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Major issues affecting racing in NSW page  << 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 

Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

07 Apr 2020 08:08


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Interesting point someone made to me the other day about Grafton. I must say that I like Grafton and staff, but most tracks have something going for them and against them. The point that the fella made to me, was that the Grafton track and amenities, will be reconstructed to the tune of about $4 million because it is allegedly (sometimes) unsafe for dogs to race? Yet, GRNSW made the decision to issue another weekly meeting to the Club, not withstanding that there are two other tracks an hour away and are closer to about another hundred to hundred and fifty greyhounds.

I think the 305m is a bit `tricky' for dogs to navigate from, as it is close to the bend. Another regular trainer claimed that the 407m (with a big long back straight) was more dangerous (maybe because of increased speed ?).

Even though Mr Mestrov has indicated that there will be no more correspondence entered into when it comes to more tracks operating during this sensitive time, the Southern Region has four tracks to use, but the Northern Region has one. Maybe there are more greyhounds down that way, but I have illustrated that there are about eighty to hundred dogs which normally race over the border (or at Lismore) that cannot be taken over it because of the current restrictions, and there are about a hundred to a hundred and fifty greyhounds in the catchment area. They'll just have to race at Grafton for the time being.

Some might just think, "bad luck", but is it bad luck ? Apparently, they're still trialling at Lismore.

Anyway, it's good to see Maitland operating. Common sense prevailed in the Hunter Region.

Stay safe and remember, this virus is a killer.


Mark Donohue
Australia
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Dogs 6 / Races 0

07 Apr 2020 09:41


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Common sense has again prevailed.

EXTERNAL LINK



Bruce Teague
Australia
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Posts 1864
Dogs 0 / Races 0

08 Apr 2020 01:54


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Mark,

Good points.

Safety over the 400s - as measured by falls and interference - is worse than the Australian average at all three Northern Rivers tracks, particularly at Casino which has no straights at all.

I think your suspected "increased speed" - or high speed - is right on the money. Over the major distances at virtually all tracks the 5sec/8sec run to the first turn mandates that dogs will be at their keenest and fastest when they hit the turn, and they will be closer together.

A fix is not easy to fathom. One veteran trainer (no longer with us) once suggested to me that they should build tracks with a rise on the approach to the first turn. I see the point but I have my doubts because, rise or not, they still have lashings of energy left to counter the rise.

Another, possibly more practical option, is to make that area slower than at present - ie softer, deeper loam - more along the lines of many American tracks. Combining that with wide sweeping turns might do the trick.

A further option is to locate the boxes a good 12sec away from the turn. In covering that ground the field tends to spread itself out over a bigger area, thereby reducing the chances of dogs bumping and shoving. A classic illustration is Bulli 515m where interference is generally lower than for 400m or 472m.

Those 515m boxes are essentially on the track proper but at other locations where the layout is tighter it is still possible to push the boxes off the track into mini-shutes, thereby creating 410m, 420m or 430m races (or something longer than 280m at Wenty). Still not perfect but better.

Digressing a bit, the new 340m at Bulli appears to show a reduced level of interference compared to 400m races. One start is ON the bend (= lower early speed), the other is just before it and so allows the dogs to move up to near top speed just as they hit the bend.

Similar but different are the typical 600s on circle tracks where the number of falls is smaller but the incidence of interference is high. Again, the early movement is at less than top speed but collisions are the rule as they try to turn left.

Extra help could be available by constructing wider boxes or putting more space between each box - thereby encouraging fast/moderate/slow starters to find their spots earlier and with less interference. But that is a somewhat different subject.

Whatever the best answer, do not start cutting away the rail as has occurred at Wenty, Maitland, Launceston and the old Cannington. None of those have worked well. They just made life harder for the dogs.



Patrick D'Arcy
Australia
(Verified User)
Posts 186
Dogs 3 / Races 0

08 Apr 2020 16:30


 (2)
 (0)


Bruce Teague wrote:

Mark,

Good points.

