Is the answer sensible?

As a 9 year old, at school, I was introduced by my teacher at the time to what she called the “five rules of problems solving”. I couldn’t for the life of me recount all five now, however, one has stayed with me. Having worked out what you believed to be the correct answer, students were required to take the final step.

Students were required to ask themselves, “Is the answer sensible?”.

In hindsight, some of the results we saw in Clonmel this year defied belief. They weren’t sensible. Ordinary physiology shouldn’t allow recovery at the rate we witnessed in Powerstown Park.

It might have been the easy thing for the ICC to cover up these positives and go on as if nothing happened. Have us believe the lie. To their credit they took action. They exposed the truth and they punished those to blame.

As it happens both the Derby and Champion Stakes winners have been stripped of their titles. With Grim Intent will go down in the record books as the Boylesports Derby winner of 2014, while Mr Blonde will go down as the Classics Club Champion Stakes winner. Six other dogs have been disqualified and the dogs they beat promoted.

Having seen Killimor Matey awarded the Irish Cup two years ago following the disqualification of Jeru Cavendish, owners and trainers alike were given a warning. Whether the punishments are stern enough is open to debate but a debate is now needed as to how the issue of doping at all levels of coursing is going to be dealt with.

To me there’s no difference between doping in Powerstown and doping in Kilflynn, Liscannor, Glin, Dundalk, Cashel or Tubbercurry. If a culture is allowed to develop and continue unchecked in duffers, Trial Stakes and Cups then we can’t be surprised when it overshadows the biggest day in the sport.

This is a wake up call to everyone involved in the sport. Action can be taken to make sure doping is stamped out or we can bury our heads in the sand and say the system work and continue as before.

A quick thought on marketing the 2014 Derby

It’s been a while since I’ve had a blog but the new season is slowly inching it’s way around again. I hadn’t meant to finish last season’s commentary so abruptly but I was waiting on confirmation of penalties arising from the National Meeting before commenting. As yet there hasn’t been any confirmation so that blog will have to wait.

What I did just want to comment on was the fast approaching Boylesports Greyhound Derby at Shelbourne Park. I have noted with a great deal of interest the recent announcement’s by the IGB that there will be a major re-branding of the Irish Greyhound industry and believe that the Board could do much worse that pump some resources into marketing their showpiece.

As a ‘doggie’ person it frustrates me when the IGB seem to spend the majority (if not all) of their marketing budget on promoting greyhound racing as a ‘night out’ without promoting the product those ‘revellers’ are meant to be at the dogs to see.

Speaking to a work colleague who keeps an eye on horse racing and would be a casual greyhound watcher on Sky or RTE recently, it became clear that he couldn’t name a greyhound. That’s a sad indictment of how the sport is currently marketed.

Perhaps that could change for the Derby. I don’t think anybody can deny that the Derby is shaping up to be potentially one of the best in years. There are some exceptional dogs who, all being well, could meet at Shelbourne in August. It mightn’t sell 1000s of seats in stadium restaurants across Ireland but to see Greenwell Hulk, Boylesports Hero or Droopys Nidge appear in newspapers, on billboards or on a TV advertisement might give the public a name to look forward to seeing when they do decide to go for a night at the dogs!