Pete Harnden

by GBGB Trainers Representative – Pete Harnden

I was delighted to see John Coleman elected as the owners representative on the GBGB.

I understand that the calibre of the other applicants was extremely high, and maybe down the line, they will have their opportunity. But from a personal perspective, having someone with a good sound knowledge of the political landscape is a huge plus.

I found it very hard work when I first joined the board, learning how GBGB operated. That might be understanding procedure or who was responsible for what.

As most people know, John represented trainers as head of the GTA for many years and although that was back in BGRB days, he certainly knows the time of day.

I am sure he will also understand the politics of getting anything done. It took me a while, but you can’t just get things changed by shouting about them. You can get very frustrated but you have to grit your teeth and grind out your point of view.

Although I have spoken to John, I don’t know him well. But the editor tells me that he is one of the most articulate and intelligent trainers that he has ever dealt with.

The way I see it – John’s appointment is more progress towards a more representative controlling body.

As is now widely accepted, the recent spate of hot weather has seen a spike in injuries.

As is often the case in life, when the system is under pressure it brings to light other problems that might not normally come to the surface.

I am thinking here of track veterinary facilities with the equipment and drugs that they carry.

I believe that there has been some mischief making in that regard from the usual suspects. For example, there was a recent story about a particular track having no morphine, when they actually don’t use morphine any more. They use a better, more effective, alternative.

I am hearing other reports of tracks not having adequate drugs in general, and that is a concern.

Apart from being a serious and obvious welfare issue, we also have a very important principle to challenge. It is this – I want to see the GBGB police tracks to the same standards as they do trainers kennels.

If I had a kennel sickness outbreak and didn’t have the right medicines to treat the dogs, I would rightfully be hauled in front of the stewards.

Yet how is it possible that a track vet might not have the drugs and facilities that they need? How many dogs with serious injuries would benefit from an X-ray? How many have the rights splints, bandages and drugs on hand?

I don’t know, maybe it is most. Though that certainly isn’t the feedback I am getting from my fellow trainers. To clarify the position, shouldn’t there be a check list?

A track can’t run a race or trial session without a vet in attendance. What happens if he or she isn’t adequately equipped to do their job?

I have already expressed my concerns to the Senior Steward Paul Illingworth.

I will not let this rest.