Safety over the 400s - as measured by falls and interference - is worse than the Australian average at all three Northern Rivers tracks, particularly at Casino which has no straights at all.

I think your suspected "increased speed" - or high speed - is right on the money. Over the major distances at virtually all tracks the 5sec/8sec run to the first turn mandates that dogs will be at their keenest and fastest when they hit the turn, and they will be closer together.

A fix is not easy to fathom. One veteran trainer (no longer with us) once suggested to me that they should build tracks with a rise on the approach to the first turn. I see the point but I have my doubts because, rise or not, they still have lashings of energy left to counter the rise.

Another, possibly more practical option, is to make that area slower than at present - ie softer, deeper loam - more along the lines of many American tracks. Combining that with wide sweeping turns might do the trick.

A further option is to locate the boxes a good 12sec away from the turn. In covering that ground the field tends to spread itself out over a bigger area, thereby reducing the chances of dogs bumping and shoving. A classic illustration is Bulli 515m where interference is generally lower than for 400m or 472m.

Those 515m boxes are essentially on the track proper but at other locations where the layout is tighter it is still possible to push the boxes off the track into mini-shutes, thereby creating 410m, 420m or 430m races (or something longer than 280m at Wenty). Still not perfect but better.

Digressing a bit, the new 340m at Bulli appears to show a reduced level of interference compared to 400m races. One start is ON the bend (= lower early speed), the other is just before it and so allows the dogs to move up to near top speed just as they hit the bend.

Similar but different are the typical 600s on circle tracks where the number of falls is smaller but the incidence of interference is high. Again, the early movement is at less than top speed but collisions are the rule as they try to turn left.

Extra help could be available by constructing wider boxes or putting more space between each box - thereby encouraging fast/moderate/slow starters to find their spots earlier and with less interference. But that is a somewhat different subject.

Whatever the best answer, do not start cutting away the rail as has occurred at Wenty, Maitland, Launceston and the old Cannington. None of those have worked well. They just made life harder for the dogs.


More good sweeping tracks like the old Gold Coast or Toowoomba tracks would help lessen the interference etc


Gillian Wilcox
Australia
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Posts 97
Dogs 1 / Races 0

08 Apr 2020 21:58


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If you were really worried about interference we should have to nominate whether the dog is a wide runner railer or middle runner together with a straight run to the turn and then there would be limited interference.The main trouble is at the start of the races when the boxes open and dogs go in and out .As for the 515 at bulli that is a death trap it is not a straight run to the turn you have to deal with dogs piling up before they hit the straight proper miss the start a bit and you in trouble or if you are drawn wide you will not get around them 472 is a great start and distance.


Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

08 Apr 2020 23:52


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Gillian,

Like I wrote, there are advantages and disadvantages at most tracks and some distances. Bend starts will cause interference, as do bends themselves. That's the nature of the beast. Some dogs get around the traps better than others.

Even with all the money that has been `pumped' into race tracks, there is still interference.

Straight track racing ? Interference.
(Maybe there they can put all the wide running dogs in Box 8).
Lure on the outside rail ? Interference.
Finish On? Interference.
Twin Lures? Interference.
Six dog fields ? Interference.
Grass or Loam ? Interference.

Big `sweeping' one turn tracks look to be ideal and Murray Bridge looks great.

The safest surface to race on is arguably `grass', but weather and usage play major roles. Loam is not all-weather as it was once made out to be.

If tracks don't cost much to keep, while dispose of them? For example, if Coonabarabran, a grassed track, is being supported by its local government and upkeep is low, why change it? We're seeing people complaining now because 150 nominations are being squeezed into 100 spots. We have to keep these non-TAB tracks opened for our `slower' and `less competitive' dogs. Authorities want them to race longer so they have to have tracks and meetings to race them. It's a disservice to the industry to `contract' it when the 'product' is still available to be used. In years to come grass tracks are likely to be lost forever. Complete madness!

