Owners Rep Blog

Owners rep blog - A timely advert for syndicates

As I write this blog I’m on the eve of travelling out to Dublin with most of the Lionheart Syndicate members to cheer on Black Farren in the Irish Derby final. Getting a finalist is 100% on my bucket list and quite frankly, I’m struggling to think about anything else.

More importantly for me, it is perfect timing because next week I’m drafting my proposal for a centrally managed syndicate initiative and what better way to show what fun syndicates can be! The Lionheart syndicate was only formed a few weeks ago and with 13 members it made the prospect of acquiring a great dog so much more affordable for the members. And the buzz and banter and bond we’ve already formed, helped by a busy Whatsapp group for the syndicate is priceless.

As you may well know I have a vision of a centrally managed syndicate scheme aimed at forming new syndicates all around the country, which could be one of the big fixes this sport needs. Next week I will be writing a detailed proposal and costing for the Board to consider for a test scheme focused on 2 tracks with the aim of setting up around 80 new syndicates across the 2 localities.

The GBGB had a board meeting last week but I was unable to attend due to being on holiday. I have yet to have been de-briefed but once I have I will report back on any hot topics.

In other news, I attended my first BGRF board meeting this week. Richard Lang and Mark Bird also made their debuts. One pressing task is to consider how any new money coming in from online businesses will be spent. I will be beating the drum for some of the initiatives I’ve mentioned in previous posts – specifically some sort of voucher scheme for injuries, a syndicate scheme and investment in a PR campaign, specifically aimed at boosting demand for greyhounds at pets. There are 8 million dog owners out there – we only need to convince a few thousand of them to consider a greyhound as a great pet and that would be a huge leap forward for us and take the strain of the system. That’s my view anyway.

The meeting also reaffirmed my view that if only we had a collective vision/strategy/plan to grow the sport, the discussion with bookmakers may be so much easier. If only we were presenting them with plans about what investment they should be making to help us make a mutually beneficial vision come to life. If we all shared an end goal of boosting the sport and ultimately significantly boosting betting turnover then we’d all come out on top. My own view is that any future strategy should focus on maximising the opportunity of betting via tablet and mobile. That’s surely where the money is, which could then be re-invested in the live product. Watch this space.

Myself, Paul Millward and Kevin Ackerman (accompanied by Enzo from Sky) visited Yarmouth Stadium this week, specifically to see how their welfare initiatives work. This was my first visit to Yarmouth. It’s a family run business and its one of the best experiences I’ve had at a dog track for a long time. The grandstand is impressive, the food and service was great. And the professionalism of the whole team really stood out. In terms of their care initiatives – they take their responsibilities for the greyhounds very seriously. Any badly injured dog is whisked away in the stadiums ‘ambulance’, cared for by a vet over-night and the costs of the vet care is covered by the track. We will need to consult with these guys on best practice if we are able to secure a budget next year for a similar type of industry-wide scheme.

It was a shame to see that Stuart Forsdyke has decided to step down from his Breeders role. I hope the politics of the sport didn’t wear him down.

Kevin Perisi is making slow and steady progress and on behalf of us all and I again wish him well. I will be in touch with a few of the guys he’s asked to represent him locally so that I can pick up where he left off.

Good luck.

Paul