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.