It has been an up-and-down week in greyhound racing, the obvious positive being the end to the saga over a deal with SIS to show live pictures from Mullingar, Youghal and Tralee.
The deal, which includes international streaming rights, will show more than 1,500 races a year across the three tracks, and the possible extension of that must read as another positive.
The congratulations must go the racing managers, owners, trainers and bookmakers who went out of their way to make this happen.
It has taken a couple of years in which these people have had to commit to the process, have faith that it would work and that a deal would be forthcoming.
The work must continue but now is time for those people to see reward.
The bad news of the week came when it emerged that greyhound racing is to be banned in New South Wales by the middle of next year.
This came after an investigation revealed reports of systemic animal cruelty.
Since then much has been said, and written, and one of the more interesting articles was on the Australian Racing Greyhound website, suggesting clearing the “deadwood from bodies like the Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association” could help to “provide a fresh outlook and public image and try and persuade the public we are worthy of continuing the path of ‘reform’ we have begun in the last year.”
The IGB reacted to the news from New South Wales with a press release which stated “Bord nag Con is committed to ensuring that its regulatory and welfare controls are fit for purpose and protect the welfare of greyhounds”.
I think we ought to be able to take that for granted. Regardless of the jurisdiction, the burden of responsibility is on the ruling body of the sport and their work in such matters must be tireless, but we must also recognise the difficulty in policing it.
That in mind, there must also be an onus on everyone who puts a leash on a greyhound to understand that their actions, if untoward or pertaining in any way to cruelty to animals, have the potential to bring an entire industry to its knees.
While the referred article outlines hope for a reversal of the decision in New South Wales, this must serve as yet another shot across the bow of the sport.
On-course bookmaker Edward Donnelly believes we’ll have a winning favourite in Saturday night’s final of the Irish Laurels, at Curraheen Park.
The lightly raced Must Be Jack has improved with each round and became the third dog in the competition to break 28 seconds when running away with his semi-final, in 27.96.
That victory came from trap six but, being the sole middle seed and having a wide seed in the decider, he has to wear the orange jacket.
That’s something which Donnelly does not believe will hamper his chance.
“He is certainly the best-drawn dog in the final, and if he breaks like he did last weekend, there will be only one winner,” asserted Donnelly.
“Farloe Rumble, in four, was a Derby finalist and is clearly a great dog, but he will be moving towards the rails on the run-up and if Ela Alecko, in one, or Skywalker Manner, in two, breaks to the best of their ability, I can’t see how he can win.
“He was unable to get by Skywalker Manner last week and I think he will again struggle to do so unless he can beat him to the first bend. And then there is Rural Hawaii, in trap six. He hasn’t been flying from boxes and, regardless, he likes to run the hare rail, so shouldn’t get in the way of Must Be Jack. It’s there for him to win, as long as he traps well.”
Edward Donnelly Laurels final odds:
9-4 Must Be Jack, 11-4 Farloe Rumble, 3 Ela Alecko, 4 Skywalker Manner, 11-2 Rural Hawaii, 14 Borna Candy.
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