Calling a meeting with anti greyhound organisation?

Hi guys, I sponsored the Oaks at Swindon and hopefully will sponsor more races in 2021. But before I do I would like to clear a few things up with anti organisations to see if we can see if we can work with them to find away of over coming the things they are not happy with.

I realise that their main three concerns are:

  • the day to day welfare of the dogs.
  • injuries wile racing and
  • the rehoming of the retired greyhounds.

These are three things that I feel greyhound racing are improving. But I feel if we can work and listen to other people’s views, then more improvements may be put in place .

I feel for sure with a few ideas I have, things can be improved – which if these organisations are true animal lovers – will be glad to hear and work with.

Colin Davey (Property192)

I think most of us share your frustrations with the ‘antis’ Colin, and admire your sentiments to resolve issues, but the clue to my reservations are in your final sentence.

While I accept that the majority of people who support the ‘ban greyhound racing’ lobby are animal lovers, I have long since come to the conclusion that the motives behind the organisations that they support are altogether more sinister.

It was the American author and philosopher Eric Hoffer who said: “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business and eventually degenerates into a racket”

In my view, the main ‘anti groups’ are run by con artists using false names, dead letter box addresses, and are engaged in wholesale fraud. They preach their lies and propaganda to those too idle, stupid or gullible to learn the correct facts.

The full scale of how much money can be made in exploiting ‘supposed’ animal abuse is staggering.

One example – an American organisation exposing this type of fraud, now has confessions from the two Chinese peasants who skinned a dog alive on video. The images went global. The peasants eventually confessed that they were paid life changing sums of money for making the video.

I receive regular letters from greyhound owners with claims that scars on their dogs hind legs – almost certainly from littermates when still pups – are ‘cigarette burns to make them race’.

I will be publishing a letter later this week on a similar subject.

Who is out to gain by this rubbish?

These ‘anti’ organisations – when pushed to concede – are not registered charities. They are political lobby groups whose apparent aim is shutting down the industry. It would be interesting to see what happens next – the parasite doesn’t normally kill the host.

Yes we should engage with respectable welfare groups, specifically the Greyhound Forum, whose members include legitimate charity organisations.

Organisations like RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Battersea, Blue Cross and the rest, do not want to see greyhound racing ended, they want to see the industry honour its welfare commitments.

So do I, and I am certain that you do too.

This industry finally has superb leadership who are delivering on welfare, and judging from the recent Government response to the on-line petition to ban greyhound racing, we have their ear. If anyone, I believe Mark Bird is the person best able to speak to anti racing groups.

Like everyone in the industry, I commend you wholeheartedly for your contribution to racing in December. You backed up your promises with cold hard cash. I just ask now that you don’t give credibility to people whose sole aim is not to improve our sport, but kill it


Irish breeding

I was very interested in the Irish breeding article with the wording ‘very slow uneconomical dogs racing in England’ and the ‘breeding as halved since 2007’. Your words, not mine.

Am I surprised? Not one bit. Look at the racing in England today about 10 meetings averaging a dozen race’s every day mostly consisting of very slow uneconomical dogs from Ireland.

I still like to watch the greyhound Derby English and Irish and the Night Of Stars, fantastic racing with good dogs.

But as for graded racing well that’s another matter. Very slow uneconomical dogs racing around most of our English tracks is not what it was.

So Floyd what’s the answer? I like the Idea of more British bred races: Derby, Oaks, St Leger, British breeders competitions etc. Fantastic! Lets have more and I applaud British breeders Rab McNair and all the other small breeders who have seen the light and stopped buying these very slow uneconomical dogs from Ireland.

Lets not pretend it’s easy it’s not and I for one know it’s not but it can be done the likes of Nick Savva took on the Irish greyhounds for many years and with great success.

It can be done; so why keep buying these very slow uneconomical dogs from Ireland?

The fact of the matter is the majority of trainers have to. Maybe to keep up with their kennel strength, or being held to ransom by promoters.

In another 10 to 15 years, when the Irish breeding halves again, then we’re do we stand?

There won’t be a sport. Or there probably will – with tracks littered with very slow uneconomical Irish greyhounds which 15 years ago would not have seen the light of day.

Gary Slater

Personally, I don’t have a problem with slow dogs, British or Irish bred. Speed is relative. I see it as a ‘plus’ for the industry, that every greyhound that will chase, has a potential career.

We both know that in years gone by, certain breeders, invariably the inferior ones, would find it cheaper to dispose of a slow dog, than register, qualify and sell it.

In my view, greyhound ‘wastage’ is now, as near as dammit, zero. Breeding numbers have plummeted, slow dogs have a value, and there is a massive demand for non-chasers.

(I understand that since homefinding kennels are now scratching around for ex-racers from within Britain, many branches are now taking dogs from Ireland.)

My biggest concern is that we will simply not have enough greyhounds born.

I have never accepted that British breeding is inferior to Irish. In fact, most Irish breeders don’t think that either. They see the non chasers and slow hounds at the schooling tracks. The British owner has only ever seen the dogs that were worth the ferry trip.

Only one in ten hounds on our tracks is British bred but they punch way above their weight – and have always done.

Apart from Nick Savva and Rab McNair, what about Jane Hicks, Joe Cobbold, Theo Mentzis, Dilys Steels, John O’Brien, Linda Mullins, Henry Chalkley and so many more?

But breeders, like trainers, are an ageing and dwindling group. I would love to see more owners and trainers take a chance and produce a litter and follow the pup from the very beginning.

