 the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an inquiry and found that Mr. Wright had breached the conditions of his disqualification in that he had undertaken activities within the greyhound racing industry whilst a disqualified person.

Acting under GAR100 the stewards determined that his period of disqualification recommence on 10 September 2014 and thereby terminates on 10 December 2014.

During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Kevin Wright and Mr. Carl McGrath (Club Manager).

Mr. Wright lodged an Appeal with the RADB against the decision to have his period of disqualification recommence.

Mr. Kevin Wright did not appear at the hearing of his Appeal.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) and Mr. Greg Huntington (GRV Manager Investigation) represented the Stewards Panel at the Appeal.

Mr. Huntington spoke about the investigations he had conducted which traversed the specific issue of Mr. Wright’s possible breach of the disqualification conditions and more generally as to the circumstances of the matter.

Whilst the RADB accepted the evidence of Mr. Huntington it did accede to a preliminary submission that it had no jurisdiction to hear this appeal. Section83J of the Racing Act limits the RADB jurisdiction to- speaking generally- appeals from the imposition of penalties.

This was made clear in the RADB ruling in the James matter. More recently the RADB has declined to enter disputation on what are administrative matters – see Rilen. GAR100 creates no new penalty rather it refixes administratively a penalty commencement date.

In declining jurisdiction the RADB noted that the provisions of GAR100 as not imposing a penalty could be seen as counter-intuitive.

Further the relation of GAR100 with GAR99 can lead to anomalous and perhaps unfair situations. Consider a GAR99 breach occurring in the first week of a period of disqualification with one occurring in the last week.

Finally it was noted that a case could be made that breaches of GAR99 be dealt with as ‘serious offences’.

The RADB requested Mr. Fish to consider these observations and to take such action as might be warranted.

Accordingly this Appeal was dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

When Will Racing Bosses Address The Facts?

As thousands of our readers would know, this column has been campaigning for some time about the unwise practice of forcing so-called stayers to back up in week to week 700m-plus races. The problem being that at least nine out of ten of them cannot do it – they are physically and physiologically incapable of reproducing their best.

The sub-text here is that the nation is no longer producing enough well-bred stayers. In turn, that is a reaction to the increasing concentration on sprinters – or sprinting sires – which can hopefully bring in a quicker return on the owner’s investment.

The sub-sub-text is that all this is the reason for the widespread increase in sub-400m races on TAB programs. Cannington had three 297m races at its Saturday meeting last week. Wentworth Park has been slipping 280m races into its Friday meetings. Albion Park actually built a new start for 331m races, as did Angle Park for 388m races. 300m-400m races now dominate most provincial meetings. All these are new trends.

Despite all the evidence, the industry is ignoring the massive shift in breeding patterns, except that it has been offering bonus prize money for provincial distance races (which generally means 650m or so) in the hope that the dogs will welcome a boost to their bank accounts by running further. But it is not working. Fields are hard to fill and, in the main, they are getting only those dogs that are not much good over shorter trips.

More importantly, clubs/authorities (cross out one) are still doing the wrong thing. Just last Saturday we saw The Meadows run the final of a Grade 5 heat/final series over 725m with seven days between the two runs. Here are the differences in times between those two runs.

1. +0.19 Big Kat 2nd

2. +0.35

3. +0.44 Julie Bale 3rd

4. -.09

5. +1.33

6. +0.37

7. +0.36

8. +0.18 Starc Ist

That was not the only distance race on the program. Another ordinary Grade 5 race over 725m followed. Of those eight starters, only one had a break of more than seven days prior to the distance race (Global Lad – 9 days). Four other starters had breaks of only four days. Here are the difference between Saturday’s times and those run in their previous race (corrected for a change in distance as appropriate).

1. +0.21 Reap the Benefit 2nd

2. +0.45

3. +0.29

4. +0.39

5. +0.22

6. +0.06 Global Lad 3rd

7. -0.13 Heaps of Ability 1st

8. -0.04

Before you get too excited about that win note that Heaps of Ability ran 43.25, which is pretty pedestrian. It ran past a bunch of tiring leaders on the home turn.

In other words, following short breaks, there is a heavily defined pattern of running poor and/or worse times the second time around. Previous checks reported in this column have shown comparable results.

Wentworth Park also ran two heats of a heat/final distance series on Saturday night and with similar results to those at The Meadows – barring the amazing win by Sweet It Is. Amongst the placegetters were Zipping Maggie, Zipping Rory and Dusty Moonshine, each of which ran worse time than the week or race before, and much worse than their best. Next week will see the final of that series, where the only interest will be on Sweet It Is’ winning margin (providing it does not run into too many backsides).

What, then, is the point of scheduling heats and finals seven days apart? Of the 32 dogs listed above only one, Sweet It Is, is capable of turning on two good runs. Or, 3% can do it, 97% cannot.

Of those four races, three favourites – Reap The Benefit $2.10, Julie Bale $2.30 and Zipping Maggie $2.10 – all failed, while Sweet It Is won at $1.30, so punters would not have been impressed. Again, what is the point?

Most racing schedules are organised a long way ahead, particularly for major events. But many are not and can easily be changed.

We already have a few welfare rules preventing quick backups, more which address high temperatures as well as frequent enforced outages for injury or illness, so why not expand those a little to stop this senseless practice with distance dogs?

There is a dual or triple challenge here because all three levels of racing are involved in one way or another – national, state and club – whether for rule changes or week to week management.

Postscript:

Trainer Darren McDonald seems to have done a good job in encouraging Sweet It Is to leave the boxes more quickly these days. But I would take issue with him when he claims she is better off from outside boxes. I suggest the more correct claim would be that she either (a) does not like being crowded or (b) does not handle getting through a field very well, or (c) both. Perhaps this may have been the result of an incident as a pup?

Whatever it is, she has developed an Elektra-like habit of jumping well then easing back when she does not have clear air. At Wenty on Saturday none of that happened. She jumped well and was out free as a bird behind the leader and well clear of other dogs. Hence the lightning 41.55 time after a neat 16.30 sectional! Next week with a full field in the final may be different. That’s why you should never take anything less than even money about her.

From the inside three boxes, Sweet It Is has won 6 of 16 attempts, or 37%. From the outside three boxes she has won 8 of 23, or 35%. It’s the running that matters, not the box.

In passing, note that her six-dog race on Saturday at Wenty attracted a miserable $9,157 on the Win tote. You might have expected double that figure. Also related to 720m races at Wenty, why are we still offered 16 sec-plus sectional times when a timer is available at around the 5 sec mark – as evidenced in results published for 280m races which use the same boxes? The shorter time is much more relevant to a dog’s beginning ability.

Stewards Report, The Meadows, Race 8

“Radinka Bale crossed to the rail approaching the first turn, causing Skinny Vinnie and Buckle Up Mason to collide”.

No it didn’t. The other two made their way directly to the turn without hindrance, and well behind Radinka Bale.

Geoffrey Johnston Fined For Failing To Attend Inquiry

Offence:

GAR 86(e): Mr. Geoffrey Johnston failed to attend an inquiry on Wednesday, 23 July 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.

Report:

The Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria proposed to open an inquiry into certain conduct of Mr. Geoffrey Johnston. The inquiry was called for on Wednesday, 23 July 2014.

Stewards charged Mr. Johnston with a breach of GAR86 (e) which provides that being an owner, trainer attendant or person having official duties in relation to greyhound racing, who 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, commits an offence.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR86 (e) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 25 August 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. Johnston failed to attend the hearing. Mr. Fish advised that no communication had been received from Mr. Johnston.

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

After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. Geoffrey Johnston was guilty of failing to attend an Inquiry on Wednesday, 23 July 2014, when directed to do so by the Stewards.

He was fined the sum of $250.

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

(a) Mr. Johnston’s non-attendance before the RADB;

(b) Prior penalties for a similar charges under GAR86 (e); and

(c) This was Mr. Johnston’s first offence, although he had not been a registered person for a long period.

More Allen Deed Background

Thursday’s item about Allen Deed, the Ballarat Cup heat and steward’s reactions apparently posed some consternation here and there, including from our readers. Let’s clarify some form issues and also add to the betting story, which is decidedly odd.

Two points have been made about Allen Deed’s habits and form. Neither is accurate.

The idea that the dog would prefer, or find it easier, to handle a one-turn track and a longer run to the turn is not supported by its 46-run history. We all know that it tends to race in the middle of the track yet it has actually done well from a range of boxes from 1 to 8. Its sectional times can vary a lot but once again there is no indication throughout its career that it does better from one side to the other. In any case it has used a one-turn track like Ballarat only twice before this occasion – both times at Geelong where it did quite well.

16 of its 18 wins prior to the Ballarat run were on circle tracks.

Lastly, the suggestion that its poor Sandown runs were due to bad boxes is simply not true (the last two were 3 and 8). On both these occasions the dog left the boxes poorly and then raced poorly at the tail of the field. There were no incidents in the race that affected its progress.

Consequently, its lively performance at Ballarat and its smart BON time were in sharp contrast to its previous two runs. There were no obvious excuses and it is now too late to go back and check out the reasons. In all three cases the key issue is that a favoured dog, previously a strong and consistent performer, was impossible to predict. Apparently, stewards are either not qualified or not interested in such ups and downs, which amounts to a systemic failure.

Further checks on the betting on Allen Deed’s heat add to the comments already made in this column. The mystery was why the NSW Win pools escalated to unprecedented levels (nearly $34k) when the other heats averaged $8,446. So now consider the relative starting prices of four runners in that race.

