The first AGM of the GTA under the new chairman Ricky Holloway took place last night, Wednesday 29th August 2012, at Coventry Stadium at a well-attended meeting.

The meeting unanimously expressed a vote of no confidence in the current Practitioner Director of the GBGB, Mr John Haynes and instructed Holloway to write to the Board withdrawing support for Mr Haynes. There was also a unanimous view that grants to promoters for use in commercial upkeep and capital expenditure should cease and all such funding should be confined to improvements on track safety and welfare of the dogs and, any monies left over should be put to prize money. In another Holloway initiative and as per his manifesto the meeting agreed to open membership of the GTA to all greyhound trainers.

Holloway said: “This was a huge step forward for the industry. The members made it clear to me that they were determined to get an adequate commercial return for their product. We supply this industry with a product and we have never been adequately recompensed nor is there any negotiation process which protects the welfare of the racing greyhound.”

 
 
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.

 
 
CRITICISM of the Wimbledon management to extend the pick-up point at Plough Lane continues to gather momentum and the latest trainer to take a swipe at what he calls a “pointless and ridiculous” thing to do is up and coming handler, Dean Childs.

“As as far as I’m concerned it’s utter madness,” says Childs, “the Wimbledon management are subjecting greyhounds to run not so much over the Derby trip of 480 metres but more like 680 metres but didn’t anyone tell them these are not staying dogs?

“I speak from experience at Wimbledon last week when I had seven dogs running in the Derby and all came off very tired. True, this was partly due to the heavy going but the unnecessary long run to the ‘new’ pick up had a lot to do with it.

“A greyhound doesn’t know where the winning line is so he will run just as fast after the line as he would in the race itself but, as middle distance dogs, they don’t have much left in the staying department and this absurd long run to the pick up is detrimental to the dogs and their welfare.”

Childs’ views on the matter are shared by leading trainers Dolores Ruth, Charlie Lister OBE and Nick Savva, all of whom have publicly slammed the distance to the new drop. Miss Ruth said here a month ago that the extra distance the dogs are now asked to travel “tears the guts out of a greyhound.”

Childs, whose kennels are at Ockendon near Upminster in Essex, is saddened by the fact that, to the best of his knowledge, no trainer was ever consulted by Wimbledon over the contentious re-siting of the pick up.

“It’s a disgrace, after all us trainers are the ones who know our dogs and can easily spot if they have over-exerted themselves and this is happening at Wimbledon,” Childs continued. “Trainers are the ones who should be listened to instead of having this foisted upon us as a fait accompli! It’s all wrong and all so unnecessary.

“Did Wimbledon, I wonder, consider the possibility of the risk of injury to the dogs by running them further than really they are capable of running? After all we are talking middle distance dogs here, not Scurlogue Champs!

“I dread to think how exhausted the dogs will be when we get to the stage of three Derby runs in a week to the extended pick up, especially if the going is heavy again. It will particularly affect the short runners who gasp for air over 480 metres! It’s all wrong.”

On a happy note, Childs has six of his original seven Derby entries still standing their ground at Wimbledon. Whether they will be able to stand if the ground comes up heavy again this weekend remains to be seen!

“They should stop the hare as soon as they can after the line, in fact the sooner the better. Running to the new pick up runs all kinds of risks, injury, exhaustion and a greyhound is more liable to play or fight if the hare is whipped away and the dogs are left with virtually nothing to chase.”

 
 
"It's a great buzz for me and my owners," he says... 

WIMBLEDON racing manager Gary Matthews is out with the news of a new trainer there a day or so before anticipated, confirming that Chris Mosdall, currently attached to Harlow, will switch to Plough Lane within the next couple of weeks.

Mosdall will have up to 30 dogs available for grading at Wimbledon, 10 to 15 of them at the top end and the rest currently A2/A3 graders. "It really is a great buzz for me and my owners," he said, "Harlow have been very good to me and I would like to thank them for that but I’m thrilled to be doing something I love at a top track like Wimbledon."