Due to the flexibility of racing these days, meetings can be transferred to another track rather quickly.



Bruce Teague
Australia
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Posts 1864
Dogs 0 / Races 0

08 Apr 2020 23:58


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gillian wilcox wrote:

If you were really worried about interference we should have to nominate whether the dog is a wide runner railer or middle runner together with a straight run to the turn and then there would be limited interference.The main trouble is at the start of the races when the boxes open and dogs go in and out .As for the 515 at bulli that is a death trap it is not a straight run to the turn you have to deal with dogs piling up before they hit the straight proper miss the start a bit and you in trouble or if you are drawn wide you will not get around them 472 is a great start and distance.


Gillian,

Yes, the 515m start does have a box bias due to the slight bend there. But, as a principle, I was trying to illustrate the benefit of a longer run to the main turn - ie 12.5 sec. In any case, that small bend could be eliminated by my other suggestion - that you build a mini-shute. It would not be a big deal and would be a worthwhile innovation.

Statistically, falls are not too common at Bulli, but interference for 400m and 472m is way higher than for 515m. In my view, that is prompted by the 80m cutaway leading into the turn proper. That was a bad idea included in the post-flood re-build. All such cutaways force the dog to handle a turn-before-the-turn at a time when they have other things on their minds. So there is always a percentage that runs off or edges to the right, causing others to get spat out the back.



Bruce Teague
Australia
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Posts 1864
Dogs 0 / Races 0

09 Apr 2020 00:34


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Patrick,

"More good sweeping tracks like the old Gold Coast or Toowoomba tracks would help lessen the interference etc"

I loved Toowoomba - a great loss. Not so much GC.




Bruce Teague
Australia
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Posts 1864
Dogs 0 / Races 0

09 Apr 2020 08:17


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Mark,

No doubt that interference is a permanent feature of any greyhound race. It’s the in the nature of an ultra quick animal which is not particularly stable in company due to its high centre of gravity. The harder question is whether and how that interference can be reduced. The aim should be to minimise it, partly by training (small) and partly by eliminating the en route obstacles (high).

Of your half dozen areas, I would set aside three. First, finish-on is a different subject with different objectives and not specifically related to the normal race. Second, straight track racing is an ideal candidate for seeding boxes according to running habits – let that discussion proceed on its own. Trials would be a great way to go. Third, grass or loam would be less important than the shape of the track and the other equipment in use.

There are advantages of an outside lure but it is probably not a feasible option as it would require billions to convert all Oz tracks and re-train the dogs.

Six dog fields – I am dubious about this as fields typically tend to divide themselves up into fore and aft sections anyway and interference still occurs in both. Still, it would be good to see worthwhile data coming out of SA (or anywhere else) on both interference and turnover.

Twin lures (or any other sort) – plenty of anecdotal evidence, all coming from one or a couple of dogs out of some trainers’ kennels, but to date I have seen nothing concrete for a large sample size.

This leaves us with the actual shape of the track and the gradients in each part of it. In theory, that’s what UTS is studying now and where changes were made at Horsham or in the construction of Murray Bridge. I have minor problems with both but I would not quibble about it.

Elsewhere, we have pretty good circuits at Hobart (and perhaps Devonport) and at the new Cannington (bar the 600m) while Mandurah seems to work well. Angle Park also improved when they remodelled the boxes, plinth and first turn a few years ago. All these warrant study.

As for “pumping in money” – in excess of half a mill has been spent on each of Casino, Gosford, Gardens, Richmond, Bulli, Dapto and Goulbourn, all producing or repeating previous errors and all done by unqualified people without research. GRV also spent a pile of money in rebuilding several middle distance starts but all were dumped on to a disruptive nearby turn. Let’s hope better advice is available in the future.

Lastly, I would strongly support maximising the number of NSW tracks (non-TAB or not) that can be fitted in to the budget. Quite apart from racing, they tend to spread the good word more widely. We need the whole population on board.

