Wow – where do you start? In years to come, when doggie folk are talking about the 2019 Star Sports/ARC/LPS Greyhound Derby, the third round stage will feature highly – writes Floyd Amphlett.
Sadly the arrival at the party of Droopys Verve with a stunning 29.14 run with Clonbrien Prince not far behind (29.19) will not be the biggest memory for all bar connections. Nor the very sad disqualification of Sue Watson’s prolific open winner Swift Jim. Nor the dead heat for third place that would have seen either King Sheeran or Front Edge failing to go into the quarter finals – depending on the call of a coin toss or re-run.
The star was actually the GBGB’s Senior Steward who Paul Illingworth who was thankfully in attendance. The former assistant racing manager was left to square two rules of racing which, when combined, created an enormous loophole with huge consequences.
Basically – rule 91 – which we might refer to as the “Camira Flash” rule came about when the Duke of Edinburgh’s runner finished fourth in the 1968 Derby semis but was promoted to the final as a result of another runner, Not Flashing, being contentiously disqualified for fighting. Such was the outrage at the perceived ‘fiddling’ to get Prince Philip’s runner to the final that it created huge resentment among greyhound folk. Hence rule 91 which basically says, eliminated dogs cannot be promoted as qualifiers, has resulted in numerous empty traps in big race finals.
Moving onto rule 90. It dictates that in the event of a dead heat, connections can either opt for a coin toss, or re-run (if no agreement, the track draw lots) with the loser standing by as reserve. So a simple decision. Simply have the coin toss, or run-off, and the loser goes through anyway. Except it wasn’t that simple. . .
Nottingham director Nathan Corden said: “The problem comes because of seeding. King Sheeran is a wide runner. If he had lost the coin toss or re-run, he couldn’t have gone into the empty trap (as per rule 73) because Swift Jim was a railer and he is a wide runner. I thought Paul Illingworth was excellent to apply common sense. How sickening for everyone involved had Sheeran potentially not been able to take part.
“I feel very sorry for connections of Swift Jim. What a terrible way to go out of the Derby. I know there were some people questioning Dower Rory’s part in it, but I understand that the stewards determined that he was a railer who found himself on the outside and simply wanted to get across to the rail. The majority of people I have spoken to thought the stewards acted correctly.”
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