'Well schooled' was Mosdall, who spent a number of years with Joe Cobbold, who he described as "a genius with greyhounds" and was also a close friend some years back with Pa Fitzgerald, head man to Patsy Byrne back in his Wimbledon days and renowned for his ability with coursing dogs.

 
 
But an announcement expected soon from racing manager Gary Matthews... 

THAT Wimbledon have re-advertised the position of a trainer, or two is our understanding, to replace the out-going Norah McEllistrim to Hove, doesn’t say much for the esteem in which the GRA’s flagship track is now held by trainers.

In the present climate of course, and considering also the instability of the industry as a whole just now, it would be a tough decision indeed for any trainer to contemplate jumping ship, even if such a jump would land him or her on the higher ground.

There was a time when a potential contract at Plough Lane would have had trainers swarming for the post, but not any more it seems, better the devil you know might be the thoughts of those who are already gainfully employed elsewhere, and can you wonder at it?

 
 
Hall Green and Oxford-based handler to quit training...

LIFE has rarely been more difficult in the business of training greyhounds and what drives home that message here at GOBATA is the number of owners, trainers and kennelhands we hear of who are turning their back on the sport in search of an alternative and worthwhile living.

Okay, so nobody forced them into greyhound racing but the vast majority of them got involved at a time when things were infinitely better than they are now and Aylesbury-based trainer Mick Peterson, son of another top trainer in his time, John Peterson, would vouch for that.

Peterson jnr, 28, followed his father into the sport but he has been forced to wave the white flag like others before him and will have had his last runners at GRA tracks Oxford and Hall Green, or anywhere else for that matter, come the end of May.

 
 
NO frilly bits and pieces in tonight’s Sky coverage of the Betfair Trainers’ Championship meeting at Perry Barr but wall to wall coverage of the big event with interviews throughout with the six competing handlers and snapshots of some of the runners at home at their kennels.

“I hope the competition is exciting as it has been for the past two years when we had to wait for the very last heat to determine the winner,” said producer Dave Lawrence, “I’m fingers crossed it goes right to the wire again!

“Charlie (Mr Lister OBE) has a very strong team and looks the one to beat but I’m hoping our dog gives him a run for his money in the third leg.” Lawrence owns Guinness Kev in partnership with brother Clive, Hobbsy, Darrell and a “couple of Wimbledon owners” and the lads fancy their chances from the outside box.

They have backed him and one live wire snapped up the 12-1 early doors this morning, none of that was left by the time the rest of the gang rang their bookies! “The price went immediately after one of us got the 12-1, I’ll just have to get up earlier in future,” threatened Lawrence.

Also in the show will be recordings of last week’s Puppy Derby won by Pat Rosney’s Newinn Rocket at Monmore and Saturday’s SIS Gold Cup final at Shelbourne where Milldean Panther, winner of his first 12 races, has now been beaten in his two most recent!

 
 
PERRY BARR are anticipating their biggest crowd for some time when they host the Betfair Trainers’ Championship meeting on Wednesday.

With more than £30,000 in prizemoney to play for, five of the top six trainers from last year competing (Dean Childs replaces Kelly Findlay), and with a canine line-up of the highest class the place will be buzzing.

“The restaurant is as good as sold out already,” said racing manager Martin Seal, “a good number of the runners on Wednesday have been round here in trials and it promises to be a brilliant night’s racing.”

The meeting is live on Sky Sports 4 with the first of the eight Championship races due off at 7.40pm and the last at 9.45. First blood in the opener may go to Charlie Lister OBE’s Mottos Blue, a fast winner at Galway in December but beaten on his only British run so far at Sheffield last month.

Joining Lister and Childs in the fray are Seamus Cahill, Nick Savva, Chris Allsopp and Mark Wallis, all of whom have brought out their heavy artillery and thus making it nigh on impossible to predict the outright winning kennel!

 
 
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.