One Of The Favourites Bites The Dust…

| May 2, 2018 | Reply

I’ve got something a little bit special for you today with the third in a brand new series of articles from a true sporting insider.

Our man, known as ‘The Grader’, is a former bookmaker and greyhound racing grader and current greyhound racing owner…

His dog is entered for the Greyhound Derby this summer and he is going to share every step of the journey with the Betting Rant.

I hope you enjoy it and, as always, if you have any questions or feedback you can reach us at

Matt Houghton

P.S. If you’d like apply insider secrets to your own betting then take a look at this.

The hot topic: Exclusion or Expulsion?

Over the years the Greyhound Derby has been run in a variety of formats.

Though always over a distance of four bends of the oval track constituting somewhere around 500 metres or 525 yards, it is the method of entry which concerns us today…

The current penchant for an almost open entry has not always been the case. Whilst always the pinnacle of the sport and therefore the biggest race in the sport in that sense, the size of the competition’s field was historically much smaller.

When entries to any open race are restricted either to invited dogs only or by the size of the competition which can be accommodated, Racing Managers and their ilk have decisions to make as to who will run.

Let’s take an example which will happen almost weekly in most racing offices…

A minor open race is advertised in the Calendar, as discussed last time, and the race receives five entries by the closing date – a classic case of a race ‘not filling’ as it is called.

In this example a Racing Manager might look around the top of his own graded strength, identify a greyhound which might be available and call the trainer as to whether that dog might be entered.

Of course this all depends on the current relationship the racing office has with that particular trainer and believe me that ebbs and flows over time. In general however this is the best solution all round.

The problems begin to occur when the opposite situation presents itself. A minor open race with six places available for which there are eight entries! Now two trainers have to be told they have not been accepted.

I used to hate these telephone calls… they tend to elicit earnest discussion at the very least and can damage the prospects of the trainer being willing to enter future opens at the track.

In an ideal world a Racing Manager would simply select the six best and dismiss the other two but the whole reason we have bookmakers is that opinions on this vary…

Additionally the trainer of the dog declined might have another dog in another open on the same night and be very reluctant to travel with only one competitor, it might not be financially viable and of course I understand that.

I am also sure that a certain amount of trading goes on in the style of “well I can accept you for this race if you let me have another entry for the other race which looks as if it won’t fill otherwise”. The permutations are endless.

So to the Derby and in the days of limited entry the very decisions alluded to above would have had to be made and some entries declined. With the chance of a shot at the top prize the sense of disappointment at not getting accepted must have been huge.

The paucity of repeat winners in the Derby’s history might suggest that there may be only a couple of realistic years for any particular greyhound to succeed, though to overcome all others twice is remarkable anyway.

So, at some time in the past, maybe as a means of narrowing the entry and thereby avoiding difficult decisions someone, somewhere (more informed historians than me might know exactly who and when) implemented a rule that greyhounds who had previously been disqualified for ‘fighting’ would not be eligible…

This year the Special Conditions of Entry to the Derby include the stipulation that “Greyhounds who have been disqualified for deliberate interference will not be accepted.” They are thereby excluded.

The reason this is such a hot topic as entries draw to a close this year is that it affects one King Turbo…

This dog was disqualified at Swindon in July 2017 and is therefore not eligible to run in this year’s Derby. There is no doubt of the quality which Turbo possesses, indeed at least one major bookmaker installed him ante-post favourite for the Scottish Derby which doesn’t have a corresponding exclusion clause…

Ok, so he didn’t win, but tellingly he did win at Towcester, the Derby’s home in the Astute Electronics Gold Cup Final on 24th March this year.

We could have expected Turbo to be a major player in the Derby and of course fans want to see the best dogs run in the best competitions.

Is it better to exclude altogether those greyhounds who have previously transgressed or should they simply be eliminated from the Derby if they reoffend?

Under the rules of racing a repeat offender MUST be eliminated and debarred from all GBGB racing thereafter… Is it worth the risk that a repeat offender impedes a greyhound with a genuine chance in the competition and spoils the sport’s showpiece event? I am in two minds about this one.

Some weeks ago Rab McNair was in the RPGTV studio and this question was raised. Rab previously held a professional trainer licence but describes himself as just a kennelhand now, as it is his wife Liz who is officially the trainer of King Turbo…

A caller suggested that it was “a farce” that King Turbo could not run in the Derby but Rab insisted it was not a farce at all. I was impressed with his attitude in that regard and I tend to agree with him…

If the rule is there then we all know where we stand – what would have been a farce is if there had been rumour and counter rumour as to whether the dog would participate or not.

Will the rule still be there next year? I suspect it will because once the competition gets under way a few might ask themselves how King Turbo might have fared but most will be engrossed in the spectacle as it unfolds.

Best wishes,

The Grader
Betting Rant



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