I will being the 2014-2015 Fantasy Coursing preview tonight but before I do I’m taking a quick look back.
Having picked up today’s Sporting Press, I thought I’d take a look at a couple of stories that might well be overlooked. Perhaps the most interesting and hard hitting contributions at the AGM came from ICC President Brian Divilly regarding the direction of the greyhound industry.
The following comments in particular stood out:
There have been far too many political appointments to the Irish Greyhound Board down through the years with little or no regard to the competency of the said appointees to protect and grow the industry, and as such politicians have driven the greyhound industry into the ground.
Mr Divilly later clarified that he wasn’t speaking about the current board or any particular board member, but the statement is a fairly damning interpretation of what went on in the industry during the boom years.
The successful motion from Trim Coursing Club on random testing of Oaks, Derby and All Age finalists in club stakes is a particularly welcome one. It remains to be seen whether there is enough time to roll the testing out in the up-coming season. It is important that if and when random testing is introduced (and I believe it to be only a matter or time) that it is seen to be done in an above board and even handed manner and that the penalties are clear and stand up to legal challenge. To rush into testing and to make a hash of it could well make matters worse.
The most welcome piece of information to come out of the AGM report was regarding hare release figures. To quote from the Sporting Press:
DJ Histon said that 9,192 courses were run and of the 5,812 hares netted, 5,777 were released, which amounted to 99.4% the most successful number ever.
These particular figures are very pleasing and welcome and just goes to show that the hard work, time and dedication of hare husbandry teams at meetings across the country is paying off.