COMMENTS by GOBATA vice-chairman Charlie Lister in today’s Racing Post echo views expressed to GOBATA by many trainers during the course of this year. Nobody has yet explained why tracks are being dug up at such a rate. The fact that all this work is being done by the same company raises legitimate questions concerning the integrity of the tendering and payment process.

Failure to address the issue will result in allegations of corruption at the highest level of the sport, made worse by the fact that the welfare of greyhounds is possibly being compromised.

The fact that a main board director has a declared interest in SSS, the company at the centre of this controversy, is not an issue. What is important is that all dealings with SSS are fully transparent, accountable and forensically audited. It is unacceptable that this work is the prerogative of any one individual and being carried out by a company with no history outside of having done a good job at Kinsley.

The refusal of promoters to share injury statistics with owners and trainers, far less collate them, to establish trends or otherwise, shows a flagrant disregard for the welfare of dogs and flies in the face of the duty of care imposed on the entire industry by legislation.
 
 
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.

 
 
"GTA will not be represented by a person who is not an owner nor a trainer and is paid by the GBGB" 

THE recent GOBATA annual general meeting unanimously endorsed the candidature of Ricky Holloway for the position of Chairman of the Greyhound Trainers’ Association.

We would urge all trainers to take part in the upcoming election and to fully get behind Ricky in his bid to bring meaningful representation of trainers’ views and issues.

Despite the fact that the GBGB are bound under their own Articles of Association to develop a commercial strategy for the sport they have signally failed to do so and the exodus continues. It is vitally important that Ricky is returned in this election with unequivocal support of the majority of trainers.

The GTA has disenfranchised its own members by refusing to hold annual general meetings. Ricky’s election will begin the process of legitimising our position as stakeholders in the industry. Please take the time to make the effort and vote for him.

 
 
THE GOBATA annual general meeting on Sunday unanimously endorsed Ricky Holloway's candidature for the Chair of the Greyhound Trainers' Association.

GOBATA chairman, Martin White, said the AGM was a constructive meeting "and we were delighted to give Ricky our full support."

He added: "This election is a rare opportunity to send a clear message to the regulator that the cup
of endurance has now filled to overflowing.

"The rank and file professional trainers must take back control of the GTA and Ricky must have their
full support."

The meeting also called on all owners to lobby their trainers to vote for Holloway.
 
 
HAS any trainer out there experienced any problems with the recently-introduced annual veterinary kennel inspections? If so, get in touch while the same applies to the Point Of Sampling rule, whereby new greyhounds for GBGB registration must provide a urine sample.

 
 
GBGB’S new welfare boss knows how trainers feel about the rule... 

HOW much longer will the GBGB continue to ignore the requests of practitioners to address the ever-topical issue of pre-race kennelling times?

Despite protestations from trainers for goodness knows how many years the ruling body tell us that they are satisfied with the antiquated rule as it stands and refuse to budge.

GOBATA have had their say too, having written to the GBGB on the matter on several occasions proposing a revision to the rule and backing up that proposal with a sound, workable version.
 
 
Picture
The Dunham centre schooling track, and what a gallop!
‘A real buzz about the place for British-breds meeting’ 

DAVE and Jane Houfton, who run the superb Dunham Centre schooling  kennels just outside Newick, said Saturday’s British-bred Derby night at Newcastle was ‘the best we have enjoyed more than any night at a greyhound track for years.’ 

“Everyone at Newcastle was absolutely brilliant, there were real doggy people there, the 6-Packers as well, and I’d like to say a special thanks to the groundstaff who did a monumental job on the track after the deluge that came down on Tyneside on Saturday afternoon and forced the BAGS card there a few hours earlier to be abandoned!” said Dave.

The Houftons sponsored the two big races on the night, The Dunham Greyhound Centre British-bred Derby (for all-aged) and the same title for a competition for puppies (see adjacent story). 

 
 
IT’S so good to see David Pruhs back on the open race road again and picking up where he left off after that sickening injury to probably the best dog he has ever had, Rotar Wing, at Sunderland last month. 

Rotar Wing broke his back at the Tyne & Wear track and Pruhs, a member of GOBATA’s Racing Committee, was inconsolable for a long time afterwards and, truth be told, probably still is. 

For, given any other year and no Jimmy Lollie, Rotar Wing would have won the sprint dog of the Year oscar hands down in 2010 for, in the two years he was with Pruhs, he won scores of opens, most of them in the cut and thrust business of two-bend sprinting. 
 
 
GOBATA is encouraged by the response for investment in our Premier League project with chairman Martin White and Chris Page each reporting a positive feedback from investors. 

"We are indeed encouraged, the Premier League is a huge undertaking and it is most satisfying to see so many greyhound supporters expressing an interest and wishing the competition well," said Martin. 

The chairman was accompanied on Monday by Chris on a visit to the GBGB headquarters in London for a formal meeting to discuss the Premier League and met with Senior Stipendiary Steward, Paul Illingworth, and Amanda Duplock of the GBGB Calendar Department. 

"Mr Illingworth was satisfied that our proposals were permissible in relation to the GBGB Rules of Racing," Martin added. 
 
 
GOBATA has received various questions about the Premier League raised by members of the public. Below is our response to one which was posted on our website yesterday and encapsulates some of the concerns circulating. We believe this is an important initiative and it is proper to address all questions raised. 
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Question: 
“With this latest premier league initiative, where on earth is a plan for the good of greyhound racing in general? A premier league inspires the great but the majority are lower league where is the plan for them? They represent 80% of your membership so what are you doing for them? Please do not say that the GBGB will not speak to us. 

We need a greater debate and plan of action can we get one arranged?

A reply would be great.”
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Reply from Martin White (Chairman):
The mission statement of GOBATA is as follows:

To give an effective voice to all greyhound practitioners, owners, breeders, trainers, and ancillary staff with the aim of assisting the GBGB to:

(A) Develop a commercial strategy for the greyhound industry that will halt its
continuing decline and be capable of sustaining the long term success of the sport
(B) Formulate policy on welfare and common issue interest

Point 1: With this latest premier league initiative, where on earth is a plan for the good of greyhound racing in general?

It is a known fact that greyhound racing is losing its popularity and facing many challenges, not least threats of track closures, lack of prize money and practitioners leaving the sport.

There is no magic wand which will make all of these problems disappear nor do we have any financial resource available to us to do so.