Runner NSW Victoria

Take Charge

$5.50

$2.30F

Scenic Shot

$2.70

$16

Allen Deed

$9.70

$3.70

Beckenbauer

$2.50F

$9.20

If we assume that the home (Victorian) prices were “normal” – and the pool there certainly was – then the huge plonk from unknown sources on the NSW TAB was clearly on Scenic Shot and Beckenbauer, which ended up running 4th and 6th respectively. That same plonk obviously ignored Allen Deed, and so its price eased right out. NSW also had a completely different favourite.

All this is in stark contrast to typical TAB behaviour where “home” and “away” prices tend to merge closer together as betting finalises. Fluctuations in this particular case therefore suggest the big money came in very late.

I might also point out that the disparity between the prices of Take Charge and Allen Deed in Victoria indicates that local punters had doubts about the latter’s current form – quite logically. Normally these two dogs are in very different classes.

What happened with online bookies or Betfair is unknown but GRV officials would have access to that data.

We can have no idea why all these peculiarities were present – whether in form or betting. That was the very reason I raised the subject. Such a knowledge gap is not a help in encouraging the public to support greyhound racing. Since the basic facts are clear it is up to GRV to look further and come up with some explanation.

I might add that since TABs started doing business in the 1960s I have never ever seen such huge price variations from one state to the other. That alone justifies investigation.

Cyril Wilson Suspended For Caffeine Positive

Offences:

GAR 83 (2) (a): The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound nominated to compete in an Event shall present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance.

Report:

Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) stewards have finalised deliberations on penalty following analysts’ reports of the finding of caffeine and its metabolites theophylline, paraxanthine and theobromine in the urine sample taken from You Ess Marshall after that greyhound won the Twin Towns Maiden Series Final (420m) at Tweed Heads on 28 June 2014.

Consistent with the protocols established for dealing with such matters under the GRNSW Prohibited Substance Penalty System, trainer Cyril Wilson was advised of the reports received from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory and Racing Analytical Services Ltd Victoria, via written notification of the laboratory findings.

Mr Wilson had advised GRNSW of the probability of the reports having occurred due to the administration of EPO Canine, which testing had shown to contain caffeine. A product warning notice had been distributed by GRNSW in June 2013 in relation to the possible dangers of use of this product close to race day.

Following alternate correspondence Mr Wilson pleaded guilty to a charge under GAR 83 (2) (a) of having presented You Ess Marshall for the event other than free of any prohibited substance in that the urine sample taken from the greyhound after the event was found to contain caffeine and its metabolites.

After GRNSW had considered submissions from Mr Wilson on penalty, he was suspended for a period to expire at midnight on 25 January 2015. The period of suspension commenced from 20 October 2014, cognisant of Mr Wilson’s voluntary withdrawal from the industry upon original notification of the penalty proposed.

In considering penalty, stewards took into account his guilty plea, previously unblemished record in more than 30 years of training, a lack of any significant wagering on the event, previous penalties relevant to this substance, his personal circumstances and the effects that such reports have on the image of racing.

Notwithstanding those factors, the requirement for a penalty to be imposed in circumstances where a measure of negligence had been identified as a possible factor in the reports also had to be considered.

Under GAR 83 (4), You Ess Marshall was disqualified from the event in question and the placings amended accordingly.

Mr Wilson was advised of his right of appeal.

Tony Vass Disqualified And Fined

Offences:

GAR 83 (1):Mr. Tony Vass the trainer of the greyhound ‘Sick Money’, which was nominated to compete in an Event, namely, Race 10, the Action Packed Images – Grade 5 T3, conducted by the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club at Warragul on 20 June 2014, did administer or cause to be administered the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha, 17beta-DIOL at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml for the purpose of affecting the greyhound’s condition, behaviour or performance in the Event.

GAR 83 (2)(3)(6): Mr. Tony Vass the trainer of the greyhound ‘Sick Money’ which was nominated to compete in an Event, namely, Race 10, the Action Packaged Images – Grade 5 T3, conducted by the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club at Warragul on 20 June 2014, did fail on that date to present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance, given that a pre race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha, 17beta-DIOL at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml.

Report:

Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from greyhound ‘Sick Money’ at the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Friday, 20 June 2014.

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

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Vass with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules as indicated above.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (1) and GAR83 (2)(3)(6) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 25 November 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. Tony Vass represented himself.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) represented the Stewards Panel. Mr. Tony Vass pleaded not guilty to the charges.

At the hearing the Stewards called Mr. Paul Zahra and Dr. Steven Karamatic to give evidence each of whom were cross-examined by Mr. Vass. Mr. Zahra’s considered opinion was that the mass concentration level of the prohibited substance was not less than 380 ng/ml and that it was likely that the administration of the prohibited substance had occurred within a reasonably short time frame prior to the taking of the sample.

Mr. Vass gave evidence on his own behalf but called no witnesses.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (1) and GAR83 (2)(3)(6), the RADB determined that:

(a) In relation to charge (1), Mr. Vass was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 5 years (with 2 years of this penalty suspended) and fined him $2,000.

(b) In relation to charge (2), Mr. Vass was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 12 months and fined him $1,000.

Both disqualification penalties for charge (1) and (2) to be served consecutively, effective from Tuesday, 25 November 2014.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Sick Money’ Race 10, the Action Packed Images – Grade 5 T3, conducted by the Warragul Greyhound Racing Club at Warragul on Friday, 20 June 2014 and amended the placings as follows:

1st Lachlan River
2nd Riley Boy
3rd Battle Flame
4th Tooradale
5th Power Dozer
6th Nimrod
7th Hay Ty
Disqualified Sick Money

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

(a) Mr. Vass’ not guilty pleas and consequent lack of remorse;

(b) The nature of the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha,17beta-DIOL
when present at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/ml and the apparent
prevalence of its use having regard to matters coming before the Board;

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

(d) Prior penalties for similar offences;

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

(f) Specific deterrence in Mr. Vass’s case having regard to previous offences; and

(g) The attitude and demeanour of Mr. Vass in giving evidence to the Board.

ARG Opinion:

It is not the first time that Tony Vass has been at the centre of a positive swab scandal. In August he was disqualified for a period of two months following a Dexamethasone positive from the same greyhound, Sick Money, from Tuesday, 4 March 2014. In addition to this he was found guilty of a morphine positive in 2008 and in 2013 he was found guilty of improper conduct towards a female steward at Cranbourne. Six years doesn’t seem like a long enough time for a serious, repeat offender like Mr. Vass, yet another example of a participant which our sport can do without.

Patrick Wood Disqualified For Ten Years

Offence:

GAR 83(2)(a):The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound nominated to compete in an Event shall present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance.

Report

Greyhound Racing NSW stewards have concluded an inquiry into analysts’ reports of the finding of amphetamine, 4-hydroxyamphetamine, caffeine, theophylline, paraxanthine, and theobromine in the urine sample taken from Feedback Icon after that greyhound won the Mount Franklin Maiden Heat (520m) at Dapto on 17 July 2014.

Feedback Icon’s trainer Patrick Wood failed to appear at the inquiry despite a direction to attend from stewards. As a result, the inquiry proceeded in Mr Wood’s absence.

Evidence was taken from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory’s (ARFL) Dr Adam Cawley. Written evidence was submitted from the ARFL, Racing Analytical Services Victoria and GRNSW investigator Bill Beekman.

During a kennel inspection conducted at Mr Wood’s premises, admissions were made of administration of an amphetamine tablet and a spoonful of coffee two days prior to the race. These admissions however were refuted by Dr Cawley with the levels of the amphetamine being in excess of five times greater than that ever returned to the same substance, which was consistent with a race day administration. Similarly the detected levels of the caffeine and its metabolites also supported race day administration.

After failing to attend the initial scheduled inquiry, Mr Wood was charged by correspondence with a breach of GAR 83(2)(a), and directed to formally lodge a plea with respect to the charge. Mr Wood also ignored this direction, with stewards in recognition of his admissions lodging a plea of guilty on his behalf in his absence.

After considering all the evidence, stewards disqualified Mr Wood for a period of ten years.

In determining penalty, stewards took into account Mr Wood’s record whereby in the lone three urine samples taken from greyhounds trained by him, this was the third occasion he had been found guilty under the prohibited substance rules. Stewards also factored in the excessive level of the Category Two substance under the GRNSW Penalty Guidelines, the lack of contrition shown by Mr Wood for his actions, and the general deterrence for similar behaviour, enforcing GRNSW’s policy of drug free racing.

Under GAR 83(4) Feedback Icon was disqualified from the race and the placings amended accordingly.

Mr Wood was advised of his right of appeal.

ARG Opinion:

Great to see GRNSW putting their foot down and acting with authority on such a major issue. With such a high level reading it is pertinent that they set a precedent for all other participants that disregarding the rules of greyhound racing will not be tolerated. Mr Wood refusing to appear at the inquiry or enter a plea further emphasises his wrong doing and disregard for the sport and makes him a prime example of the type of person we do not need in the greyhound racing industry. In ARG’s opinion, three positives from just three swab samples should see him banned for life, but, we guess a decade is a good start.

Is There A Steward’s Job Description?

There was something for everyone at Ballarat last night for the heats of the Ballarat Cup. Thrills and spills abounded as a lot of good dogs vied for the right to get into the final next week. So many good dogs, though, that they effectively downgraded the fields at tonight’s prime Sandown meeting.

