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.
 
 
GRA expected to advertise for two trainers following McEllistrim’s decision to move on.... 

WIMBLEDON won’t want to spend too much time looking for a replacement trainer for Norah McEllistrim, who last weekend handed in her notice at Plough Lane and is on her way to Hove where she will fill in the gap about to be vacated by Brian Clemenson’s impending departure.

As soon as Clemo moves out so Miss McEllistrim will move in down at the seaside, taking with her the 30 runners she currently has on the Wimbledon strength, a strength which temporarily will be depleted to the point whereby the track will find it difficult, if not nigh on impossible, to maintain their current schedule of two 12-race meetings a week.

 
 
Ruling body “does not represent me” says Ricky...

TRAINER Ricky Holloway is not one for holding back, never was, never will be, and he was like a man possessed when guesting on Racing Post Greyhounds TV on Saturday when he tore into the GBGB, describing the board as “unelected people who are in charge of a democracy but running it instead as a closed shop.”

The Essex-based Holloway pulled no punches either when a viewer emailed in contradicting his statement that “there is nobody on the board who represents me.” The sender of the email wanted to ‘remind’ Holloway that the GBGB’s practitioners’ representative is Johnny Haynes, a statement which was as good as holding a red rag to a red bull! 

“Mr Haynes does not represent me, never has done, and I have neither met nor spoken to the man. He too is up there on the board and is also unelected so how can anyone say that he represents me, and I won’t accept what anyone who says to the contrary. Nobody but nobody at GBGB represents me, it’s sad but they don’t have a clue.

“Despite what some people would have you believe the practitioners don’t have any idea about who’s who on the board and even less do they have a point of contact there. The problem is that the board consists largely of non-greyhound people, they are there as regulators but this sport needs a body to promote it, which is something the GBGB are not doing.”

“It is time for the jobs for boys policy to stop, let’s get real doggie people on the board, that’s one of the ways forward, at the moment the game is going backwards and there is not a trainer out there who is unconcerned about the mess greyhound racing is in, believe me lots of them are worried sick about their future in the game.”

Changing subjects, Holloway stated that “racegoers need a tetanus injection before going into the toilets at Wimbledon,” – now where have we heard that before?

Part two of Holloway’s Racing Post Greyhounds TV appearances will follow in the near future. “They have invited me back for another show,” he said. We can’t wait!

 
 
“THE BETDAQ Premier League is a fantastic new idea for greyhound racing which everyone needs to embrace,” so says Richard Birch in today’s Racing Post. ”Yet all I hear is sniping that it will only benefit the leading trainers and widen the gap between top and bottom to football-type levels.”

He continues: “But let’s get one thing straight. If the current economic recession lasts for another five years there will only be a handful of full-time trainers remaining. Fewer owners, pitiful prizemoney and crippling diesel costs mean that even the elite struggle to turn a profit. Greyhound racing desperately needs a boost, the Premier League could provide it.”  

Nice to see Birchy and his doggy journalist colleagues getting behind the competition, just as many others have who at first harboured doubts about the PL even getting off the ground! Rest assured one and all, we are up and running and looking forward to an exciting competition, and so too are all the owners and trainers who have demonstrated their support in numbers by way of a fantastic entry. 
 
 
Owners pay tribute to a true champion... 

JUST what owning a greyhound is all about was captured in a wonderful epitaph published in the Racing Post on Wednesday written by Mike and Clare Davis, the owners of that wonderful hurdler, Kildare Lark, who has sadly died. 

If ever there was a fitting tribute to an old friend then this was it, with the Davis’s reflecting on the day they first acquired the dog, his tremendous career and right through to just the other day when they lost their champion after he was struck down by cancer.

They proudly posted Kildare Lark’s list of achievements, 31 wins from 57 races and a Grand National victory thrown in for good measure and the 23 wins from 32 races he rattled off for them in their ownership. The Lark was also voted the top dog on Sky during 2008 and twice won the GBGB hurdler of the year award. 
 
 
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!
 
 
YOU get some rare old comments from time to time in Richard Birch’s weekly column in the Racing Post, ‘Inside Track,’ where he poses questions to all and sundry in this game. 

This week’s ‘guest’ was Nick Savva’s assistant, Andy Ioannou, whose reply to one of the questions, in our book at least, jumps straight into number one spot in the list of best replies of all time! 

Asked ‘what he would change about greyhound racing’ his one-word salutary response summed it all up. And that reply? “Everything!

Think we know where you are coming from Andy.
 
 
JIM CREMIN’S recent well-researched article in the Racing Post rightly raises the issue of the non-viability of training greyhounds for unattached trainers on the open race circuit. 

While Cremin’s article concentrated on champion trainer Seamus Cahill and the struggle it is for him to make ends meet, the reality is that the situation is equally as bad, if not worse, across the entire industry.

This point was made in a response to Cremin’s article by a trainer who wished to remain anonymous (why, you might wonder?) when the inevitable point was made that if it is so bad for our champion trainer then have a guess what it is like down the line?
 
 
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.
 
 
SEAMUS CAHILL’s Greyhound Of The Year, Jimmy Lollie, may have damaged a metacarpal bone in the near fore when he trailed home last in a sprint open at Tuesday’s Racing Post Juvenile Championship meeting at Wimbledon. 

"We are not too sure exactly what the damage is," said Cahill’s wife, Teresa, "but he will go for an X-ray to find out just what is wrong. We were planning to take him for the X-ray on Thursday but there is swelling in the area and we will first need to wait for that to subside, otherwise you wouldn’t get a true reading."

The champion sprinter, who will become a four-year-old in August, broke moderately at Wimbledon and was smothered in the dash to the first bend and eventually finished more than eight lengths behind the winner, Kelly Findlay’s Jackdaw Joe, who was never headed.