Kinsley joint promoter John Curran has disputed current rumours that Kinsley trainers will be disadvantaged by new retainer contracts.
Word has emerged that a number of tracks within the Greyhound Media Group have asked trainers to sign 18 month contracts, with allegations that they will prevent trainers from racing their dogs elsewhere.
“It is simply not true”, said Curran. “As far as Kinsley is concerned, we have always had three month contracts, the main difference is the length of those contracts. That is to provide consistency for both sides. It is also true that we have told trainers who plan to race dogs at non-GMG tracks that they must give us one week’s notice. To suggest that we are preventing them from racing elsewhere is false and would be a restraint on trade.
“What we are trying to do is prevent a situation whereby the racing manager looks to the list of available runners and sees that 20 or so graders are not available because they are ‘open racing’. It is a sham. They are graded dogs, not good enough to win an open race but filling holes in open races for racing offices who don’t have enough dogs.
“This situation has been getting worse and worse due to a runner shortages. It completely devalues open races. Personally, I would have liked to see the rule changed whereby no adult dog was eligible to contest an open until it had run in an A1.”
So why can they race on GMG tracks without notification?
Curran replied: “We know that there will always be dogs that can be graded and rather than them sit on their beds for a week, we give them the chance to race at other tracks who are not looking to take our dogs. Or at least give us enough notice that their dogs won’t be available.
So what if the trainers refuse to sign the contract?
Curran said: “We told our trainers, ‘if you are planning to leave, don’t sign it’. If you would like the comfort of having that contract then you have the choice. In fact, several trainers have been asking for the contracts.
“On Sunday, when it first emerged that the bigger kennels had been offered the new contracts, we had a string of the smaller trainers demanding to know if we were getting rid of them because they hadn’t been offered one. I assured them that would never be the case and printed up some more contracts to ease their concerns.
“We only have one major open race event here each year, the Betfred Gymcrack. But open racing is fundamental to this sport and we have trainers like Jim Hayton and others who have dogs way too good to grade. Of course they have to go open racing and they do so with our best wishes.”