Being the trainer’s representative on the GBGB must rate alongside ‘nitroglycerine delivery man’ or ‘cleaner in an adult cinema’ as among the least three positions anyone would apply for. Even though it is the only one without a salary, Peter Harnden put his name forward to represent his profession and found himself on a shortlist of one writes Greyhound Star editor Floyd Amphlett.
Why for God’s sake?
Harnden replied: “Because I have some major concerns at various events that are unfolding and nobody else was prepared to represent me. Nobody was speaking up for trainers, and we saw what happened when GBGB decided to seek any trainer’s opinion when it came to deciding on the venue for the Derby. I could imagine plenty of other decisions being made in a similar way in the future and I wasn’t prepared to let that happen.”
The Nottingham trainer appreciates that his first task is to convince his fellow trainers that he is the right man for the job and is aware of several issues that hang over him on day one.
He said: “I realise that it is a poison chalice and one of the first gripes I have heard is ‘he is going to be sitting alongside (Nottingham promoter) Rachel Corden and will have to do as he is told.’ I don’t think you will find too many Nottingham trainers with that concern. Over the years Rachel and I have had some major rows, and although we have got on better in recent times, she knows that I will always fight my corner.
“There has also been some sniping about taking over from Ricky Holloway. I thought someone needed to shake it up at GBGB and Ricky certainly did that. He was a breath of fresh air. But I was hoping that he would then step aside and allow someone to come in and take a more political stance, which he never did. As a result, our views weren’t being heard”
So what are the main issues that drove Harnden to pledge himself to years of thankless trips into Central London to represent a set of peers who – on previous history at least – have been keener to whinge than play their part?
He said: “The three main issues for me are – first, the drawing up of new kennel regulations. Trainers should have a say. Secondly, the extra restrictions that the Board are apparently planning to introduce for breeders. Thirdly, of course is the whole issue of funding. The tracks are making money and continue to be funded – at the expense of trainers.”
Peter is still to take his seat at GBGB and is keen to hear from his fellow trainers as to their views and ideas. He can be contacted via his website.
+ Although he will be constrained by his obligations as a director, Peter has accepted an invitation to present a regular column on this website to enable trainers to be kept up to speed with his ideas and plans.