Probe into lure breakdowns
Senior officials of Greyhound Racing New Zealand were in Invercargill yesterday to find solutions to lure break downs at Ascot Park.
The lure broke down for the third time this year at the Southland Greyhound Racing Club meeting on Tuesday. When it suddenly stopped after 100m in race 11, Badja Bale crashed into and over the running rail and was badly injured. He had to be put down.
Club officials discovered a shoe had come off the rail causing the lure to lose power. However, club chairman Paul Conner said the lure problems have been different each time. He did not want to comment further, but ruled out electrical faults.
Badja Bale's co-trainer, Craig Roberts, met with other Canterbury trainers on Wednesday night to discuss the Ascot Park lure.
Thirty seven Canterbury trainers signed a letter to Greyhound Racing New Zealand stating they would not be nominating greyhounds for Ascot Park meetings until the problem lure was fixed. They also had concerns about the starting boxes, which opened early for a race on August 14. Stewards abandoned that race.
Greyhound Racing New Zealand board member Graeme Calverley, who maintains a similar Bramich Lure at the Auckland track, and racing manager Stu Cashen inspected Ascot Park's lure and starting boxes yesterday.
Cashen said he would report findings from the inspection and talks with Southland officials to the greyhound racing board on Monday.
He confirmed the Southland club was installing two new lures, with design changes, next week. Work would start on Monday to extend and strengthen existing safety fences on the track.
The fences stops greyhounds from going over the running rail.
''If they bump into the fence, they might get a bruise at worst. If they go over the rail, that's when they get injured,'' Cashen said.
Paul Conner said the lure used on Tuesday received regular maintenance.
''We're embarrassed about this as much as anyone but we have done everything possible,'' Conner said.
The club's electrician checks the lure after every race and any wire breaks are detected and fixed. The lure is tested the day before a race meeting.
''We had the Addington (greyhound lure) electrician here a month ago and he gave our lure a glowing report.''
Conner welcomed the arrival of Cashen and Calverley to help find answers to the lure issue.
The Southland chairman is disappointed the Canterbury trainers did not contact him with their concerns.
''We've heard nothing from them. It's a shame they couldn't have approached the club directly.''
New Zealand's top greyhound trainer, John McInerney, is not among the 37 Canterbury trainers planning to boycott meetings at Ascot Park.
''I'm not part of it, I don't agree with it,'' McInerney, of Darfield, said.
''What happened the other day was unfortunate and could have happened anywhere.''
McInerney added the Southland club always fronted up to any issues it had and addressed them.
''I've got no hesitation in racing dogs down there. I'll continue to do so.''
- © Fairfax NZ News