WE are pleased to announce the launch of the GOBATA Grass Roots Non-BAGS Intertrack competition which will be sponsored by Primus Telecommuications with an additional £4000 of prize money coming from GOBATA. Conditions of the event have been drawn up by GOBATA committee members Dave Smith, Terry Saunders and Chris Page.

There will be two separate Intertrack competitions: one in the North, engaging Pelaw Grange, Shawfield and Doncaster, and the other in the South involving Mildenhall, Harlow and Henlow. Peterborough was also invited to take part but declined.
 
 
GOBATA’S first annual general meeting took place at Towcester Racecourse on Sunday with the kind permission of the Towcester executive. The meeting was attended by a wide spectrum of practitioners, some of whom had made long journeys to be present, and while the turnout was not huge, what it lacked in quantity was more than compensated by quality. 

This was an opportunity for members to sample first-hand the facilities at Towcester and it is fair to say that everyone was most impressed at the prospect of greyhound racing at the venue. 
 
 
INVITATIONS have gone out to seven non-BAGS tracks to participate in a North/South intertrack round robin competition for graded dogs exclusively. 

The GOBATA Grass Roots event is open to runners from Pelaw Grange, Shawfield and Doncaster from the north while Harlow, Henlow, Peterborough and Mildenhall have been invited to represent the south.

There will be enhanced prizemoney throughout the competition, running from April through to May, thanks to the sponsorship of GOBATA president Bob Morton and GOBATA.

Watch this space.
 
 
THE BAGS/SIS 500 is proving tremendously popular with owners and trainers at the less glamorous end of the sport and the financial input is to be welcomed, especially as it goes straight to the sport at a level where it is greatly needed right now. 

In addition, bookmakers Ladbrokes have stepped up to the mark with additional open racing at Monmore helping to fill the void created by a marked decrease in opens available. These initiatives by bookmakers are to be greatly welcomed and the BAGS/SIS 500 in particular is, we are told, in part a response to the current commercial climate.

We would urge BAGS and SIS and the wider bookmaker community to continue to explore ways and means to ensure that their contribution to the sport is effectively channelled to the areas where it is intended to assist.
 
 
BREEDING down by 20%, prizemoney on a downward spiral due to a big fall in levy allocations and nothing on the horizion to suggest it will ever climb back to what was once an acceptable level, and those at the top with their take it or leave it attitude and a complete ignorance of how to run a business!

These were the complaints and criticisms levelled on a TV programme at the weekend about no, not greyhound racing, but the 'sport of kings', horseracing. John McCririck and the Racing Post’s Lee Mottishead were the guests on At The Races' Sunday Forum and how they lashed into the powers that be, and others. 

But you could, of course, easily have been forgiven for thinking that the comments were taken from the minutes of some clandestine meeting of the GBGB board, 'poor prizemoney, complete ignorance of how to run a business' etc, etc. 
 
 
OUR new website has seen an encouraging response from you, with some interesting and positive comments and giving us plenty of food for thought.

One in particular to catch the eye was from Lee Unsworth, who posted his views on the Premier League and suggested that a better system than the current proposal would be to base qualification on the higher percentage of open race winners per runs.

The uniqueness of the Premier League concept is that it is open to all owners/trainers. However, before it all kicks off the competition requires funding/sponsorship and to attract that we have to use our best assets, the top dogs and top trainers, but we can assure Mr Unsworth, and everyone else out there, that event will be open to all trainers, whatever status.

Your observations and opinions are of considerable interest to us, keep them coming.

 
 
WIMBLEDON have cancelled solo trials before racing on Fridays and Saturdays with immediate effect, leaving the only gateway for trainers to give their dogs a look around Plough Lane on Wednesdays only. 

While this will have consequences for the long suffering owners and trainers at Wimbledon the impact will be felt severely by owners and trainers with an eye on the Racing Post Juvenile Championship, the Betfair Trainers’ Championship and another event that comes up later in May, the Derby!
 
 
FELLOW trainers are rallying round Chris Cronin, the Sittingbourne handler whose punishment by the GBGB stewards at an inquiry last year has led to much unrest - and it is growing - amongst owners and trainers.   

The trainer was fined £750 and reprimanded by the ruling body and faces a £10,000 legal bill as a result of the inquiry which concerned greyhounds in his care in January and February last year at his Brentwood, Essex kennels.

But fellow trainers feel that Cronin was harshly treated and there is a groundswell of opinion that the case be reconsidered on the grounds that there has been a miscarriage of justice.
 
 
THERE is a widely-held perception that the GBGB is not in touch with reality. As a consequence, the disenchantment amongst the rank and file of practitioners is reaching huge proportions and those practitioners can’t all be wrong! 

Much of the criticism levelled at Procter House is aimed at the GBGB's alleged lack of transparency, that they are not in touch with industry matters and even if they were that they have an odd way of showing it.

The GBGB are accused of having little perception of the hardship that trainers who are in it for the long haul are suffering, and suffering they are.