Notably, Allen Deed and Agent Jack easily outpointed their oppositions with runs of 25.06 and 25.14 respectively. Both ran around the centre of the track and avoided any interference. Note those times because the other six heat winners could do no better than 25.33 to 25.47, which is just OK but not great.

Two dogs probably better suited over the 400m trip got run down – Magic Diva and El Grand Seal – although both have had success over the 450m trip previously. Luca Neveelk and Secret Spell won nicely after just ordinary jumps, particularly the former. Blue Giant in the last heat came from nowhere at all to catch El Grand Seal on the line. It was many lengths back on the turn.

Jason Thompson’s pair returning from injury had mixed fortunes. Innocent Lil was not doing a lot and then fell while the versatile Whodat Knockin ran well from the outside box but could manage only second in 25.40 to the nippy Secret Spell.

Luca Neveelk belied its poor start in the Melbourne Cup but still only got away on level terms at Ballarat. But it was impressive in getting to the lead on the home turn and winning nicely in 25.47.

However, the big story remains with Allen Deed. After being bumped out of the SHOOTOUT at Sandown it put in two awful runs on November 13 and 21 at the same track, recording sectionals of 5.24 and 5.31 to leave it at the rear of the field. Its running numbers were 68777 and 87776 which is a fair reflection of how it raced. It did not seem to be interested. Nor were stewards who made no comment at all.

Now, here we are six days later and Allen Deed bounces out from box 5, matches motors down the back and then runs away from them to win by over 6 lengths in very smart time. This is a dog we all know and love but how can you explain that? Punters would not be able to because they sent it out at a longish $9.70 in a race where it might once have been a hot favourite.

Such a massive reversal is something that stewards might normally look into. After all, that is their job. But not this time. Not a word, not a question, just as they failed to query the poor runs at Sandown. That amounts to an appalling disregard for the public interest, to say the least. Totally unacceptable.

There was another notable occurrence, curiously also in Allen Deed’s race. The NSW Win tote (assuming it is not a misprint) amounted to an unbelievable $33,893, some 70% higher than that in Victoria. The average pool in NSW in the other seven heats was a very modest $8,446, which is not unusual for Wednesday night meetings these days. Other bet types were all at normal levels so it was only the Win pool that was attacked.

There are only two possible sources for the extra cash; big professional punters trying to manipulate the market or bookies laying off. Allen Deed’s long-priced win may have dudded them both anyway. But what were they seeking? The two favourites, Scenic Shot and Beckenbauer, were both sent out at unders by my reckoning (also the Watchdog’s) and did not fire a shot. And, on form, they could not justify backing Allen Deed which was at about its right price.

More likely, one of the online bookies had taken one or more big bets and was trying to limit its liability. Either way, investing $20k or so is using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, particularly on what looked like an unpredictable greyhound race. I suspect a proper bookie would have just taken them on. GRV has just employed a betting expert so perhaps he will be able to sort something out?

On that note, let me confess that I have never taken well to the new Ballarat layout, at least for the 450m trip. Perhaps it is my imagination but far too many races are subject to excessive amounts of shuffling prior to and on the turn. Consequently, it is one of my least favourite betting options. Maybe others have more profitable ideas but they would have been flat out succeeding last night as only two of eight favourites won their heats. Three First Fours paid over $1,000 and another two over $500.

As for next week’s final, Luca Neveelk is going to be very hard to beat from the rails box, regardless of what Allen Deed does.

One In A Million

Given the Phil Hughes tragedy, it is interesting to note that the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has found that cricket ranks very low on the scale of injuries requiring hospital treatment. Easily the big leaders are AFL, both Rugby codes and Soccer which incur between 15 and 18 injuries per 100,000 people involved.

That comes from a 2011/12 survey conducted by Flinders University on behalf of the government.

Also of interest is that greyhound racing – based on figures from GRNSW – experiences injuries, mostly minor, to 2.8% of all starters. That’s not a big figure, considering the hell for leather nature of the sport.

But, back to the main game, half a lifetime of opening the batting and dodging thousands of bouncers – all in pre-helmet days – leads me to support Dean Jones view that helmeted batsmen have become far more adventurous in hooking short balls. And not as good at it – have there been any better than Ian Chappell or Keith Stackpole?

Presumably modern players no longer realise they are still at risk, never mind how good the helmet is. But, then, so is crossing the road.

Glenn Carlyle Fined For Heptaminol Positive

Offence:

GAR 83(2)(a): The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound nominated to compete in an event shall present the greyhound free of a prohibited substance.

Report:

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today conducted an Inquiry into the analyst’s findings in respect of urine samples taken from the greyhound KATES CRASH which competed at the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club on Sunday, 21 September 2014, and at the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club on Saturday 27 September 2014.

After taking evidence from the trainer of KATE’S CRASH, Mr Glenn Carlyle, Stewards issued two (2) charges against Mr Carlyle pursuant to Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83(2)(a), which reads:

The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound nominated to compete in an event shall present the greyhound free of a prohibited substance.

The specifics of the first charge were that on Sunday 21 September 2014, Glenn Carlyle, as the trainer of the registered greyhound KATE’S CRASH, did present that greyhound to compete in race 10 at the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club, when a urine sample taken from the greyhound prior to it competing in that race was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance ‘Heptaminol’.

The specifics of the second charge were that on Saturday 27 September 2014, Glenn Carlyle, as the trainer of the registered greyhound KATE’S CRASH, did present that greyhound to compete in race 5 at the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club, when a urine sample taken from the greyhound after competing in that race was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance ‘Heptaminol’.

Mr Carlyle pleaded guilty to both charges.

When assessing an appropriate penalty, Stewards took into account the personal circumstances of Mr Carlyle and his honest and forthright evidence that he provided to the inquiry. Stewards also had to consider that breaches of this nature have the capacity to impact the good image of the sport of greyhound racing. Subsequently, Mr Carlyle was fined $1500.00 for each offence.

Furthermore, under the provisions of Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83(4) KATE’S CRASH was disqualified from its 5th placing in race 10 at the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club on Sunday, 21 September 2014.

The placing’s from the 395m 5th grade held on 21 September 2014 were amended as follows:

1st SHIFTY’S LAST
2nd COUNTRY THUNDER
3rd NO CALLARATAH
4th BENSON BENZ

And the placing’s from the 431m 5th grade held on 27 September 2014 were amended as follows:

1st SHANIA SIND
2nd ISHIKAWA
3rd STARBURST LES
4th JUST LIKE TINA

Mr Carlyle was directed to return all prize money received from the aforementioned events to Racing Queensland.

Mr Carlyle was advised of his appeal rights.

Kevin Macintosh Fined For Naproxen Positive

Offence:

GAR 83 (2)(a): The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound nominated to compete in an event shall present the greyhound free of a prohibited substance.

Report:

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today conducted an Inquiry into the analyst’s findings in respect of a urine sample taken from the registered greyhound BLUE FONIC which competed at the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club on 27th September, 2014 in race 5.

After taking evidence from Mr Kevin Macintosh the trainer of BLUE FONIC, Stewards issued a charge against Mr Macintosh pursuant to Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83 (2)(a), which reads:

“The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound nominated to compete in an event shall present the greyhound free of a prohibited substance.”

The specifics of the charge were that on 27th September 2014, Kevin Macintosh, as the licensed trainer of the greyhound BLUE FONIC, did present that greyhound to compete in race 5 at the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club, when a urine sample taken from BLUE FONIC prior to the greyhound competing in that race was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance ‘Naproxen’.

Mr Macintosh pleaded guilty to the charge.

When considering an appropriate penalty Steward took into account Mr. Macintosh’s previously unblemished record, the honest and forthright evidence he provided to the inquiry and his involvement in the industry over a long period. Precedents for similar breaches were also taken into account. Stewards were also mindful of the negative effect charges of this kind have on the good image of the industry and recognise a need for a penalty to serve as a general deterrent. Stewards considered an appropriate penalty to be a fine of $1500.

Under the provisions of Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83 (4) BLUE FONIC was disqualified from its 1st placing in race 5 at the Bundaberg Greyhound Racing Club on 27th September 2014.

The placings from the 460m Grade 5 held on 27th September 2014 were amended as follows:

1st KELLY BENZ
2nd JUNIOR CHAVEZ
3rd FARMOR ICE
4th ELLIE POPPINS

Mr Macintosh was directed to return all prize money received from the aforementioned event to Racing Queensland.

Mr Macintosh was advised of his appeal rights.

Susan Absalom Disqualification Reduced

Offences:

GAR 14 (6): A person who on demand being made by a member of the Controlling Body pursuant to sub- rule (5) fails or refuses to furnish his correct name and address, shall be guilty of an offence.

GAR 86 (f) (iii): A person (including an official) shall be guilty of an 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 the Controlling Body, or a member of the Controlling Body.

Report:

Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) advises that the NSW Racing Appeals Tribunal has ruled on the appeal of registered attendant Ms Susan Absalom against penalties imposed by GRNSW stewards for breaches of GAR 14 (6) and GAR 86 (f) (iii) following an incident after the Richmond meeting on 7 May 2014. Ms Absalom had pleaded not guilty to the charges following an inquiry on 17 June 2014.

Ms Absalom appealed against the penalties imposed on her of a four month disqualification on each charge. The appeal hearing was conducted on 14 November 2014.

Upon an amended plea on the charge under GAR 14 (6) the tribunal altered the period of disqualification to a suspension of six weeks. The appeal on the charge under GAR 86 (f) (iii) was upheld on technical grounds.

The tribunal ruled that Ms Absalom’s appeal deposit be partly refunded.

