Owners Rep Blog

Owners rep blog - Perspective

First things first and all of our best wishes go out to my right hand man Kevin Perisi who suffered a dreadful heart attack a few days ago. This was totally out of the blue and an incredible shock for anyone who knows Kevin. The greyhound community is rallying round him and we all wish him a speedy recovery. He really is a top bloke and I've never met anyone so passionate about the dogs. Things like that really put life in perspective and make us reflect on what is important.

 

I had a bust week juggling work commitments and many GBGB related meetings. I met Mark Bird on Wednesday and we chatted through many of the Innovation Panel recommendations. I want to keep you updated whilst at the same time not discussing as yet to be agreed / discussed initiatives so I will be treading a fine line.

Here is my best stab at a summary of progress:

-          The green form is to be debated on a call in late September - I think we will make changes here.

-          Investigations are already taking place regarding a possible voucher scheme to cover career ending injuries. We need the costs and stats before we can formulate a plan and discuss ideas. I'm delighted this is underway.

-          We think the best way to progress our idea of a centrally managed syndicate scheme is to produce a detailed costing plan to run a 2 stadium test. I've been tasked with developing this idea into a detailed plan so we can present it to the board.

-          Rachel Corden has offered to present our Owner VIP ideas to the RCPA (Race Course Promoters Association) Also the same goes for our ideas re how tracks should promote ownership - I just need to get them into a presentable format

-          Monthly communications - my blog is now live as you know. I expect some other GBGB Directors to also have blog pages soon. We can't do a monthly newsletter yet due to lack of email addresses but this should happen next year. I'm encouraging other board members to appear on RPGTV. There is an intention to have a closed Facebook page for the industry (not just owners)

-          The issue of track surfaces and best practice is due to be discussed at the board meeting this week. I am in favour of an independent body being appointed to run this element. We are also debating how the public injury stats will be announced.

-          Mark is in favour of us producing some standardised contracts for owners / trainers / syndicates / stud keepers so this will be briefed

-          There are plans for registrations to be on an online system in 2018 - the system is called Analogue

-          A rule change is already in circulation for an appeal system for dogs marked 'awkward'

-          I have been invited onto the racing committee so I will be able to discuss the idea of an additional kennelling time being added to race meetings, as well as discussing the idea of minimum levels of prize money for televised races

-          We agreed to put any discussions of a PR agency / strategic PR plan into 2018 and focus on some of the initiatives above

-          Mark and I are both keen to start the conversation regarding how the board develops a strategic plan - we may need the help of an external consultant to do this properly

-          Training - apprentice scheme is being investigated and a meeting is booked in Birmingham this week (via one of my friends who is in that training world)

So I'm happy that a bit of momentum is building.

 

In other news I had independent meetings with Clarissa Baldwin (ex Dogs Trust), Lisa Morris-Tomkins (GT) and Joe Scanlon (BGRF and Bet Fred) last week. The list of topics we discussed was endless and included the need for transparency re injury data, track safety, welfare implications of growing owner numbers, strategies to increase demand for greyhounds as pets (to me this seems like a penalty kick when there are 8m pet dogs and we only need to find a tiny percentage of those to become greyhound owners) as well the very public media rights battle.

 

On a personal note my recently formed Lionheart Syndicate have Black Farren through to the semi-finals of the Boylesports Irish Derby. He's got a good draw and we are just one step away from a lifelong dream of reaching a derby final. We formed the syndicate and bought him 2 weeks before the Derby started. See syndicates do work!

Talking of the Derby - terrible news that Claire's Rocket won't be taking his chance in the other semi. He was one of the fastest dogs I've ever seen and the competition is not quite the same now that he's gone. A lucrative career at stud is assured though.

Dave Lawrence has agreed to represent owners on the Rules Committee. Dave is such an enthusiastic owner and he was delighted to step forward.

I am unable to attend the GBGB Board meeting this week - but I will report back when I hear back on what was discussed.

Thanks and good luck.

Paul