Gone to the dogs

Expansion and renovation continues either side of the stand and banners laud the forthcoming Carnival. The dogs, it would seem, are back in vogue.

Greyhound Racing is obviously gearing up for a special month, maybe even a break in to some mainstream media…be careful what you wish for.

Clearly, on evidence of what I saw at The Meadows this afternoon, Monday’s sensational revelations blindsided GRV.

The loyal cluster at Broady for today’s weekly Wednesday arvo meeting don’t seem a Four Corners kind of crowd anyway – more Four’n’Twenty (and dimmys and chips). They’d likely grown up on a Monday night diet of Olympic Park dogs rather than ABC’s “pale pinkies” programming.

As always, the lure goes around and the hounds, as is their wont, chase.

Serious analysts do speedmaps and time charts. In pubs they see the red/the check/the white etc.

Today’s events, apparently, feature some Maidens for pups with ambitions on some rich prizemoney in the next month.

Just days ago this sense of anticipation and excitement permeated the “the best racing you’ve never seen”. Steady growth in turnover and profile had accompanied an advertising campaigns which targeted “middle Australia” – no Sport of Kings pretentions here. Ricky Ponting and your average suburbanite. Darryl Kerrigan would be “as proud as punch”.

Now this same demographic is getting both barrels from the Herald-Sun. Talkback radio is joyfully outraged and demanding action. No one, of course, can defend the allegations. Illegal and immoral. Sure, it was not necessarily groundbreaking to declare that some malpractice and live baiting existed – past and probably present – in “the game”, but peak time footage involving the pointy end of participants is different to muttered maybes. Leading trainers are facing bans, perhaps jail. Top officials are being implicated.

Stories can and do blow over but this could be a terminal blow.

Major sponsors are jumping ship. The controlling bodies and the Government are being proactive – initiating change, promising retribution. Reminding the public that most of the Industry is similarly repulsed. But this mud will stick. The stench is back on the poor old dishlickers.


(btw… the winner of R3 today, Angie Rocks, looks a future feature star. Be told!)


  1. My paternal grandad was a gentle and retiring man. A man with eyes full of disappointment and lost hopes. But those eyes always lit up when he told me about Twisting Jenny and how he was robbed of the Great Northern. It was one of the big races on the live coursing circuit in SA in the last century. It was a knockout tournament for 64 dogs. A series of 6 match races to find the champ of the Mid North. A long paddock with fences on 3 sides that a rabbit/hare could get through but not a dog. The judge followed the dogs on horseback and gave a point when a chasing dog turned the rabbit – making it change course to evade becoming dog dinner. Grandad said Jenny wasn’t the quickest dog but she was very smart and could sit on a rabbit’s tail making it turn without catching it. In the final the starter got nervous and ‘slipped’ the dogs too soon (maybe it was a fix?) before the rabbit had gone far. The quick dog chased it straight out the side fence after a hundred yards before Jenny had a chance to get on its tail. Grandad lamented what might have been for the rest of his life. A win with the generous stake and ten pounds at 100/1 ante-post would have bought a house in the Depression. Perhaps an omen for my punting career. To my memory the annual Waterloo Cup live coursing for greyhounds continued into the 1970’s in SA.
    Grandma cooked rabbit for us every week. When we moved to the country I would trap them in metal spring jaws and she would skin them for the plate (so long as their eyes weren’t green with myxy). Trap or myxy they had an agonising death, but the alternative was letting them erode the farming land with their burrows.
    Rub out the trainers that broke the rules by all means. But when did we get so precious and ruled by the inner city lovies and the media frenzy? People break the rules to get an edge and make a quid? Cobalt, team driving and live coursing? Caveat emptor.
    As Captain Renault said in Casablanca “I am shocked, truly shocked, to find gambling in this establishment”.

  2. G’day Crio, i could only watch parts of the program. i’ kept needing to leave the room, then i’d come back again to watch snippets before hvaing to again turn away. It is disgusing to believe people can act like this.

    I rarely bet on the dishlickers, primarly placing win bets on the Pink greyhounds in February ,as when they win it y raises money for the Jane McGrath foundation re breast cancer, a good cause. However the role of greyhound racing in raising money for this is now sulleyed by watching these revelations .

    For those responsible for these horrendous actions of , a jail sentence, with life time bans from any link sto greyhound racing must be mandatory. I’t would be good like to see the ‘sport’ halted until justice has been done. That is the least that can be done re this horrific behaviour.

    By the way Peter B am i an inner city lovie, because i find this practice abhorent. My maternal family is from the bush where rabbit and duck shooting is a way of life we have always accepted, and enjoyed. If feeling disgusted seeing animalls tied up to be mauled to death makes me an inner city lovie in your world, so be it.


  3. Glen, I didn’t watch 4Corners. Can’t figure why you didn’t switch it off. The problem with TV “sensationalisms” is they have to choose impact footage. Looked like it worked.

  4. Valid point Crio, but 4 Corners is always a show i rated higly. i can’t put it any comparision to junk like Today Tonight, or whatever Willisee’s show is called now. True, sensationalism sells, but to see and hear this was disgusting. I’ve never been a big fan of the dishlickers, but this shocked me. Fair enough it’s only a minority, but these types must be stamped out, and once so, hopefully greyhound racing can cler the mess.


  5. I used to love the dish lickers but it wasn’t the live baiting (which is an abhorrent practice but is about policing) as much as the way slow pups and retired racers are just discarded that made me stop paying attention. The figure is somewhere in the region of 20,000 dogs per year that never make it to racing or are retired. Around 1,000 get adopted – you can imagine what happens to the rest. That’s enough for me to switch off.

  6. Cleaners at Olympic Park used to find the odd underperforming dog in the skips on a Tuesday morning. There has been cruelty in the sport for a long time. Hopefully the greyhound racing industry gets on the front foot and makes a genuine attempt to do everything in its power to run the rogues out of the sport.

  7. many of the stories from the dogs (and trots as well) are apocryphal, but undoubtedly there’s forever been a “rogue element”.
    A bloke at work today said when he’d heard 4Corners were alleging live baiting in the Greyhound Industry, he figured next week’s breaking news would be that the sun comes up in the morning!
    Looks like they’ll take some big scalps and use the big stick long lacking – unfortunately a lot of good folk will be collateral damage.

  8. When I was a kid living in Melbourne some trainers went down for using kittens as live bait.
    I didn’t think that was right.
    It’s been happening forever.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    I don’t follow greyhound racing.
    But I figure it’s like any other sporting industry.
    Full of good people with strong ethics and ruined by a few who don’t care.

  9. Interesting that the Greyhound industry has been so proactive recently with advertising and getting people aware of it. How must Peter Donegan and Ricky Ponting be feeling now about their advocacy.

    Think Matt is right, good people being ruined by some vile cowards with disgusting morals.

    Crio, I am interested in your friends’s comment. If it is true that everyone knew, it doesn’t detract from the story, in reality it shames the sport and those running it even more if it was as widely known yet coudn’t be managed by the integrity units.

    As SEN pointed out, how can all the integrity people with a large budget at Greyhound organsiations fail to do what little ABC with hardly any money did brilliantly with hidden cameras?


  10. Most “big” sports stories are broken by journos outside the cosy sanctum.

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