ARG Opinion:

Without knowing specifics of the situation, it is hard to pass comment on the severity of the sentence originally handed down by Greyhound Racing New South Wales, although it does seem harsh to impose a four month disqualification when other cases of misconduct have simply resulted in fines. However, it is not the first time that Ms. Absalom has been involved in an inquiry. In 2012 she was at the centre of a racing integrity investigation after making comments at a Wentworth Park meeting towards members of GRNSW.

Dyna Villa Makes His Own Luck

Dyna Villa’s emphatic victory in last Fridays’s Melbourne Cup completed an extraordinary series of eight wins in succession at the Sandown track. Could there be another dog which has done that at any one track? Miata, of course, at Cannington, but any others?

There was another unusual coincidence on the night.

The big race was worth $600,000 to the lucky connections but Australian punters also invested almost the same amount on the race, split up 62% in Victoria, 27% in NSW and 11% on Tattsbet in its four states and territories – Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and the NT. That assumes that online betting figures (which are not published) were in the same proportions as TAB turnover. Win totes alone pulled in a total of $187,000 and the First Four $74,000. Figures may have been helped by crowds deserting the ODI cricket at the MCG in favour of the world’s richest greyhound race?

Perhaps you might shed a tear for connections and supporters (including this column) of second placegetter Chica Destacada as the luck did not run its way. The fact that Dyna Villa was able to lead clearly around the first turn was in part due to the unusual failure of Star Recall (6) and Luca Neveelk (7) to jump well and therefore get in the road. Both these normally good beginners were slow out, leaving buckets of space for Dyna Villa to wind up.

That said, Dyna Villa has improved its starts significantly over its past few runs, recording sections of 5.00 in its heat and 5.04 in the big one.

The second factor was that Chica Destacada got a slight prat from behind as it rounded the first turn, giving the Dyna Villa a bigger break into the back straight. However, Chica Destacada took a lot of ground off the winner on the way to the post. At the moment, 515m is about as far as Dyna Villa wants to go but it may well strengthen as it matures more – it is just 25 months old now.

But go back to the sectional times, which tell the above story in figures.

Runner Average Last 10 Cup Time Difference

Keybow

5.15

5.19

+0.04

Chica Destacada

5.08

5.09

+0.01

Above All

5.16

5.12

-0.04

Awesome Project

5.15

5.12

-0.03

Cosmic Wise

5.21

5.24

+0.03

Star Recall

5.09

5.28

+0.19

Luca Neveelk

5.03

5,16

-0.13

Dyna Villa

5.16

5.04

-0.12

 

(Dyna Villa’s average is affected by slower times in its earlier races at provincial tracks).

The other oddball comment came from the stewards, who claimed …

“Dyna Villa crossed to the rail approaching the first turn checking Keybow, Above All, Awesome Project and Luca Neveelk causing Cosmic Wise and Star Recall to race wide. Chica Destacada checked off Dyna Villa on the first turn”.

Wrong and wrong. This is terrible nonsense. For a start, Luca Neveelk came out poorly and was nowhere near Dyna Villa. The others were well away from Dyna Villa at all stages. Chica Destacada got a slight ankle tap from behind as they went around the first turn, by which time Dyna Villa was well clear.

Too Much, Too Far

The Bold Trease final over the long distance, worth another $100,000, went pretty much as everyone expected. Sweet It Is went well into the red for a while but ended up at a more sensible $2.10 or $2.30 as backing came for Space Star and Blinkers On (the apostrophe should be deleted – it’s incorrect English).

In the event, Sweet It Is jumped quite well, dropped back and then came again at the end as the others faded – and fade they did, at least where it counted. Compare the times.

Runner Heat Final Difference

Beks

41.99

42.23

+0.42

Zipping Maggie

42.03

42.19

+0.16

Sweet It Is

41.92

41.57

-0.35

Space Star

41.60

41.92

+0.32

Reap The Benefit

42.76

42.13

-0.63

Mystic Twist

42.02

42.26

+0.24

Coulta Rock

42.70

42.28

-0.42

Blinkers On

42.15

42.24

+0.09

 

Zipping Maggie and Space Star had every chance to improve their lot but had nothing left in the tank. Two successive distance races is too much for them, as they have demonstrated before. Blinkers On was sent out at big “unders” of $3.40 and never got in the race.

Sweet It Is looked spectacular as it gapped them in the home straight but it was doing nothing more than it normally does – coming home hard while the others were dropping off. En route, it had met with no real interference except for small hold ups of its own doing.

Once Again

Moving on to Saturday’s Race 6 at The Meadows, the steward’s fairytales continued.

“Kerrigan Bale crossed to the rail approaching the first turn checking Polly Bale, Allen Eryk and Lektra Outlaw”.

Never touched them. Kerrigan Bale speared out and led all the way. It checked nothing – the others made their own problems. What are these guys looking at?

Robert Hayes Suspended And Fined Following Positive Swab

Offences:

(1) Mr. Robert Hayes failed to present the greyhound Well Advertised free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club on Friday, 27 June 2014.

(2) Mr. Robert Hayes on or about Friday, 20 June 2014 did in relation to greyhound racing, administer to the greyhound Well Advertised the substance Testaprop, resulting in a swab irregularity at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting on Friday, 27 June 2014, in circumstances which were negligent, improper or constituted misconduct.

Report:

Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound Well Advertised at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Friday, 27 June 2014.

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

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

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (2)(3)(6)and GAR86 (o) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Thursday, 20 November 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.

Mr. Robert Hayes represented himself via telephone.

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

Mr. Robert Hayes pleaded guilty to the charges.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (2)(3)(6) and GAR86 (o), the RADB determined that:

(a) In relation to charge (1), Mr. Hayes was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 9 months (with 5 months of this penalty suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during the 12 month period), effective from Tuesday, 25 November 2014.

(b) In relation to charge (2), Mr. Hayes was fined $500 (wholly suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR86).

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified Well Advertised from Event 5 – The Bendigo Advertiser Ht1 Grade 5, Heat – at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Friday, 27 June 2014 and amended the placing’s accordingly.

In assessing the penalties, the Board took into account all the evidence and submissions, including the following matters:
(a) Mr. Hayes’s guilty plea;
(b) The nature of the prohibited substance 5Beta-Androstane-3alpha,17Beta-DIOL when present at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/mL;
(c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing field for all participants;
(d) Prior penalties for similar offences; and
(e) Mr. Hayes’s character and his clean history for more than 40 years’ in the greyhound industry.
(f) The need for general deterrence as a factor in sentencing and having regard to the number of similar offences coming before the Board.

ARG Opinion:

The clampdown on Testaprop etc Australia wide has been well publicised, but in this instance the penalty seems harsh. Although the fine is wholly suspended, it appears as though one positive swab has been used to create two separate offences. You would have thought that 40 years of history would help create a substantially lighter sentence, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.

Sebastian Gibilisco Fined For Threatening Official

Offence:

GAR 86 (g): Mr. Sebastian Gibilisco did threaten physical harm to Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club official Mr. Daniel Pell in the vicinity of the kennel area at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club on Wednesday, 27 August 2014.

Report:

Following an incident at the Bendigo Greyhound Club on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation.

During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Sebastian Gibilisco and Mr. Daniel Pell (Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club employee).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Gibilisco with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 86 (g) in that he did threaten physical harm to Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club official Mr. Daniel Pell in the vicinity of the kennel area at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club on Wednesday, 27 August 2014 and that he did ask Mr. Pell to ‘come into the car park, and I break your legs like you did my dog’.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR86 (g) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Thursday, 20 November 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. Sebastian Gibilisco represented himself.

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

Mr. Sebastian Gibilisco pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered the RADB determined that Mr. Gibilisco was guilty as charged fined him $1,000 (with $500 suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of rule GAR86).

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

(a) Mr. Gibiliscos’ guilty plea;

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

(c) Prior penalties for similar offences; and

(d) Mr. Gibiliscos’ character and his clean history of over 40 years in the greyhound
industry.

ARG Opinion:

While emotions can fly high at times within the sport of greyhound racing, there is no excuse for abusive language or actions. It is important for the integrity of the industry that it is not tolerated and punishing such behaviour is essential to preventing it.

Terry Mort Fined $2000 After Using Offensive Language

Report

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today inquired into the conduct of licensed trainer Mr Terry Mort, after being directed to present his greyhound Stealthy Dancer by Steward Mr Jimmy Bauer, to the Club’s Veterinarian for inspection at the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club on 24 October 2014 following the running of Race 6.

After reviewing the race day recording, in addition to evidence submitted by kennel attendant Renn Mears, handler Sean Soar and Stipendiary Stewards Cameron Ferguson and Jimmy Bauer and hearing further submissions from Mr Mort, Stewards issued a charge under Greyhounds Australasia Rule of Racing 86 (f)(i) which reads:

A person (including an official) shall be guilty of an 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 behavior in any manner or form towards, or in relation to a Steward.

The specifics of the charge being that Mr Mort, as the licensed trainer of Stealthy Dancer on Friday, 24 October 2014 following the running of Race 6 at the Ipswich Greyhound Club in the vicinity of the presentation area did, improperly conduct himself by using offensive language directed at Steward Mr Bauer, after being directed to present that greyhound to the Club’s Veterinarian for inspection.

Mr Mort pleaded guilty to the charge as issued.

In considering penalty, Stewards considered Mr Mort’s remorsefulness throughout the inquiry, his guilty plea and personal circumstances. Stewards were also mindful of penalty precedents for similar breaches of GAR 86(f)(i) and the detrimental effect serious breaches of the Rules, such as this, have on the racing industry which requires a significant penalty to act as an appropriate deterrent.

