IN REPLY TO CRAZY JOE’S POST ON GREYHOUNDSCENE STATING THAT HE HAS BEEN INFORMED THAT GOBATA, IN OUR MEETINGS WITH GBGB/BGRF, HAVE CALLED FOR CENTRAL CONTRACTS FOR THE TOP SIX TRAINERS, ALL I CAN SAY IS THAT AS GOBATA CHAIRMAN THIS IS NEWS TO ME AND SMACKS OF A CONTINUED CAMPAIGN TO DIVIDE TRAINERS BY CLAIMING THAT GOBATA ARE ELITIST. WE CALL ON ALL TRAINERS TO MAINTAIN THE SEEDS OF UNITY THAT HAVE BEEN EVIDENT BOTH DURING THE INAUGRAL TRAINERS’ PREMIER LEAGUE AND AT RECENT
GOBATA MEETINGS AND BACK RICKY HOLLOWAY IN HIS CAMPAIGN TO BE CHAIRMAN OF THE GTA AND ARREST THE CONTINUED DECLINE IN OUR SPORT.

AS HAS BEEN WELL DOCUMENTED, DESPITE NUMEROUS REQUESTS THE GBGB HAS REFUSED TO MEET WITH ANY REPRESENTATIVES OF TRAINERS WHO ARE OUTSIDE THE CURRENT COSY SET-UP OF WHICH MR SIMPSON IS PART. IT TOOK THE THREAT OF A BOYCOTT OF THE BETFAIR TRAINERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP PROPOSED BY THE LEADING FIGURES IN THE GAME TO SECURE A MEETING WITH TOM KELLY AND MARGARET WOODRUFF OF THE BGRF. THESE TRAINERS FELT THAT THEY COULDN’T CALL ON THEIR GRADED COLLEAGUES TO RISK THEIR LIVELIHOODS AND CONTRACTS BY ACTING SO DELIBERATELY CHOSE A MEETING AT WHICH THEY WERE THE SOLE LOSERS FINANCIALLY TO PRESENT A CASE TO TRY TO ARREST THE DECLINE IN OUR SPORT AND THE FINANCIAL VIABILITY OF GREYHOUND TRAINERS.

 
 
Owners’ bonus series set for October launch... 

FOLLOWING the recently announced British Greyhound Racing Fund budget increases, the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) is pleased to launch the Owners’ Bonus Series, which gets under way next week with the first competition due to take place at Belle Vue on Wednesday (5th October). The initiative, developed by the Board’s Racing Committee, is scheduled to take place between October 2011 and December 2012 and is expected to be funded to the tune of £1 million. 

Each of the 25 GBGB-licensed racecourses will stage a total of 26 Owners’ Bonus Series competitions, comprising heats and a final, for 12 or 18 graded greyhounds. The winner of each final will receive £500 plus a trophy and presentation jacket with other finalists receiving £100 and a further £100 going to the winning trainer. 

The total prize fund for each final totals £1,100 and the standard prize money, saved by the track not funding a race of the grade of the final itself, will be added back into graded prize money as increased run and/or win money across the card at a subsequent meeting.
 
 
...including £1m for graded competitions at all GBGB tracks... 

ALL 25 GBGB tracks will share a £1m prizemoney bonanza in a series of graded competitions to be staged over the next 15 months. 

The announcement came earlier this week from BGRF chairman Tom Kelly, who says competitions will be staged from October 1 this year round to December 30 next year and be based on the successful BAGS/SIS blueprint.

There will be 26 such events at each track carrying prizemoney in the finals of £500 to the winner and also rans £100 each. And the good news is that trainers have not been overlooked, they will receive £100 for fielding each winning finalist!
 
 
Up to an extra £1 million would go to Fund if the bookies paid up and looked big... 

BOOKMAKERS who refuse to make voluntary contributions to the British Greyhound Racing Fund consequently deny the sport of up to £1 million annually but the BGRF ensure that they are constantly busy trying to persuade the non-payers to think again.

There are approximately 650 bookmaker companies in Britain and a total of approximately 8,500 betting shops and the great majority of those do make contributions to the fund. But, frustrating though it is, the BGRF can’t hold a gun to the heads of those who don’t contribute.

Thanks to the Chancellor of the time [1992], Norman Lamont, payments are voluntary, much to the chagrin of the greyhound industry at large. “But we endeavour and will continue to endeavour to go after the bookmakers who do not pay, although we would need a full-time staff to pursue each and every one of them,” said Fund Secretary, Margaret Woodruff.
 
 
Chairman Kelly warns abstainers of potential consequences... 

IN his first chairman’s statement since his appointment to the British Greyhound Racing Fund, Tom Kelly has urged those bookmakers who decline to contribute to the Fund to think again. 

In the recently published annual report of the BGRF, Kelly draws attention to the fall of fund income from off-course bookmakers to £7.8m. this year from a record £13.8m. in 2008-9. 

“This can no way be described as good news,” states the chairman. “At one point the Board was concerned that greyhound betting turnover would fall to such an extent that we might have been heading for considerably less than the £7.8m. finally achieved.” 
 
 
WE often get a laugh out of Muttley’s column in the Racing Post on Saturdays but this weekend we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. 

The author, whoever he was, referred to the surprise £2m extra the sport will receive this year and went on to suggest that it is invested in giving a huge facelift to Wimbledon. Honest he did! 

In years gone by we could have invested in other GRA tracks, like West Ham, Clapton, White City, Harringay, Catford, Kings Heath, the list goes on and on... 

“Give us a stadium fit to stage a Greyhound Derby,” said Muttley. Nowt wrong with that but the first priority is surely to give us a
promoter who is fit to stage the Derby, and that rules out the GRA, who have long since lost the promoter plot.

And just in case you’re wondering, Saturday wasn’t April Fools Day!
 
 
“I am really struggling to survive,” says Ten Large Down’s trainer... 

AS one trainer will wallow in Derby glory at Wimbledon on Saturday so another is contemplating her future in greyhound racing, such is the current state of the industry. 

Like many of her counterparts, Diane Henry is, and has been for some time, struggling with the increasing costs of running a kennel with precious little income from anywhere else, least of all, or rather none at all, from the industry.

“Word is going around that I’m quitting the game straight away, but that’s not the case. I will stick around for a while yet and take stock at the end of the year before considering whether or not to renew my licence,” she said.
 
 
TOM KELLY'S appointment as full-time chairman of the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF) and the recent appointment also as a board member of Ladbrokes’ greyhound top dog, Gordon Bissett, has sent mixed messages through the sport. 

That both have dyed-in-the-wool bookmaker CVs and will now have significant input on how and where fund money is allocated is being frowned upon by certain sections within the industry, including Bob Betts, former greyhound editor of the Sporting Life.

In the current edition of Ireland’s Sporting Press he expresses concern over prizemoney. He states: "It is now extremely unlikely that any extra cash from the expected £7m fund budget this year will be allowed to go to prizemoney... it means the bookmakers now have virtual control of the sport's purse strings."
 
 
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.
 
 
JIM CREMIN’S carefully researched article in his Monday Column in the Racing Post raises issues concerning the ongoing current financial plight of many trainers. We fully agree with his sentiments regarding the importance of open racing to the sport and the role played by those tracks which continue to provide them.

His call for an allocated percentage of Fund prizemoney to go directly to open racing via a direct payment to trainers mirrors the principle of the recent BAGS/SIS initiative where their £100,000 contribution is directed to practitioners, who are clearly struggling.

We would urge the GBGB to give serious consideration to Cremin’s proposal.