Some interesting views on the recent announcement from the IGB that they would be investing €700,000 across a range of initiatives to the sport.
The most positive reaction from those people I spoke to was in relation to the €15 to the breeder for each winner in Ireland. It wasn’t universally welcomed as it will bypass many, but I spoke to a few people who felt it would provide a positive and welcome return, while others were already beginning to tot up the winners in anticipation of an improved pay-day.
As so many greyhounds are sold to race in Britain and so many breeders have depended upon that link for many years, it won’t positively affect them unless their sales channels change.
One breeder suggested it would be of much greater benefit if the IGB paid each breeder a fee when their litter reaches 12 weeks, suggesting it should cover the costs associated with inoculations and the miscellany involved in even getting the young pups to that point.
That sounds like a good idea in many respects and would certainly stem the tide of small breeders leaving the sport, but, to my mind, it misses the point of this and almost all of the initiatives announced last week.
The biggest issue in greyhound racing right now is a lack of greyhounds in training, caused, naturally, by a lack of owners, and that is what is being addressed. You just need to look at the desperate call for entries for the Produce Stakes – a highlight of the calendar, not just in Clonmel, which may not be able to get underway on Sunday, April 24, as planned – and also the call for runners for the Gain 600 to realise how thread-bare the pools are.
Getting back on point about, young pups are a long way away from being part of the product of greyhound racing which can yield a dividend for the IGB.
By giving breeders €15 at the stage of winning races, the reward is, in effect, being given to a greyhound which has been reared, not sold to Britain, is likely being trained in Ireland and is now part of the system. In many ways it’s a clever initiative, as it encourages the breeder to either run the greyhound in Ireland themselves or find a local alternative rather than selling abroad.
The general consensus regarding the €800 per 100 runners is that it is only a bonus for the bigger players. Again, however, the aim seems the same: to encourage all players to keep a few more greyhounds. If it is successful, this will be most effective at the lower end of the market.
One thing which certainly was missing from everyone I spoke to this week was an understanding of exactly how the sales and unraced stakes will work and, consequently, there was a distinct feeling that the initiative would not work.
Naturally, the intent is to generate a market within Ireland, and to keep those greyhounds here to add to the racing pools. There seems to be a keen interest amongst greyhound folk to see how this plays out, and much credit will be due to those involved should it prove successful.
Tomorrow night in Tralee, the final of the John and Mary Killeacle Dowling Memorial 570 and the Kerry District League N1/N2 decider are the features, while the first five heats of the Lee Strand 550 also gets underway.
The remaining five heats of the €9,000-to-the-winner stake take place on Saturday night, when the Tobar Na Molt Coursing Stake final and the Listowel Coursing Club Buster Stake are the highlights.
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