Letter to RPGTV

(I am pleased to publish the following letter which was sent by long term greyhound owner Tony Mann to RPGTV on Monday but was only partially read out. In Tony’s view, that editing distorted the message that he was attempting to convey. We have removed only one word, ‘secretive’, which might have implied that Ian Smyth’s appointment as a director on GBGB was in some way  clandestine or dishonest. Although I was surprised that no official announcement was made by GBGB to announce that appointment, I think it unreasonable to assume that that was sinister or in any way dishonest – Ed)

Firstly can I applaud the written article by David Mitchell in today’s Racing Post. 

Secondly can I applaud the Racing Post for publishing the said article. 

Very pleasing to see that there is some journalistic integrity left in our industry. 

It cannot have been done without some thought as to the repercussions it might incur from the powers that be. 

He states clearly and reasonably what 99% of people involved in this industry already know that the GBGB board is and has been designed to be at the very least self serving and non democratic. This has been further amplified by the appointment of Ian Smyth to the board ahead of the Arc/Entain merger and also the increased involvement of our GBGB head’s own wife in the Arc situation. 

Now before people say this is just another ‘GBGB bashing email’ it’s not meant to be that, but as an owner and a greyhound sport addict, I’m afraid these appointments and the direction they are taking our sport are very worrying. 

David Mitchell’s comment in his article and I quote “company law states that company directors must employ integrity and avoid conflicts of interest at all times” is being tested to the limit here.

I know through contact and reading social media that many owners like myself are questioning their very involvement in this sport. 

If our own governing body keep disregarding owners and trainers representatives on the board and allow this continuation of promoters and bookmaker control what incentive will be left for owners?

Tony Mann

David Mitchell will be expanding on his article in this week’s Thinking Thursday video.

After many years!

The recent edition of the GBGB calendar brought welcome news of a change to Rule 53 and Rule 195 of the Rules of Racing, which cover disqualification of a greyhound for deliberate interference.
This allows Local Stewards at tracks to announce that the running of a greyhound in a race or trial is under review for deliberate interference and as such a final decision does not need to be reached until the end of the meeting, it also allows for a trainer (or representative) to present mitigation to the Local Stewards that they may feel relevant.
The existing rules meant that a final decision had to be made almost immediately after a race or trial by the Local Stewards when they were at their busiest in the Stewards Box.
Peter Harden (Trainers Rep) has pushed for this change for sometime now, as has the Greyhound Star in an article back in February of  2019.
The rules covering deliberate interference have remained almost unchanged for decades whereas  the introduction of race replay videos has developed from the late 1980’s onwards allowing Local Stewards to be able view and discuss any incident many times,  including slow-mo and freeze frame, provided they have time to do so.
This change is long overdue and many Racing Managers from yesteryear would have welcomed it much sooner, disqualification of a greyhound will always cause much debate and consternation with some seen as ‘too lenient’ and some as ‘too harsh’ but at least now hopefully it will give people the confidence that the right decision has been made.

Simon Harris

My thanks to the widely experienced former racing manager Simon Harris (Hall Green, Wimbledon, Coventry) for his original input in the ‘DQ discussion’ and the letter above. It is such a shame that so many racing careers have been ruined by the intransigence and arrogance of the stewards  – NGRC and GBGB – in getting to this point, by suppressing the opinions of industry professionals like Simon – Ed)