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.

 
 
Bettor.com Scottish Derby final tops a great card...

SHAWFIELD could hardly have wished for a better response from trainers to tonight’s big Bettor.com Scottish Derby final meeting in Glasgow with entries coming from Lands End to John O’Groats, well almost.

Ten open races have attracted runners of the highest class, proving that if you pay top drawer prizemoney you will attract the top drawer dogs and the sponsor’s PR director, Jayne Clarke, says she is delighted with the quality of greyhounds on show. “It’s a brilliant turn out,” she said, “and it has gone extremely well both on the track and behind the scenes.”

Total win prizemoney tonight is approaching £33,000, rich pickings at a time when owners and trainers have a gripe with prizemoney in general but they would have no complaints with Bettor.com’s commitment to their three competitions this year. It is well in excess of £100,000 and after Glasgow the show moves on to the Peterborough Derby and then the Northern Ireland Derby at Drumbo Park.

 
 
IT’S Dog Day Afternoon at Swindon on Good Friday next week when Swindon host the BAGS/SIS Easter Bunny grand finals meeting - all nine of them - and before you run away with the idea that Gaming International have converted the track into a drive-in movie park fear not, the dogs will have pride of pace in betting shops nationwide with no horseracing taking place on the Holy day.

Better of course to go along to the meeting if you can, admission won’t cost you a bean and you will be treated to some exciting racing with those finals run over the sprint, standard and stayers’ distances, something to suit all tastes then.

The meeting is the climax to a seemingly unending series of qualifying races but the big day has come, almost, and each of those nine finals will carry a winner’s prize of £750, making the total purse for the meeting around the £12,000 mark for a competition which, by the end of it all, will have seen £100,000 going to some satisfied owners and trainers.

Students of form, either at the track or in the betting shops, will have the assistance of price guides for all races with the bookmakers expected to price up each and every race, possibly in advance of finals day.

Better to concentrate don’t you think on the live stuff, proper racing as it is affectionately known, rather than the Walt Disney-type productions that are Millersfield, Thunder Alley and Portman Park etc, etc, etc . . . zzzzzzzzz!

 
 
PROMOTERS here take note that “recognising the increased costs of travel...” the Irish Greyhound Board, following on from major increases in prizemoney at the top end, Dublin track Harolds Cross will from next Friday be offering increased prizemoney.

The rises will focus on open races, A1 and A2 events with winners in these spheres getting a boost from 250 euros up to 400 thank you very much but equally good news is that seconds and thirds will also benefit with runner-ups now receiving 100 euros (up from 70) and thirds 50 euros (up from 30).

Rewarding the also-ran prizemoney is what trainers are pressing for here and while we are waiting for the powers that be to address the matter positively Irish owners and trainers will be both grateful and relieved that their difficulties have been recognised and acted upon.

Prizemoney for all other races at the Cross will remain at the current level and while some would quibble that only the higher class dogs will be in receipt of the boost it is a move in the right direction by the Board and one which will go down well with Irish owners and trainers.

Now just wait for owners and trainers of dogs at the lower end of the Harolds Cross scale to ask for similar increases, betcha a euro to a cent they will!

 
 
A COMPETITION currently in progress at Tralee has a prizemoney breakdown in the final that tracks in Britain would do well to note.

With the trend here prize-wise to concentrate mostly on winners of big events but, in many cases, offer a pittance to the other finalists, the second and third in the John & Mary Killeacle Dowling Memorial final later this month at Tralee will be generously rewarded.

The 570 yards event is for A1 class greyhounds with the winner of the final collecting 3000 euros, the second 1250 and the third 750, more proportionate you may agree than for the beaten dogs in big finals here.

Other races on the Kingdom track’s card also carried eye-opening prizes, for example an A3 was worth 225 euros to the winner, an A6 195 euros and an A4 215 euros.

Compare these rewards to the paltry amounts for winners at Belle Vue tonight where the opening A6 event carries the princely sum of £56 and the A2s £76. And there are folk out there who tell us that the game in Britain is on the up, who’s kidding who?

 
 
THE man who transformed greyhound racing in Ireland during his time as head of the Greyhound Board in Limerick has set his sights on the purchase of Wimbledon Stadium.

Dublin businessman Paschal Taggart, synonymous with the sport across the pond, instigated the re-vamping of many Irish tracks and also substantially increased prizemoney to a level which has mostly been maintained to this day.

And how refreshing to see a would-be promoter with the interests of owners and trainers at heart. Commenting on his Wimbledon ambitions, Taggart said: “In the longer term all trainers and owners would be far better off than they are now.”

 
 
Bull and Pooley two more trainers to quit for pastures new

ONE of the ever-growing number of trainers to leave the sport recently is the Gainsborough-based David Bull, who has ceased his attachment to Nottingham and is now “doing better thank you” running a cafe-cum-bistro in his home town.

“The catering business was a far better option for me than greyhound racing which, I am sad to say, is no investment at all these days,” said Bull, who joined the Colwick Park track six years ago but who has now “packed it up altogether.”
He continued: “In the end I just couldn’t make the greyhound business pay and I really had only two options, stay in the game or get out and into something altogether new, it was a no brainer, I’m now out of the dogs and doing okay.

 
 
King to quit Swindon at end of month  

‘IT’S alright for those trainers who have a BAGS contract, they’ve no need to worry where the next penny’s coming from’ is the the sort of line trotted out only too often these days by trainers with no such contract and even more so by those with no track attachment either.

Being a greyhound trainer at present is not the most enviable of occupations, it’s pretty grim out there just now, and the big worry is that there is little sign of things turning round, no matter how much is thrown at the game in the form of prizemoney, such as in the ongoing BAGS Championship.

None of that money trickles down to the majority of trainers and it certainly was no incentive to Swindon trainer Steve King to change his mind about leaving the sport, despite the fact that he is attached to a BAGS track, Swindon.

 
 
Rising costs and poor prizemoney force her to quit the game

ASKED how tough things are for trainers these days on a scale of 1 to 20 Caroline King comes back with an instant response, “20 without a doubt, I have never known the game in such a bad way as it is now and the worrying aspect is that I see no signs whatsoever of things improving.”

Miss King, who was attached to Harlow and first took out a Greyhound Trainers’ licence in 1995 and aspired to the professional ranks six years later from the kennels she rented at Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, has decided enough is enough and will not be renewing her licence.

“I just can’t go on with the way things are, ever increasing costs are crippling to the point that there would just be no sense in continuing. I never expected to make a fortune out of training greyhounds but, at the same time, I didn’t expect it to cost me money!” she said.

 
 
Sunday night specials to continue... 

SITTINGBOURNE’S big and much appreciated (especially by trainers) effort in putting on top class racing during their experimental Sunday night BAGS meetings paid off handsomely yesterday when BAGS informed the Medway town track that they are keen to continue with the meetings through to 18 December.

At a time when promoters are experiencing tough times attendance-wise it is excellent news for Sittingbourne, who will now be on three BAGS meetings a week until the end of the year. They threw a considerable amount of their BAGS income at Sunday night prizemoney and have got the reward they deserve.

“This is what we’ve been aiming for and been working hard at,” said racing manager, Jess Packer, yesterday. “We pumped a lot of money into prizemoney and it’s worked for us, it’s very good news for the track.