Just lately i've become a little bit disallusioned with this great sport of ours. Firstly let me clarify that the greatest pleasure I get from the sport is watching the dogs run. The dogs were born to run and chase and to be able to watch them do this in a safe and controlled enviroment of a track is something that myself and many others enjoy. Betting on the outcome of races , pitting my wits against the bookmaker is something else I enjoy. Some people like completing crosswords or sudoku puzzles. I like studying a race and trying to find the winner. Bookmakers apply for a license which allows them to accept bets from people just like me. There is no gun to their head , this is something which they willingly apply to do. A couple of our dogs recently and dogs from other kennels attached to Nottingham have been well bet and apparently the bookmakers are concerned by this. I'm trying to recall a time when i've placed a losing bet and rang a bookmaker to complain that i've got it wrong. To the best of my knowledge I never have. One dog which I believe the bookmakers took exception too was a dog running in an A2 race at Nottingham. Now this dog was a new dog to our kennel who we felt had shown enough promise to run in an open race only the previous week. The dog had shown awesome back straight pace in this open race against a runner which one top trainer described on television as one of his most promising pups for the year ahead. Punters watch these races , they pay attention to what's going on , they form an opinion and at times invest heavily in that opinion. As previously stated bookmakers willingly pay a license fee to accept bets on the opinions formed by punters. Fortunately for the punters who on the day this particular dog raced in A2 , backed by their cash , he won his race. He won by 2 1/2 lengths. Now since the bookmakers felt so compelled to complain about losing money on this race you'd think the dog had done something wrong. Surely he must have found an extraordinary amount of time ? You'd be wrong to think that. This dog found 25 spots , this after leading at the first bend compared to the previous week when he was in behind dogs and found trouble. It seems to me that the bookmakers will allow you to lose as much as you like , they will allow punters who are betting blind to lose whatever they have in their pockets , but lose a few quid to punters who are forming an educated opinion and they will be straight on the phone to complain to the track management. I must say at this point that I feel empathy towards the situation that track promoters find themselves in when receiving phone calls like this. It's time in my view that bookmakers started behaving more like bookmakers again , and wiping their mouths and getting on with it when they find themselves outsmarted by punters who have obviously done their homework. The form afterall is there for all to see.
Greyhound racing is a very hard game these days and continues to get harder. I know that only today we've had a very nicely bred bitch come into season , Peter is in turmoil as to whether breeding her is the correct thing to do. I know he worries about the direction the sport is heading and does he want to add to that worry with a paddock full of pups from a new litter ? I can't answer that question for him and it isn't a worry I would like to have permanently on my shoulders. Sometimes I do wonder why he continues in a sport that seems so eager to continue on it's path to self destruction.
Yours in greyhound racing ,