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Headlines Today is 24/01/2020
This rented Justracing billboard on the Pacific Highway between Yamba and Grafton promotes the three codes of racing and has been operational for about six years. It's paid in advance until early 2017 so it will be there at least another nine months. If more racing entities promoted the sport to the general public, the general public would get to see some positive advertising. Instead all the general public get to see is a plethora of bad press in newspapers and on 6PM nightly news bulletins. This website via its own resources - and without ever getting one cent from any race club or governing body for same - promotes all three codes across three main Australian highways, namely the Pacific Highway in New South Wales and both the Bruce Highway and Darren Lockyer Way in Queensland, yet I got asked to leave the Eagle Farm enclosure on Stradbroke day 2016, even though I was properly accredited. Hello.

Firstly let me say that I’ve had plenty of emails as to why I’ve made no comment on the website yet about the NSW government ban on greyhound racing that was imposed last week – effective from 1 July 2017. I decided yet again to accept the wonderful advice that my late grandmother told me about 45 years ago, when I was a bit of a fizzy teenager, namely “just count to 10 and walk away” before saying anything.

The debate is well and truly out there in the public domain and this time “mainstream media” which I regularly criticise for having “no testicular development” are on to the issue and are, in the main, backing the greyhound fraternity, so there’s nothing really that I could add to the debate at present without making negative statements about the other two codes of thoroughbreds and harness racing, so it’s best that I don’t get involved at this point. I’ve continually stated over many years that the only reason websites like Justracing and Letsgohorseracing continue to flourish is that “mainstream media” don’t address the real issues. So I’m just standing back and smelling the roses and watching and observing and have some ideas in the back of my mind to help the NSW greyhound industry out if need be. After all the Justracing billboard on the Pacific Highway between Yamba and Grafton promotes all three codes of racing to every motorist that has driven the road for the last six years or so.

And highly respected greyhound club administrators like Grafton’s boss John Corrigan and I have spoken on the phone multiple times over the years and it’s just the most basic blatant commonsense that the huge annual Grafton greyhound carnival will go ahead this week, in conjunction with the thoroughbred carnival that is happening a stone’s throw away. In fact I must say the NSW Greyhound Board ceasing racing for one week upon Premier Baird’s announcement last week was what I’d call “the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in my lifetime in racing”. So in essence the New South Wales State government stated they were going to shut the greyhound industry down in 52 weeks time, then the NSW Greyhound Board went so far as to take one of those 52 weeks away from the very people whose interests they are overseeing. Now that’s revolutionary thinking. You see that’s why my grandmother’s advice from 45 years ago was spot on - so it’s best that I don’t get started.

So after that rather long-winded introduction, I must say that I fancy the modern-day punter is badly in need of a harsh reality check when it comes to trying to look for “value” when betting. As an outsider looking in, it seems that the punter of today seems to just cop whatever crap is dished up to them in terms of price - and they don’t seem to have any idea of the meaning of the word “value”. The Collins Dictionary states the word “value” means, in part, “1) The worth of a thing in money or goods 2) estimated worth 3) purchasing power and 4) that quality of a thing that makes it more of less desirable, useful, etc”.

So given the definition of the word “value” it’s totally unfathomable that in Race 1 at Doomben last Saturday, punters could be knocking old ladies on walking frames out of the road to take totally ludicrous odds like $1.80 about an ordinary conveyance like Royal Tithe. On course she was officially $2.10 out to $2.30 before starting at $1.80. In Darwin she was an even more dramatic firmer and ran at $1.65. It’s history now that she never looked likely and ran a lean third. So whilst history will prove that 1) none of the 15 runners in that particular race are much good and 2) hindsight is wonderful -how any punter who had any respect for money could line up and take tomato sauce about a filly like Royal Tithe, which came into the race with form of 0-7-7, simply beggars belief. But things got even more stupid out at Doomben five races later when we got to an alleged “Open company” race over 1630 metres. Hi Son had around $6.50 bet about his chances when markets first went up on Thursday and even that price looked thinner than a boarding house scrape of butter odds. But as it turned out they were nearly double the horse’s starting price of $3.40. Some “experts” were even tipping Hi Son to win the race, off a CV that would have to rank with about the worst CV of any horse racing around Australia on the day. The simple facts and realities about Hi Son as he headed off to the barrier last Saturday were that he 1) hadn’t won a race anywhere in the preceding 21 months and 2) he’d been placed just once in his previous 16 starts for two different trainers. Furthermore Hi Son is also a horse that I’d say “generally over-races”, so another query was whether the horse would settle in the run for a three-kilo claiming apprentice who has only recently been granted approval to ride in the city. Yet off a woeful CV like that, bookmakers on course offered $3.70 and punters with more money than sense backed the horse to run at $3.40.

And in the race prior to Hi Son’s, what I’d call “punting madness” set in again when punters backed Code Noir into an odds-on starting price of $1.95 from the $2.50 that was offered by on-course bookmakers. How could 6/4, or later odds-on, be “value” about a horse that 1) hadn’t won a race anywhere for 16 months, 2) hadn’t started for 69 weeks and 3) had had a wind operation in that 69-week period. Additionally if the stable had such a sensational opinion of the horse how come in his two career wins before Doomben last Saturday he’d started at 6/1 (Maiden win) and 7/1 (Doomben Open 3YO win).

So punters need to assess – before they put their hard earned on – not after it, whether the equine or canine athlete they are about to back represents “value” at the price they are going to take.

Today on guest correspondent Bernard Kenny looks at Newgate’s stallion roster in the upcoming season.

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