In all the circumstances Mr Mort was fined the sum of $1000.

A further fine of $1000 was imposed after Mr Mort breached a condition of a previous suspended penalty issued on 9 May 2014 relating to a conduct matter.

Mr Mort was advised of his appeal rights.

ARG Opinion

Although Terry Mort has prior offences relating to an altercation with Michael Campbell, this seems like an enormous fine for swearing at a steward. When you compare this fine to the fines awarded in high profile positive swab situations, it’s absurd. Swearing is apparently a worse offence than racing a dog with “help”.

Jason Magri Fined $1000 After “Misbehaving”

Report

Greyhound Racing NSW stewards have heard submissions from trainer Jason Magri on a charge of him having misbehaved before stewards during an inquiry following the final race at Richmond on 18 October 2014.

Mr Magri pleaded guilty to the charge under GAR 91 (c) and was subsequently fined $1,000, with $500 of that penalty suspended conditional on no repeat offence under the conduct rules for a period of 12 months.

Mr Magri was advised of his right of appeal.

ARG Opinion

It’s extremely hard to have an opinion when given no option to do so. What did Magri actually do? Who would know from this report? The fact the he pleaded guilty means that he did something wrong, but there needs to be far more transparency in the stewards reports.

Staying Bits And Pieces

In summation, comments about the habit of backing up dogs too quickly in staying races generally favour a ban on the practice. Some disagree, saying trainers know best or that past years contained dogs which could do it without a problem.

In reality, the evidence is not on the side of trainers “knowing best”. It reminds me of two stories. Once, after writing in another paper, a trainer was furious when I was critical of him racing a bitch on both Saturday and Monday, each over 720m at Wentworth Park (the racing dates were different then). He was cranky because he said he had stayed up all Saturday night massaging and caring for his dog to make sure it was in good nick. It failed the second time but the real point was that he would have no way of properly assessing the dog’s actual condition. Looks are one thing, the insides another.

And he missed the big point. Even if he knew, the dog’s fitness would still be a query in the minds of punters (and stewards), who should be the main priorities in these cases. After all, industry success rests on the public having confidence in trainers’ abilities and integrity.

The other example involved the practices of a veteran trainer in another state with a kennel of a dozen or so dogs, including one very smart and successful bitch. The good one never raced more than once a week. The others normally started at least twice a week, occasionally three times, nearly always running 6th, 7th and 8th. What was he seeking? Petrol money perhaps, but who knows?

As for old time dogs, I always remember a comment made by the late Bill Pearson. “They are not as robust as they used to be,” he said. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg as there have been major shifts in breeding patterns since then, obvious even to an amateur like me. The follow-up question to that is “what are we doing about it?” Is it a good thing? If not, what might happen to the breed if nothing is done? Runners fading at the end of staying races is just one illustration.

Are Dogs the same as Humans?

The Wanderers soccer club, recently Asian Champions, has yet to win a match in the A-League, following what The Australian called “their recent murderous travelling and playing schedule”.

AFL and NRL teams are notoriously unable to show their best after a short 5-day break.

Also from The Australian.

“Acupuncturist Ross Barr … describes the body as running off two batteries: a general, day-to-day one and a reserve battery powered by the kidneys. You can charge the first one with good food, rest, sleep and a healthy lifestyle. But if you’re feeling run-down and don’t manage to refuel, then you can slip into the reserve battery. This is your adrenal system, which takes more than a bowl of pasta and a good night’s sleep to recharge”.

Vets might be able to convert that language to dog talk.

And a Note about old time Sporting Clubs

Roy Masters in The Australian, talking about a former top player and administrator.

“When John Quayle was a footballer, Sydney rugby league clubs were ruled by committees, consisting of ex-players, shoe sellers and railwaymen whose knowledge of geography was confined to the location of the boardroom fridge. Each committee was headed by a secretary who did all the work, while the others talked about him, absolving themselves from decisions made, telling all those standing around the bar, “It’s got nothing to do with me.” There was always someone plotting to depose the coach, while another leaked stories to the press”.

That movie about the Collingwood football club comes to mind.

Youngsters of Note

In yesterday’s second grade (provincial) Sandown meeting all ten of the 515m races, including the maidens, were won in times below 30 sec. The best was 29.33 (Vapour Lee) which would have won five of the eight Melbourne Cup heats on the previous Thursday.

The future promises much.

Stewards Report, The Meadows, 15 November

Race 7
“Dyna Synch (7) crossed to the rail approaching the first turn checking Polly Bale (6)”.

No – never touched. Dyna Sync actually moved a little to the right at the jump, leaving plenty of room for Polly Bale to do as it wished.

Race 8
“Dyna Geldof (8) crossed to the rail approaching the first turn checking Jordan Allen (7), Quantum Bale (6) and Maximum Lil (5)”.

Gross exaggeration. Jordan Allen was actually bearing left at the start, hampering Quantum Bale, but still led Dyna Geldof in the run to the post so the latter could not have “crossed” it. Dyna Geldof overtook it only going around the turn. (Strange price, though. Dyna Geldof was always likely to lead so 33/1 was big overs. On the other hand, $1.30 for Size Does Matter was ridiculously short given that it was never likely to lead. Who did all that?).

This looks like more guesswork from the stewards as they watch from behind the boxes – not a good viewing spot.

Bold Trease Post Mortem

On Wednesday I made a few comments about the possibilities in the four Bold Trease heats at Sandown. Primarily, I was concerned that many starters were backing up too quickly from previous runs. “Of the 32 dogs drawn, 20 have raced in the last 8 days, 11 of those raced only 5 days ago. The other 12 last raced 10 or more days ago. The lucky finalists, if you can use that term, will have to do it again in another seven days”.

Since I have had the odd request for selections for staying races, I also wrote, somewhat reluctantly, “As for tips? No chance – too many imponderables and too many ordinary performers”.

A reader took me to task about this, claiming I was wimping out and offering some very firm ideas about how the races would be run. In fact, he got every race wrong.

The four winners started at $6.10, $6.00, $11.90 and $20.30 in NSW, much the same in Victoria. Every favourite went down. First Four dividends were $1,492, $462, $1,371 and $3,139 (an estimate as it jackpotted), which means almost nobody got them. “Imponderable” would be a conservative description of all that.

For those winners, the breaks between this race and their previous runs were 10, 25, 12 and 7 days respectively. Of the 11 dogs which had only a 5 day break, none race a place.

Mystic Twist won the final heat, despite doing poorly over the previous month. It got a huge break in running and just managed to hold on, although it did run fair time (42.07). There is nothing like leading on your own. Coulta Rock scored in terrible time (42.75) in its second attempt at the long trip after also failing in its first. Space Star, fresh as a daisy, did really well to run around them, take the lead at the judge and finish in a smart 41.65. Its previous distance form, all at Wentworth Park, had been erratic, winning two from six. Beks did what it usually does, slow out and catching the leader on the line in a solid 42.04.

Sweet It Is also did its usual thing, jumping nicely but dropping back and then trying to bump its way through the field. It did not quite work. Starting at long odds-on, supporters will now have blown their bank over the last few months, notwithstanding some good wins. Never take less than even money about this bitch! It’s honest and strong but not the best field dog.

Flying Twist, a warm second favourite to Sweet It Is, led easily to the judge the first time and then gave it away. It plodded on for fourth, 11 lengths back. It had raced only 5 days earlier.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning the experienced Galloping Rocky which led by half the length of the straight but compounded and missed a place. It also had raced only 5 days before.

All the arguments and excuses in the world will make no difference to the basic fact that the vast majority of dogs cannot show their best if asked to run two distance races in successive weeks. Their bodies are not made to do that. Next week, Space Star will likely go out as equal favourite with Sweet It is in the final but, at the price, I would not back them with monopoly money.

Cup Heats

Every heat winner, bar one, jumped straight the front and stayed there. That’s not unusual in better class races. Many are capable of running good time, but few are able to run down a leader doing the same thing. The exception was Keybow, third at the first turn but then proving far too strong for the others in the run home.

Chica Destacada is always interesting. Once she leads she is tigerish in holding on to that lead. The same thing happened at Cannington in the Nationals. You think she is gone but she still keeps going. Not a come-from-behind racer, though.

WA look to be a big chance as Star Recall got away well after bombing the start a week earlier. The final might be between these two, always depending on how they jump as both have ordinary boxes. It is hard to see the heavy hitters catching them in those circumstances.

The big disappointment was Allen Deed. He raced like a tired dog so perhaps a spell is indicated.

Readers’ Comments

Not all logical this week.

Bend starts are kinder than straightaway runs from the 500 boxes? Not according to all the stats. Interference is higher on the bends. I have previously offered three pages of long term data on this subject – free to download for all readers. Email hcoast@outlook.com.

As for the suggestion that a 500m trip poses more problems than bend starts – not really but first check whether the turn is well designed. Most are not. Then go to Hobart, Devonport, Mandurah and Northam and compare their low interference levels with all the important tracks in the major states.

42.58 is not too bad at The Meadows? Well, the average of the last 200 runs there is 42.94 so it is five lengths better than that. However, the record is 42.03 (Nellie Noodles) and it is a long way short of that. However, perhaps I was a bit severe.

Miata was not under consideration for my item about consistency as it addressed current racers only.

