WE have lost count of the times folk have begged the question, ‘has Wimbledon got a future?’ Mind you, it is almost a dead-heat between Plough Lane and Walthamstow as to which of the two tracks, if any, will be alive and kicking in, say, three years’ time.

The fact that the Stow will be coming up for its third anniversary of closure this August hardly augurs well for those hoping the phoenix will rise from the ashes, despite the magnificent efforts of Ricky Holloway and all his other passionate Save Our Stow (SOS) campaigners, including MPs et al.

Of course, where there is life there is hope and SOS are hanging on to their Walthamstow aspirations like a dog with the veritable bone but, and one doesn’t need to be an Einstein to realise it, that the longer the place remains dormant, the more those aspirations are unlikely to turn to reality.
 
 
THE GRA have upped the winners’ prize for the series of Derby Trial Stakes at Wimbledon from £100 to £150 following criticism from trainers, Charlie Lister and Mark Wallis in particular (see elsewhere on here).

Lister was highly critical of the proposed ‘reward,’ describing it as an “absolute joke” while Wallis called it an “insult to owners and trainers.” While some might be pacified by the increase, Lister is still far from satisfied. “It is still not enough for Derby dogs,” he said.

“When I saw that the Derby Trial Stakes winners were running for just £100, I got straight on to the GBGB and had a right go at them but, give them their due, they said they would look into it,” said Lister. “The upshot is that the win prize has gone up 50%, that’s better than nothing I suppose.
 
 
JIM CREMIN’S recent well-researched article in the Racing Post rightly raises the issue of the non-viability of training greyhounds for unattached trainers on the open race circuit. 

While Cremin’s article concentrated on champion trainer Seamus Cahill and the struggle it is for him to make ends meet, the reality is that the situation is equally as bad, if not worse, across the entire industry.

This point was made in a response to Cremin’s article by a trainer who wished to remain anonymous (why, you might wonder?) when the inevitable point was made that if it is so bad for our champion trainer then have a guess what it is like down the line?
 
 
JIM CREMIN was joined in his recent criticism of the scant financial rewards for open trainers by top trainers Charlie Lister and Mark Wallis, who have pulled no punches in their criticism of Wimbledon and the GRA over the win prizemoney for the Derby Trial Stakes at Plough Lane.

Winners will collect just £100, not even enough to earn a single point for Trainers’ Championship purposes, and like other Derby prizemoney, it is in free fall for yet another year.

“Do they honestly expect Derby dogs to run round there for just a hundred quid, it’s an absolute joke,” fumed Lister. “Tracks are just using owners and trainers and it’s no wonder new people are not coming into the game.
 
 
CHARLIE LISTER is in danger of being reported to the Monopolies Commission after winning the Betfair Trainers’ Championship for the fifth time at Wimbledon on Tuesday.

We jest, of course, but the man from Newark really has held a stranglehold on the competition since his first success at Hove 12 years ago and he was undaunted when he had to withdraw a runner a few years later when the event was held at Sheffield.

“I remember it well,” said Charlie the morning after win number five. “The dog was a late withdrawal and I was left with just seven runners but six of them won and the other fella ran second and the title was mine.”
 
 
THE GBGB have rejected a request from GOBATA chairman Martin White to meet with members of
the main board. The request follows representations made by senior industry figures that GOBATA
could not be trusted and its motives were in question. 

"We are mindful of the stature and reputation of each individual on our executive," White wrote to
Watkins, pointing out that members of GOBATA’s executive committee are drawn from greyhound
racing, business and the professions, with reputations that have been well established over many
years.
 
 
Below are three downloadable PDF sheets containing all you need to know about the GOBATA Grass Roots Inter Track. There are sheets for both the North and South Inter Tracks, and also a general information sheet with a complete overview on how the Inter Track will work.

GOBATA Grass Roots Inter Track - Overview & Details
GOBATA North Inter Track Details
GOBATA South Inter Track Details


Dates have now been announced for the North Inter Track which kicks off on 25th April, and as soon as dates are confirmed for the South Inter Track they will be announced on this site.


 
 
THE future of the Dean Childs-trained Deanridge Rage hangs in the balance after the dog broke a metatarsal bone when holding a qualifying position in a heat of the Arc at Swindon on Monday. He gamely hobbled round but finished a distance behind the winner, Paul Sallis’s Mark My Words. 

"He's an October 07 dog and isn’t getting any younger and, depending on how he responds to treatment, will need at least three months off, which means he would more or less be into his fourth year should he return to racing," said Childs, who trains at the Ockendon kennels in Essex.
 
 
PRIZEMONEY remains stagnant, there is still a them and us 'relationship' between owners and promoters, throw in the soaring cost of living, and therein are just three reasons why greyhound racing is currently in decline. 

So says Bob Gilling, who recently marked his 30th year as secretary of the Greyhound Breeders' Forum and whose views are shared by many people in the sport. Yet, despite the troubled times greyhound racing is experiencing, Gilling remains as keen and as committed as he ever was.

"It is sad the way game has gone," he says, "and there are a number of other reasons to blame. Folk cite the recession but it is the same for any business, everyone is finding it tough out there but greyhound racing is unquestionably suffering more than most. 
 
 
IAN LAVERY MP more than echoed the sentiments of practitioners everywhere when interviewed by Richard Birch in the Racing Post this week in that commentator's Inside Track column. 

A greyhound fan all his life and proud part-owner of the Harry Williams-trained Blue Artisan, Lavery was responding to the usual salvo of questions that Birch regularly fires at his 'guests' and it was the poser which asked 'what one thing would you change about greyhound racing?' which prompted a stern response.

Given his head, the Right Honourable Gentleman could have filled the page on the subject but nevertheless he went to town on this particular question.