Peter O’Dowd was planning to spend Sunday January 27 grading a card. Instead, he will be at the Park Plaza accepting the Greyhound Writers’ Association Services to Greyhound Racing Award writes Floyd Amphlett.
“I am absolutely honoured, it was totally unexpected” said the big Lancastrian whose reputation for integrity, ability and humility has spanned more than 30 years on both sides of the greyhound racing divide.
The recently retired Romford racing manager first developed an interest in greyhound racing when acting as a relief betting shop manager for Corals in the early 1980s.
He said: “I developed an interest in greyhounds and used to help create the tissue for a bookmaker at Belle Vue. I applied for the job as racing manager at Prest0n and when it closed for housing, I moved onto Westhoughton and then Bolton.
“The NGRC at the time were always keen to get Bolton on board as it was the country’s biggest flapping track at the time. We started out as a permit and then became ‘full NGRC’.”
‘POD’ as he was known to the journalists was offered the job as Romford racing manager in July 1996 and semi retired in December.
He said: “Mark (Arkell) is now in charge and I am helping out two days each week, mainly training staff. That is due to continue until July when the new grandstand is due to open, and I’ll speak to Ian Smyth about going forward from there.
“I genuinely didn’t expect this award. I knew Mark wanted to go to the awards and volunteered to grade a card that day. I suppose I’ll have to buy the missus a new dress now!”
Peter O’Dowd’s award will be widely applauded across all sections of the industry. His contribution to racing office stewardship goes way beyond an ability to grade six dogs of similar ability to safely race around a track.
Peter’s reputation is built on his knowledge and professionalism but most notably his management style. In a job where his predecessors often felt it necessary to appear aloof or superior to the folk training the runners, Peter has always commanded, rather than demanded, respect from his trainers. He is approachable and open minded, but nobody’s fool.
Quite simply, Peter O’Dowd sets the standard by which all other racing managers are judged.