Trainers know best how to handle their dogs? Normally I would have to accept that – indeed, we have no alternative. However, in respect to the placement of stayers the facts show that either (1) they are kidding us or (2) they do not know how to place them to best advantage. The tight backing-up syndrome has become normal in recent times but is almost never to the advantage of the dog. That’s not an opinion but the result of analysis of many dozens of dog careers (several mentioned in these columns). It is also the view of many vets – I quoted Dr John Kohnke recently, for example. Other vets have pointed out that the normal dog needs 5 to 7 days to replenish it petrol tank, even after sprint races. Should any trainer be doing before and after full blood tests it would be interesting to hear the results.

As to whether I am entitled to mention some facts, offer opinions and ask questions – together with a couple of million other folk, I pay your wages, mate. I am also helped by visiting and studying in detail some 40 tracks in four states over the last five or six years, and analysing in depth performances at those and many other tracks. Anyway, we should all have one major objective – to make greyhound racing better.

Stewards Report, Race 3, Sandown

“Galloping Rocky crossed to the rail on the first turn checking Reap The Benefit, Mepunga Tiara, Coulta Rock, Double Rinse, Big Kat and Shall She Rock”.

Really? Galloping Rocky, never a railer, began well to lead easily around the first turn. He did not noticeably come in contact with any other runner, let alone six of them. Once again, this suggests stewards are commenting from behind the boxes where they get a distorted view of which does what. In fact, all those other dogs made their own problems as they battled for supremacy while going into the turn.

Todd Kelly Disqualified And Fined For Androstane Positives

Report:

Mr. Todd Kelly was informed that the greyhounds MAGNUM MCBAIN and AHA MCBAIN had shown the presence of 5β-ANDROSTANE-3α, 17β-DIOL from the urine samples taken at the Greyhound Racing SA race meeting held at Gawler on Tuesday 29th July 2014 and Sunday 14 September 2014, and that he would be advised of the date, time and place of an inquiry.

The reserve portions of the urine samples were tested and the presence of 5β-ANDROSTANE- 3α, 17β-DIOL was confirmed.

Mr. Kelly was advised of the analyst’s results and attended an inquiry at the offices of Greyhound Racing SA on Tuesday 11th November 2014 at 10.30am, into the circumstances relating to the obtaining of the positive urine samples.

After taking evidence from Mr. Paul Zahra (Scientific Manager) and Mr. Kelly stewards were of the opinion that there was sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Kelly with two (2) breaches of the GRSA Rules Of Greyhound Racing R83 in that he produced the greyhounds MAGNUM MCBAIN and AHA MCBAIN for racing at the Greyhound Racing SA race meeting held at Gawler on Tuesday 29th July 2014 and Sunday 14 September 2014 and the greyhounds were found to have the prohibited substance 5β-ANDROSTANE-3α, 17β-DIOL in their urine at a mass concentration greater than 20ng/mL.

The greyhounds MAGNUM MCBAIN and AHA MCBAIN were swabbed after competing, and were found to have the drug 5β-ANDROSTANE-3α, 17β-DIOL in their urine.

R83 Racing greyhound to be free of prohibited substances (2) The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound-

(a) nominated to compete in an Event;

(b) presented for a satisfactory, weight or whelping trial or such other trial as provided for pursuant to these Rules; or

(c) presented for any test or examination for the purpose of a period of incapacitation or prohibition being varied or revoked shall present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance.

(3) The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound presented contrary to sub-rule (2) shall be guilty of an offence.

(4) A greyhound presented for an Event contrary to sub-rule (1) or (2) shall be disqualified from the Event or any benefit derived from a trial or test.

(6) Testosterone as evidenced by the presence of 5b-androstane-3a,17b-diol at or below a concentration of 10 nanograms per millilitre in a sample of urine taken from a bitch will not breach the provisions of sub rule (2) of this rule.

Mr. Kelly pleaded guilty to the charges and was disqualified for a period of 7 months on each charge with 3 months suspended for 12 months pending no further breach of GAR 83. Furthermore stewards substituted one month for a $1,000 fine.

In total Mr Kelly was disqualified for a period of 6 months and fined $2,000. Such penalty to commence from midnight Friday 21 November 2014.

Ronald Murch To Face Inquiry Over Caffeine Positive

Report:

On 17th October 2014 Mr Ronald Murch was informed that the greyhound ALL BLACK JACK had shown the presence of CAFFEINE and its metabolites THEOPHYLLINE, PARAXANTHINE and THEOBROMINE from the urine sample taken at the Greyhound Racing SA race meeting held at Gawler on Tuesday 23rd September 2014, and that he would be advised of the date, time and place of an inquiry.

The reserve portion of the urine sample was tested and the presence of CAFFEINE and its metabolites THEOPHYLLINE, PARAXANTHINE and THEOBROMINE was confirmed.

Mr. Murch is now required to be available for a steward’s inquiry on Tuesday 2nd December 2014 at 10.00am, together with any witnesses that may assist for an inquiry by the Stewards into the circumstances relating to the obtaining of the positive urine sample.

As a result of this inquiry charges may be laid pursuant to GRSA Rules of Greyhound Racing.

He was further advised that if he does not attend this inquiry it may be held in his absence and charges may be laid pursuant to GRSA Rules of Greyhound Racing.

ARG Opinion:

The race in question saw ALL BLACK JACK start as the $2.40 favourite from box four. It was the greyhounds second win in a row, having won over the track and distance the week prior. The greyhound has won one race from six starts since that race.

John Barbara Disqualified For Positive Androstane Swab

Offences:

GAR 83 (2)(3) and (6): Mr. John Barbara failed to present the greyhound ‘Bingo Theory’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club on Wednesday, 25 June 2014.

Report:

Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound ‘Bingo Theory’ at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 25 June 2014.

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

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Barbara with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2)(3) and (6) in that he did fail to present the greyhound ‘Bingo Theory’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 given that the post-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance 5β-Androstane-3α, 17β-Diol at a mass concentration greater than 10ng/mL.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (2)(3) and (6) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 10 November 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 Barbara was represented by Mr. Brendan Smith.

Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) represented the Stewards Panel. Mr. John Barbara pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83(6), the RADB determined that Mr. Barbara was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 9 months (with 6 months of this penalty suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 occurred during the 12 month period), effective from Friday, 14 November 2014.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Bingo Theory’ from Event 1 – The Barbeques Galore Bendigo All Maiden – at the Bendigo Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Friday, 25 June 2014 and amended the placings as follows:

1st Tappo Osteria
2nd Demolition Guy
3rd Le Luca
4th Fawn Montoya
5th Ella Jordan
6th Ryan Brook
7th My Daniel Boy
Disqualified Bingo Theory

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

(a) Mr. Barbara’s guilty plea including his evidence and greyhound related commercial activities;

(b) The nature of the prohibited substance Androstane;

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

(d) Prior penalties for similar offences;

(e) Mr. Barbara’s character and his clean history in the greyhound industry.

Susan Dalton Fined For Positive Procaine Swab

Offence:

GAR 83 (2)(3): Mrs. Susan Dalton failed to present the greyhound ‘Breaking News’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at The Meadows on Wednesday, 6 August 2014.

Report:

Following advice from the Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound ‘Breaking News’ at The Meadows meeting held on Wednesday, 6 August 2014.

During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mrs. Susan Dalton, Ms. Naomi Salvadurai (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Greyhound Racing Industry Veterinary Officer).

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mrs. Dalton with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that she did fail to present the greyhound ‘Breaking News’ free of any prohibited substance for an event at The Meadows meeting held on Wednesday, 6 August 2014 given that the pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance ‘Procaine’.

Under Rule 47.1 of the Greyhound Racing Victoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (2) and (3) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Monday, 10 November 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.

Mrs. Susan Dalton was represented by Mr. Colin Dalton.

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

Mrs. Susan Dalton pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered, the RADB determined that Mrs. Dalton was guilty as charged and fined her $500.

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

(a) Mrs. Dalton’s guilty plea;

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

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

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

(e) Mrs. Dalton’s character and her clean history in the greyhound industry.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified ‘Breaking News’ from Event 5 – The Hudson Pacific Ht3 – Grade 5 – Non Penalty Heat at The Meadows meeting held on Wednesday, 6 August 2014 and amended the placing’s as follows:

1st Allen Wake
2nd Dyna Perseus
3rd Acola Rosebud
4th Zipping Basil
5th Wattle Grove
6th Ardekay
7th Road Ace
Disqualified Breaking News

Gallaway And Edwards Fined For Relocating Pups

Offences:

GAR 136 (3):

Except with the prior consent of the Controlling Body, a litter of pups shall not be divided or relocated from the address of whelping until such time as they have been ear branded and microchipped.

LR 24(2)(c,j):
A person shall not (c) rear a greyhound, or (j) breed with any greyhound bitch unless the person is the holder of a current appropriate licence issued by Racing Queensland.

Report:

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today inquired into the breeding and subsequent relocation of a litter of pups by Ms Leonie Gallaway and Mr Denys Edwards without the prior consent of Racing Queensland.
After taking evidence from  Ms Gallaway , Stewards issued charges against Ms Gallaway pursuant to Greyhounds Australasia Rule (GAR) 136(3) and Racing Queensland Local Rules (LR) 24(2)(c,j).
 
