WIMBLEDON’S decision to move the pick-up a further 15 metres down the straight continues to rankle amongst trainers, including the likes of Nick Savva, who knows all about winning Derbys there, and Dolores Ruth, no stranger herself to classic success at Plough Lane.
While Wimbledon have used the new drop for two months or so now it is only recently and as the Derby approaches that trainers have begun to voice their opinions about the wisdom of the change and they are mostly to a man convinced that it was completely unnecessary.
Much as we’d like to but for fear of ending up in court we won’t repeat Nick Savva’s view of the change, suffice to say it wasn’t very flattering to Wimbledon! “It was far enough away from the winning line as it was, what they should have done was reduce the pick-up point to, say, somewhere between the first and second bends after the line,” he said in so many words.
“The dogs are running 480 metres as it is, now they’ll have to travel nearly 780 metres, it just doesn’t make any sense and is certainly not good for middle-distance greyhounds, some of whom will be short runners who will be taxed to the limit. The run to the drop now is too far, simple as, and I am not happy about it.”
Razldazl lady, Dolores Ruth, is equally vexed and pulled no punches either. “As I understand things, Wimbledon have extended the run to the pick-up so that the dogs are not putting the brakes on in front of the corporate boxes,” she said.
“It’s a ridiculous idea and I don’t know how they came up with it, apart from the fear of a dog being injured and upsetting the diners munching away on their steak and chips!” she said. “Did they, I wonder, ever give a thought to the welfare of the dogs, there was never a problem stopping the hare at the second bend and if I wanted a dog to run as a stayer I would had entered him for a six-bender and not the Derby!
“Like Nick Savva says the old pick-up point was far enough as it was and all this change will do is tear the guts out of a dog who barely gets the Derby trip, let alone another 15 extra metres to the drop, madness, utter madness.”
Mark Wallis, currently sitting on top the Trainers’ Championship table and the winning-most open race trainer so far this year with 60 successes, says that what disappoints him is the fact that, to the best of his knowledge, trainers were not consulted on the matter.
“Surely trainers should be advised of intended changes like this and invited to put forward their views but no, it’s another example of little or no consultation between track managements and us, our views should be given the opportunity to be heard but, I’ afraid, it’s the same old story and it’s all wrong,” said Wallis.