Most of this stuff will have to be put on ice for the next 12 months but now would be a good time to start planning for it.




Bruce Teague
Australia
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Posts 1864
Dogs 0 / Races 0

10 Apr 2020 07:13


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I forgot one point.

Whatever else, I check all the race videos I can when a fall occurs - ie looking for causes.

By far the most common factor is when dog A is trying to move up thru the field, tangles legs etc with dog B, and over it goes. By definition, more of that will occur in the back half of the field than at the front.

The second major cause of falls is at the first turn when one or more dogs move off unpredictably and all runners are unstable to one degree or another.

Simultaneously, up front dog C is trying to head off the leader, dog D, in order to get to the bunny first. That can promote interference (or fighting) but usually not a fall.

Obviously, there are all sorts of variations to this scenario.

Given a prime aim is to keep them apart if possible, all of the above is helped if the track shape is smooth and a wider located lure is present. Toowoomba and good old Cessnock met the first requirement but not the second. The upcoming Traralgon has a similar advantage although I don't much like it for other reasons.



Sheldon Hamilton
Australia
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Posts 17
Dogs 0 / Races 0

10 Apr 2020 10:26


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Bruce said.... A further option is to locate the boxes a good 12sec away from the turn. In covering that ground the field tends to spread itself out over a bigger area, thereby reducing the chances of dogs bumping and shoving. A classic illustration is Bulli 515m where interference is generally lower than for 400m or 472m.

Spot on Bruce this is how the J shape at Traralgon was going to be built. The longer run in would in most races sort positions before Going into transition.




Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

24 Apr 2020 01:32


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Wow !

About 200 dogs were nominated for each of The Gardens Meeting for tonight and tomorrow night. Only 88 spots for each night that includes an extra race on each card (now allowing 11 races, which is good). Maitland received about 110 nominations for 88 or so spots (11 races too). Don't know if same dogs nominated for both meetings or all three meetings and multiple distances, but that is one hell of lot of dogs not racing. A friend of mine can't get a run with his maiden for the second week running.

I think it's time for GRNSW to have another review, to open up another track (Gosford) or the MNC even if it is non-TAB. Wauchope is almost ready to operate TAB proceedings anyway. I don't know how other regions are fairing. Can anyone enlighten us?

Monday at Grafton had about 137 nominations. Again, don't know if dogs were nominated for different distances and whether they are recorded in the total number. I know that there isn't much wrong with Casino. I was told last week that there was only one person affected with Covid-19 in the town of Casino, but no spectators can attend the track anyway. Interesting times ahead.


Pauline Moran
Australia
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24 Apr 2020 03:43


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Bruce you keep on banging on about wasted money spent at Richmond, for your information in 1999 when the track was converted from grass to loam and the transition turns were put in that is the last structural work that has been carried out at the track and I will also add that it was funded by the Richmond Club, initially through a loan from GRA then repaid to GHRRA with the sale of a parcel of the Club's land which incorporated most of the area of the back straight of the trotting track.


Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

27 Apr 2020 02:17


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I sent this email to the CEO.

Hi Big Tony,
Can you explain how we are going financially considering we were in a deficit at the end of the FY 2018-2019? Is turnover up or down with our sport?

Also, how many emails do you get per day or week in relation to these updates?

Much appreciated,

Also, I sent an email to Graders re: new Racing Calendar for 2020-2021 seeking clarification on where they will be racing on MNC i.e. Taree and/or Wauchope (26 meetings). It's not before time. MNC was supposed to get TAB Status when Gunnedah received it and they've been racing for at least a couple of years. Even Temora received it before MNC. See the pattern ?




Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

27 Apr 2020 06:19


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The Grader responded by email. The CEO’s response is in the Q and A section, but I never asked the CEO about Taree or MNC. Thank you to Grader n Big Tony. Now awaiting other answers to Qs asked of the CEO.