The specifics of the charges being that, Leonie Gallaway did relocate Litter 47902 PINK JEANES x COLLISION from the whelping address in Queensland to an interstate address without prior consent from Racing Queensland.  Further, at the time of breeding the bitch PINK JEANES to COLLISION, Ms Gallaway was not licensed by Racing Queensland to act as a breeder.
Ms Gallaway pleaded guilty to both charges.
In assessing penalty, Stewards took into consideration the following points:
·         Ms Gallaway’s previously unblemished history in matters of this nature
·         Ms Gallaway’s personal circumstances
·         Ms Gallaway’s forthright evidence and co-operation during the course of the inquiry
Subsequently Ms Gallaway was fined the sum of $100 in respect of the first charge, and the sum of $100 in respect of the second charge.
Ms Gallaway was advised of her appeal rights.
After taking evidence from Mr Denys Edwards, Stewards issued a charge against Mr Edwards pursuant to Greyhounds Australasia Rule 136(3).
The specifics of the charge being that, Denys Edwards did relocate Litter 47902 PINK JEANES x COLLISION from the whelping address, without prior consent from Racing Queensland

Mr Edwards pleaded guilty to the charge.
In assessing penalty, Stewards took into consideration the following points:
·         Mr Edwards’s previously unblemished history in matters of this nature
·         Mr Edwards’s personal circumstances
·         Mr Edwards’s forthright evidence and co-operation during the course of the inquiry
Subsequently Mr Edwards was fined the sum of $100.
Mr Edwards was advised of his appeal rights.
 

 

More Incentive For Premier Baird

The company police are pressing ahead.

Current speeches by Rod Sims, chief of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, call into question the spate of state government decisions distorting the market. The Australian today offered examples where scrutiny was insufficient to stop poorly priced sales of port facilities at Port Kembla and Botany and also giving the Macquarie Airport people right of first refusal to operate a second airport “for no good reason” (except a bigger buyout price at the outset).

They might also have mentioned the sale of the state owned TAB with accompanying conditions that prevented oncourse bookmakers (which was all we had at the time) from competing on equal terms. The Treasury did better in the short term but consumers got the worst end of the stick. That 15 year agreement has since been renewed but now it has to work in an environment where things have got out of hand.

The irony is that the declining turnover now going through TABs is costing both government and raceclubs hard cash. Online operators and Betfair occupy an increasing share of the market but pay smaller commissions than TABs and the states have relatively little control over either. Consequently, both revenue and taxes per dollar bet are going down. On top of that, the newcomers have served to split the pie up into smaller pieces. That makes betting pools less attractive and so the cycle continues.

It’s taken 17 years but the chickens have come home to roost. This should serve as a salutary reminder to the current Premier, Treasurer and Racing Minister that a genuinely competitive field will make that pie bigger, giving everyone more to play with. It has another opportunity now to reduce tax levels to those applying in adjacent states. Failure to act can only ensure a continuing decline in income and more diversions to other states.

Passing Comments from the Stewards – Sandown 6 November.

Race 5
“Jayney Bale, Access and Dyna Villa collided soon after the start. Speed Series checked off Access soon after the start. Access and Dyna Villa collided approaching the first turn. Access checked off Dyna VIlla approaching the first turn. Joey Veldez and Access collided on the first turn, checking Joey Valdez, Access, Speed Series and Hawk Alone”.

All of which misses the point that most of the interference was caused by Jayney Bale (3) moving sharply to the right after the jump.

Race 9
“Veyron Bale (4) crossed to the rail soon after the start, checking Scenic Shot (6), Weston East (5), Veyron Bale (?) and severely checking Cosmic Angel (2) and Crackerjack Rose (3); which both stumbled”.

Veyron Bale did none of this. It actually went straight after a poor jump until elbowed by Scenic Shot after they passed the post. All the damage was caused by Dyna Ostrander (7) crashing towards the rail, thereby leaving lashings of room for the winner, Secret Spell (8), to run around to the lead.

Race 12
“Dream It (8) crossed to the inside soon after the start, checking Tyra Giselle (6)”.

Dream It checked nothing and did not reach the “inside” until well round the turn. After the start, Tyra Giselle was edging to the rail anyway and lacked the pace to move up.

Note: Sandown’s first turn has an annoying habit of causing runners to move out suddenly between the post and the early part of the turn. As a result the hittee often gets blamed instead of the hitter. The track has long needed remodelling – since 1998 actually, when it was completely rebuilt.

This was the precise reason for Awesome Project and Allen Deed being put out of play in the SHOOTOUT. Oakvale Destiny from box 1 moved out at the magic spot. Anyway, as suggested here previously, even without the knock, Allen Deed would have had a huge job to pull in a leader running 29.27. Odds on, look on.

We Still Don’t Understand

I may be missing something here. If you study Race 12 at The Meadows on Wednesday, Lobo Loco (2), the $1.40 favourite, rocketed out of the boxes to lead comfortably into the back. It then eased, turned its head sharply to the right and snapped at another runner. By the time it got going again it was a distant 5th. It then poured on the pressure to gain 2nd spot on the home turn and then easily ran down the new leader to win going away in a pedestrian 31.08. Rarely do dogs go as slowly as that in any race. The next slowest on this program was 30.49.

What next? According to the stewards, “It was reported that the greyhound sustained injuries to the left shoulder and left monkey muscle, a 10 day stand down period was imposed”. Well it’s not for us to argue with the vet but how could an injured dog make up something like 12 to 15 lengths in the space of 200m or so? Obviously the opposition was not strong but it is still extraordinary, injured or not.

Then it got stranger. “Stewards charged Lobo Loco with failing to pursue the lure with due commitment (by reason of injury)”. That poses three more questions. Did the injury occur immediately prior to the head-turning? What constitutes fighting? And how could a supposedly injured dog go like a bolt of lightning for the last half of the race?

These days, the definition of “fighting” is apparently in the eye of the beholder. Once it involved turning the head and making contact with another runner. Alternatively, failing that contact, it could be penalised for failing to chase. Either way, it meant a month on the sidelines – no ifs or buts.

An injury is always an argument for the defense, of course, but the prosecution would then insist on an explanation for the brilliant finish over the last 200m – an impossible one to counter, surely.

This time, all it got was a requirement to trial satisfactorily. Hard to work out, isn’t it?

In any event, given the disruption, it adds weight to the need to alter the rules so that fighters are disqualified, not suspended or just rapped over the knuckles. In which case, they would also lose prize money which they are not entitled to. For comparable offences, that’s what would happen in thoroughbred and harness racing. Failure to adopt such a policy means that victims are penalised. In this case, whatever your definitions, the “fighter” clearly interfered with other dogs but got away with it.

Fame Spreads

It’s long been fashionable to name greyhounds after footballers, mostly AFL and NRL types. But now the practice has gone international with 109kg Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, getting his name in the racebook. His namesake picked up a nice win over 699m at Cranbourne this week. So did the Steelers on the weekend (replays on Channel Seven-Two Monday mornings). Previously, Roethlisberger has been an MVP in the Super Bowl.

A Sad But Timely Warning

There used to be a time long ago when horses failing, or even doing well, in the Melbourne Cup were never much good any more. The tough 3200m was too much, especially for the majority which had no experience over the trip. Those days are no more, with trainers and jockeys obviously better attuned to their horses’ capabilities and the sort of preparation they need. Yet still, many are struggling by the time they hit the home straight, and some break down.

Even so, the tragic aftermath of this year’s Cup will have shocked everybody. We don’t know the reason for Admire Rakti’s demise and it may have to be put down to one of those unpredictable events which could happen to any athlete – horse, greyhound or human. Nevertheless, it is a sober reminder that all have physical limits which can be approached or exceeded only at the runner’s peril.

The symptom is even more obvious in a greyhound where the chasing gene is sometimes too strong for its own constitution and it continues on past its apparent deadline, drawing on reserves which were not meant to be used up that way.

One spectacular incident occurred at Albion Park in the 2002 National Distance Championship when Boomeroo, well-conditioned and not over-raced, broke the track record (41.61) but then had to be put on a drip for days after the win, hovering between life and death. It was never the same again.

Not quite so dramatic are the repeated examples of stayers fading when backing up within seven days of a gutbuster. None has been clearer than in the career of our greatest ever stake winner, Xylia Allen, which continually faded the second time up over the long trips yet has been asked again and again to repeat the effort.

In April it broke the Wentworth Park record then faded a week later in the final.

In May it broke the Traralgon record then faded at Sandown a week later.

In June at Albion Park it ran 41.55, 41.71 and 42.07 in successive weeks.

In July at Sandown it ran 41.70 then 41.90 a week later.

In September at Wentworth Park it ran 41.76 then 42.11 the next week.

Following that heavy program, it failed miserably over 515m at Sandown on October 9, then ran a poor 6th in 34.94 over 600m on October 25 at The Meadows, where it hold the track record. Each time it was a hot favourite but looked like it wanted to be somewhere else, rather than chasing the elusive $1 million prize money target. Despite all the evidence, stewards asked no questions and demanded no veterinary checks.

A natural stayer like Sweet It Is might be able to get away with this, perhaps because it takes its time for the first half of the race and only after that does it put its paw on the pedal. Xylia Allen is a leader, probably best suited to middle distance racing, but still goes flat out for the entire trip. Sometimes, that’s too much.

All this can’t be doing the dogs much good but it is just as bad for punters who can have little idea of how some of these dogs will perform when backing up. That contravenes every principle of racing as we know it. It’s time to change the rules.

A DEAD SHOT

Since readers wanted to hear my thoughts before the race, not after (I offered both for the TOPGUN), here is how the SHOOTOUT might be run.

Thursday’s race at Sandown, in sharp contrast to the TOPGUN, boasts four inform racers but no really flash beginners. All three have recently run around 29.40 or the equivalent. At different times three of them have run a fraction faster, while Iva Vision has had just the one run at the track.