Because as the dog crosses the line for that big race win, the only person shouting louder than the owner is the man or woman who brought him into the world.


Owners and retirement

This year it’s wake up time for a lot of trainers who are finally realising that they are just being used by the promoters to basically run pet greyhounds until they go broke and get lost in the somewhat outrageous re homing scandal that will never change as history will tell you.

I’m so glad I’m out of the game but sadly a lot of kennel staff who devote themselves simply leave and realise there’s nothing left for them. Everybody can’t be wrong can they ??

Ray Carter

I disagree about the re-homing issue Ray. As far as I am concerned, we are heading in the right direction. In fact, I think we have reached the destination, and will improve with rising standards through GBGB accredited re-homing kennels.

Owners being asked to pay £200 ‘up front’ is better than the bad ones escaping their responsibility (and kennel bill usually) when the dog is no longer of interest to them. Good owners have always paid for re-homing, but at the end of careers.

But I do take on board the argument that owners, like you, decide to leave and never come back.

I try to take the sentiment out of the equation – difficult, I know for committed greyhound followers – but the only way that it makes absolute sense.

The betting industry are the main beneficiaries of greyhound racing, and I don’t see that changing. The tracks less so, as witnessed by the ever declining numbers. Nobody abandons a goldmine.

Sooner or later, the betting industry will have to foot the bill currently being paid by the owner.

At that point, they will come to the same conclusion as the GRA did, when they decided in the 1950s, that it was far cheaper to entice owners, than to pay for a racing greyhound from birth until the end of its career. Now they would also have to pay for its retirement too.

GBGB hold the key in recognising that their responsibility is to the industry overall, not the just promoters who are thinking no further than this month’s BAGS/SIS cheque.


Alnwick review

Alnwick Greyhounds have a review of 2020 which you may find of interest.

It is based on the good bits but ignores the losses we had with Droopys Verve , Droopys Catch , Droopys Reel and 4 or 5 more top class hound

Sandy Dixon

Hat mating

After a strangely long delay the Keightleys have put their brilliant sprinter Roxholme Hat, to Stud, with former Peterborough trainer, Richard Devenish. Hat who, according to Greyhound Data, was the most successful racer ever thrown by the great Ballymac Vic welcomes his first girlfriend, Lady Laguna, a top grade sprint winner at Central Park very shortly. She’s owned by Central Park attached trainer, Debbie Hurlock.

Chris Cashmore

Star Zooms

Just a note to say that I’m really enjoying the content of the very up to date news from GS and especially the zoom chats – the discussion all over the place about improvements to the game is most welcome and shows the game isn’t quite gone!

Well done – great effort.

Kevin Proctor

Thanks Kevin


Mad Mabel

We where lucky enough to be adopted by a greyhound in September (Gerpats Symphony). She has gone from being a quiet, timid scared at times grey to a mad, crazy loud family member – Mabel.

Donna Spurgeon

Some ex-racers adapt on day one, others take a while. Ours took 18 months to really come out of her shell. She was, and remains, a diva. Best of luck with Mabel.


Francis Nolan

My grandfather Francis Nolan was a bookmaker at Belle Vue dogs in the 30s 40s and 50s with my father Len and uncle Frank who are not with us anymore. My grandfather came from St. Helens. I wonder if you would have any information on him or how would I find any. I would be obliged as I have no such history.

Michael Nolan

Unfortunately we don’t have useful information. If any reader does, please get in touch and we will give you contact details for Michael Nolan


Standards rule

It is by coincidence that Peter’s letter and the eulogy to racing from former colleague and good friend Barry Stanton are printed at the same time. The thread that runs through both is standards.

Standards of presentation and standards of race qualification. At a time when tracks are desperate to attract customers through the turnstiles (when they are allowed) and the industry needs to grow bookmaker revenue through digital and international expansion as more UK shops close it is more important than ever to “put on a show” visually and to provide would be bettors with the form they need to forge an opinion and make a bet.

In 18 years on track every runner had 3 trials and every step up in trip meant having a trial first. There was a time many tracks insisted  you win a  trial before debuting in a race.

Prize money levels and trainer bonuses were not as high as they are now and yet those qualification requirements were universally accepted as they were the NGRC/GBGB rules in place at the time.

Does the public deserve any less now? I say to Peter – it is never the time to fight to do the bare minimum but to continually raise the bar, do all the things that best showcase the sport as a whole and brings money in for all stakeholders –  promoters, trainers and owners.

Richard Brankley

Romford camera (again!)

As Richard Brankley of SIS answers letters on this site, perhaps he could clarify the situation with the Romford camera angle?

It is by far the worst in the country, not only for the winning line but most importantly watching the dogs run. Low level and a completely deceiving angle as verified by ex commentator Steve Woodward.

Why do SIS still after some time insist on this very poor filming point?
This is doing a disservice to Romford as many people stay away from the track now because of this.

I believe it is an SIS decision as the Romford management insist that they want it moved, is this correct?
Please either re-site it or put it much higher. As I believe Richard and Gordon Bissett put it there in the first place perhaps for the patrons of Romford they could think again so we can enjoy the racing coverage again.
Joe Stevenson

Joe – this is an on-going issue about which we originally spoke to Ian Smyth, the controller of the four Entain (Ladbroke Coral) tracks. We attempted also to speak to Richard Brankley at SIS who was unavailable for comment.

My understanding is that SIS were offered a choice of three sites for the camera, and chose what they believed to be the best of the three.

Should either Ian Smyth or Richard Brankley care to challenge or clarify that view, I would of course be pleased to publish their comments.