A: In the release today of the draft 2020/21 race dates, you will see that we have slated 26 Wednesdays for Mid North Coast venues. At present we have approved Taree for TAB racing, and as such have worked with the club to bring the venue – not simply the track – up to TAB standard. We will be continuing to look at other options for TAB racing in the region.


Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
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29 Apr 2020 03:54


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You better check the proposed 2020/2021 Calendar because there are changes. Express your concerns / points to Grading_d@grnsw.com.au


Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

01 May 2020 01:51


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I just sent this email to GRNSW. I hope it gets answered.
Quote

Hi Tony,

There is no reason that I can see, that we can't start conducting more meetings in regional towns. Victoria (GRV) and Queensland conduct meetings at their city tracks. We have flattened the curve and regional towns have been less susceptible to coronavirus than cities, so what is the delay ? As long as you keep some of the restrictions, the only thing stopping more racing and giving dogs a chance to race, is GRNSW.
End Quote

I just realised I could have included S.A.




Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

01 May 2020 23:01


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GRNSW responded to my question. Courtesy of GRNSW and thedogs.com website, see the answer below.

Quote

A. One of the main reasons behind the restrictions was to limit travel for participants as the Government had recommended and hence the regional zoning which we were the first in the country to put in place. This Government restriction hasn’t changed. Yes the curve is flattening and some restrictions have been eased, but as we saw with beaches, if think everything is back to normal and are not careful, you can do yourself, and in this instance, your industry, great damage. As far as conducting more meetings in regional towns, we are currently conducting 21 or 22 TAB meetings a week, which exceeds even what we would normally schedule outside of COVID-19.

End Quote

Though I appreciate the answer I don't necessarily agree with it. Perhaps, I should've been clearer and deeper with my question? I didn't suggest that we have an influx of `Bondi Beach Goers' to Casino or Coonabarabran Races. Keep the restrictions there until further notice. I did not suggest that participants travel around the countryside, outside of their regions. I was suggesting that we open up a few more tracks in regions so that participants can race in them so that they don't have to travel further. Yes, some are travelling further within their regions.

There would be nothing wrong with racing at Casino, Wauchope (non-TAB), Young (non-TAB), Temora, Nowra, Coonabarabran (non-TAB). Even though non-TAB tracks don't have a positive effect on TAB turnover, hence the reason why they are not racing atm, but they contribute to the social fabric of smaller regional towns and give slower dogs a chance to race. We need them because the industry would otherwise shrink, IMO by about 30% to possibly 50% and we don't get them back once they're gone. We are already seeing slower dogs racing on tracks that they can't win and place. They need that `drop in grade', back to non-TAB. Some would argue that they mightn't win at all, but at least they get a chance to race and their trainers can race at their local track.

The rest of the answer is valid even if it looks like it is scare-mongering. Thanks Tony and Co.


Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

07 May 2020 02:03


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I was up at Grafton yesterday. It was good to see the usual faces. John Corrigan is always accommodating and he gave me a copy of the final draft of new track and amenities. Nothing is really a secret with him and will provide as much information to participants as possible.

So, as soon as the local council approves the DA they will start modifying track, etc. The final draft shows the old design (grey) inside the new design (yellow) and there are noticeable differences. The three new distances will be 350m, 450m and 650m with no bend starts.


Mark Donohue
Australia
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Posts 2768
Dogs 6 / Races 0

09 May 2020 05:05


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According to The Greyhound Recorder, Victoria is set for a bumper month of Group Racing.

At the very least, GRNSW could provide Regional Racing with $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 p/m races. Sounds familiar ?

Are we broke ? How many GRNSW and GWIC Staff have been made redundant? GRNSW (the Industry / Us) still has to pay all bills of GWIC. It's legislated. I asked Big Tony a couple of weeks ago, on how we are travelling financially, but he forgot to answer it.

Last week, we only received one (1) Q and A response after it was dropped back to bi-weekly from five a week. Bi means two (2).
Come on GRNSW, we are falling behind big time.



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