Pete Harnden

Some people might call me crazy, in fact plenty probably will, but I truly believe that greyhound racing is at the beginning of a bright new dawn. Although the sport will never reach the heights of years gone by, I do believe that there are many reasons to be positive about what the future holds.

The ongoing battle between SIS and ARC is still in full flow and the winner is far from decided.  In the past few weeks, I’ve have received a fair few phone calls, either suggesting or demanding that trainers should receive extra financial benefits from the tracks.  To repeat what I have said previously, I think we need to show a little more patience over the next few months.  The sport has been vastly under funded, for years, not months.  In my opinion, and based on things I have learned, I think we need to sit tight for a few months more whilst this current SIS and ARC battle plays out.  Once the winner has been decided upon , the view will be much clearer and we, as trainers, will be in a much stronger position.  We will also be aware of exactly who we need to be dealing with.

It was good to see Paul Ephremsen guesting on RPGTV recently.  We owners are extremely lucky to have Paul representing us. Like Paul, I hear the same odd murmuring of discontent from the same odd doom-monger or two, and I urge him not to get too involved. And certainly not to take too much on board. To some in this industry, it wouldn’t matter how much you have achieved, or are attempting to achieve, they would still find fault. Invariably, they are among life’s losers.
On the subject of people damaging the industry, I would draw attention to the keyboard warriors who use unaccountable forums with which to vent their spleens.  Clearly people with vivid imaginations and not enough work to keep them busy.
On that subject I have been told that former GTA chairman Ricky Holloway has allegedly made some specific accusations about me personally. Given the seriousness of the content, I would like to give Ricky the chance to clarify that he did not say what is being claimed.
I am referring to an alleged three-way conversation between Ricky, Duncan Gibson of the GBGB, and trainer Mark Wallis. Within that conversation, Ricky supposedly quotes Duncan as claiming that two thirds of my retired greyhounds are euthanized at the end of their careers.  I can’t imagine how, or why they would say it because it is absolutely and categorically untrue.
I am taking that allegation extremely seriously. I have spoken to both men who recall a conversation taking place, but deny that anything of that nature was discussed.
A couple of friends have attempted to respond to Ricky on the same website but it would appear that free speech is only allowed if it suits that forum’s agenda.  Many have plenty to say, but of course, never to one’s face.
I am assuming that this is a genuine misunderstanding and that Ricky has himself been misquoted about what took place. If, not, and Ricky would like to make the allegation to me in person and witnesses, not from behind a keyboard, I invite him to name the time and place. I can promise him, I will take it from there.
Like many from the UK I will be heading over to Ireland in a couple of weeks for the final of the Irish Greyhound Derby.  It’s always a trip that I enjoy. Shelbourne is a terrific track with great facilities and an excellent management team behind it.  I’m so glad that for the good of the sport over in Ireland that the track re-opened and hopefully the sport over there can kick on to a brighter future.  Our success here in the UK is very much dependent upon the success of the sport in Ireland.
With the current uncertainty in the sport it looks like the highly successful BAGS Championship will not be taking place this year.  This will be a huge miss as it’s a competition that gives the grass roots of the sport the chance of being in the spotlight , culminating in a big day on Sky Sports with excellent prize money.
I hope that this is just a temporary blip and I guarantee that once everything has settled down I will be pushing for a similar event to be held next year.
The graders are the bread and butter of this sport and deserve their slice of the cake and their chance of being in the limelight.  On that subject, it was pleasing to see Towcester staging their recent £10,000 to the winner Graded Derby.
This was excellent sponsorship from Stress Relief UK and extremely generous of them to give up the naming rights to the competition to Towcester Greyhound Welfare.
My sincere congratulations to owner , trainer and also breeder of Chantilly Lass the inaugural winner of the competition , Mr Richard Yeates.
To summarise I would just like to once again stress the importance of staying patient for just a little while longer.  It will be in all of our interests to do so.  I’m always available for a chat whenever I’m at the track and anybody needing to talk to me can also contact me via salacresracingteam@live.co.uk