Thursday, November 4, 2010


Some have accused me of being overly negative with regard to our great sport. This stems mostly from frustration at how much better things could be with a bit of leadership and integrity. I'm going to reinforce that perception by failing to join in the rejoicing about the new Limerick track but instead in asking:
Why in 2010 do the authorities persist in giving two fingers to the punter by allowing "private" trials on our tracks, especially one as high profile as the new Limerick? Those on the inside will have had crucial information denied to the ordinary Joe paying in for the first few meetings there- why should he invest his hard-earned trying to pick a winner when he doesn't have the full picture? Indeed, I was in a Hackett's shop in Sallins recently and saw a notice on the wall saying that they no longer accepted bets at Shelbourne Park except on big nights where early prices were available- what does that say about the integrity and transparency of our racing?
The Bord need to put the integrity of the racing product at the top of their priority list- more testing in trials, in early rounds of stakes (it can be done) and at sales would be a good start, as well as the immediate banning of unrecorded trials, however lucrative these may be. If someone wants a trial on the quiet, let them go to the local schooling track.
What the Bord don't seem to realise is that the more of an insider culture they foster and the more they alienate the casual punter the fewer of these people will click through the turnstiles and have a bet or a drink or a meal. There seems to be a perception that most attendees don't know or care about things like these but neglecting the more involved fan base is a very dangerous game indeed- from where else are the next decade's owners, trainers and punters going to come?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

General thoughts on the World

The recent controversy about the proposed dog breeding bill has demonstrated that few people bother to research anything before making public comment. I am thinking specifically of the public statements of Bord na gCon chiefs Adrian Neilan (for which he had to apologise to the Agriculture minister) and Dick O'Sullivan, who made an impassioned speech to a captive audience in Shelbourne Park recently apparently claiming that the bill would finish greyhound racing were it introduced. This is patent nonsense. The bill was drafted after extensive consultation with the veterinary profession and its main aims are the safeguarding of animal welfare and the prevention of unregulated puppy farming, both surely in the interests of any well-run animal sport. I for one would welcome the cessation of indiscriminate breeding for profit which does occur and for which there is no legal censure at present. The initial draft did have some anomalies, namely the requirement for anyone with 4 bitches of breeding age to register as a breeder and the proposal to limit bitches to one litter per year but both of these have been addressed. The revised bill looks to hold few fears for responsible greyhound owners and triners to me.
Messrs Neilan and O'Sullivan would be better occupied with building safer greyhound tracks to reduce injury levels, but that's another discussion...