I love Allen Deed and he may be marginally the best dog in the race. But he will need luck to win this. He will be no better than 3rd early and will have to run around them. Not impossible but difficult. Its current odds-on price is ridiculous.

Iva Vision will not be far behind early and is suitably boxed. Again, it too has to run around the others to win. If Awesome Project jumps it is hard to see how it can run it down.

Awesome Project is a bit up and down at the jump but at its best should be able to sneak to the front.

Oakvale Destiny will have to rely on collisions to get through. It’s honest and finishes well but may be a notch below in class.

In top class races like this one, it’s rare to see leaders run down. The odds are with Awesome Project.

So there you go. The jump will tell.

TRUTH BEATS FICTION

Another terrific win in the Hume Cup on Monday by My Bro Fabio. As I have written before, this is a really classy dog.

But what was the scribe at GRV on about when he wrote “only greyhounds of the highest order” do this – that is, winning by 14 lengths? He likened the dog to “former greats Miata, El Grand Senor and Brett Lee (which) spring to mind as greyhounds capable of such dominance at this level, but they are few and far between”.

My Bro Fabio’s 34.29 was five lengths outside Xylia Allen’s record, mostly because it began last but fluked a rails run to lead at the judge the first time. It then scooted away while the second dog busted a hock and the remainder pushed, shoved and scrambled around, losing ground all the way. Every dog in the race is capable of 34.20 to 34.60 but the actual second placegetter ran 35.20, a time usually bettered by Maidens and Novices.

The record book will show My Bro Fabio’s running numbers as 1111. In reality, it was 8111. And the 14 length margin was rubbish and should be ignored, together with the form of the remaining six runners.

Anyway, when will someone grasp the nettle and construct a decent start for 600m races? This one is a disgrace.

Zelemar Fever Unable To Race Pending Inquiry After Positive Swab

RWWA Stewards have been advised by the ChemCentre in Perth, that the presence of 5β–androstane-3α, 17β–diol (metabolite of Testosterone), at a concentration of greater than 10ng/ml, has been detected in the following samples obtained from Zelemar Fever:

A post race urine sample after winning Race 5, the Tabtouch W.A. Sprint Championship Final at Cannington on 16 August 2014.

A post race urine sample after placing third in Race 8 the Tabtouch National Sprint Championship Final at Cannington on 23 August 2014.

These findings of both ChemCentre reports have been verified by the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) in NSW.

Accordingly the Stewards will inquire into these reports and the Trainer of Zelemar Fever, Ms Linda Britton has been requested to attend the inquiry, which will be held in the RWWA Stewards Room at Ascot Racecourse on a date to be confirmed.

Pursuant to provisions of GAR92(5)(a), Zelemar Fever is not permitted to compete in or be nominated for any event until such time as the inquiry is concluded.

ARG Opinion:
There must be a faster way of getting these swabs tested. It is now late October and these samples were taken in August. Two months isn’t fair on any participants; the Britton camp, Zelemar Fever’s connections and those that they are racing against. Zelemar Fever raced a further three times in between the tests and the results being determined.

30th August – 3rd at Cannington.
6th September – 5th at Cannington.
20th September – 7th at Cannington.

If Zelemar Fever is stripped of third placing in the National Sprint Final, then Crackerjak Dak will be elevated to third position and $10,625 will jump into the pockets of connections.

Noel And Laura Hastie Fined And Warned After Unlicensed Breeding

Offences:

GAR 127(1):
A greyhound shall not be used as a sire unless registered as a sire.

LR 24(2)(e):
A person shall not act as a stud master unless the person is the holder of a current appropriate license issued by Racing Queensland.

LR 24(2)(j) reads:
A person shall not breed with any greyhound bitch unless the person is the holder of a current appropriate license issued by Racing Queensland.

Report:

Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today inquired into circumstances surrounding the mating of the greyhounds BY THE CAMPFIRE and COCO AGOGO which took place on 19 September 2014.

After taking evidence from licensed trainer Mr Noel Hastie, Stewards issued charges against Mr Hastie pursuant to Greyhounds Australasia Rule (GAR) 127(1) and Racing Queensland Local Rules (LR) 24(2)(e).

The specifics of the charges being that on 19 September 2014, Noel Hastie did use the dog BY THE CAMPFIRE as a sire to cover the bitch COCO AGOGO when BY THE CAMPFIRE was not registered as a sire.  Further, at the time of the said mating, Noel Hastie was not licensed by Racing Queensland to act as a stud master.

Mr Hastie pleaded guilty to both charges.

In assessing penalty, Stewards took into consideration the following points:

*Mr Hastie’s contribution to the industry spanning 40 years
*Mr Hastie’s personal circumstances
*Mr Hastie’s previously unblemished record in matters of this nature
*Mr Hastie’s forthright evidence and co-operation during the course of the inquiry

Subsequently Mr Hastie was fined the sum of $250 in respect of the first charge, and the sum of $100 in respect of the second charge.

Mr Hastie was advised of his appeal rights.

Stewards noted that Mr Hastie has now complied with Racing Queensland requirements and has registered BY THE CAMPFIRE as a sire and has obtained the appropriate license to act as a stud master.

After taking evidence from licensed trainer Ms Laura Hastie, Stewards issued a charge against Ms. Hastie pursuant to Racing Queensland Local Rule (LR) 24(2)(j).

The specifics of the charge being that on 19 September 2014, Laura Hastie did breed with the bitch COCO AGOGO to the dog BY THE CAMPFIRE when, at the time of the said breeding, Laura Hastie was not licensed by Racing Queensland to act as a breeder.

Ms Hastie pleaded guilty to the charge.

In assessing penalty, Stewards took into consideration the following points:

*Ms Hastie’s contribution to the industry spanning 40 years
*Ms Hastie’s personal circumstances
*Ms Hastie’s previously unblemished record in matters of this nature
*Ms Hastie’s forthright evidence and co-operation during the course of the inquiry

Subsequently Ms Hastie was issued with a warning and a directive to ensure that the appropriate license application to act as a breeder reaches the Senior Registrar at Racing Queensland no later than Monday 3 November 2014.

Peter Mullen Fined $1,250 For Positive Swab

Offence Charged:
Mr. Peter Mullen failed to present the greyhound Betty Armagh free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club on Sunday, 29 June 2014.

Report:
Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of Greyhound Racing Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound Betty Armagh at the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 29 June 2014.

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

After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Peter Mullen with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound Betty Armagh free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club meeting held on Sunday, 29 June 2014 given that the pre-race urine sample taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Guaifenesin.

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, 28 October 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. Peter Mullen represented himself at the hearing.

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

Mr. Peter Mullen pleaded guilty to the charge.

After hearing all the evidence tendered, the RADB determined that Mr. Peter Mullen was guilty as charged and fined him $1,250.

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

(a) Mr. Mullen’s guilty plea;
(b) The nature of the prohibited substance Guaifenesin;
(c) The need to maintain the integrity of greyhound racing and ensure a level playing field for all participants;
(d) Prior penalties for similar category 1 prohibited substance offences;
(e) Mr. Mullen’s prior conviction for an offence under the same rules.

The RADB noted that this conviction constituted a breach of the terms of a suspended period of disqualification given by the RADB on 17 October 2013 and accordingly the three month suspended period of that conviction is to commence immediately.

Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified Betty Armagh from Event 7 – Backmans Greyhound Supplies – Grade 5 – at the Healesville Greyhound Racing Club meeting held Sunday, 29 June 2014 and amended the placings accordingly.

ARG Information:
Guaifenesin is a cough tablet for dogs that contains the active ingredients guaifenesin and dextromethorphan hydrobromide. These work together to help relieve cough symptoms.

Norman Rilen Fined $750 For Failing To Present Greyhound

Offence:

GAR 23 (7): Failed to present the greyhound ‘Nelirian’ for its engagement in event 6 at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting on Wednesday, 3 September 2014.

Report:

The GRV RADB received an Appeal lodged by Mr. Norman Rilen against a decision handed down by the Greyhound Racing Victoria Stewards at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting on Wednesday, 3 September 2014.

The Stewards determined, under the provisions of Greyhounds Australasia Rule 23(7), that Mr. Norman Rilen failed to present the greyhound ‘Nelirian’ (‘the dog’) for its engagement in event 6 at the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club meeting on Wednesday, 3 September 2014 and subsequently fined him $400 as the greyhound had been withdrawn after the Box Draw for no acceptable reason.

Mr. Norman Rilen appeared via telephone and addressed the material in the Stewards brief and also his letter to the RADB dated 27 October 2014. The RADB noted Mr. Rilen’s most difficult personal circumstances which prevented his personal attendance which ordinarily is required by the RADB particularly in Appeal matters.

Mr. Carl Scott (GRV Steward) represented the Stewards at the RADB hearing.

After hearing all the material tendered by Mr. Scott and discussion with Mr. Rilen the RADB determined to dismiss the Appeal. Further, pursuant to Section 83O (2) (b) of the Racing Act the penalty imposed by the Stewards was increased to $750.

This decision was taken as Mr. Rilen had attempted to subvert the process following nomination by asserting a unilateral right to withdraw the dog after the Box Draw for a reason found to be unacceptable.

Mr Rilen had conflated his dissatisfaction with a grading issue and the withdrawal of his dog. The RADB considered that the penalty imposed by the stewards did not take sufficient regard to the need for general deterrence and denunciation. The RADB considered that GAR 23 requires strict compliance by all participants.

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