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Blog: Practitioner director (Trainers) Peter Harnden

 

My first few months of holding the position of Practitioner Director (Trainers) at the GBGB have been extremely interesting and no less informative.  

The sport over the past years, let's make no mistake about this, has been in decline.  We as a sport and as a leisure option amongst the general public are not alone in suffering a decline in our fortunes.  The simple truth is that people these days have many more options on where their leisure pound will be spent.  Sure, the hardcore greyhound people have pretty much stayed loyal but we have lost many casual attendees to other sports and other options on where to spend their hard earned cash.  

As an industry, we need to work harder than we ever have before to entice these people back and to keep them coming back time and time again.  The promoters within the sport need to think outside the box and get people attending the tracks again and once they've got them through the gates they need to show them what they have been missing.  

These people then need to be encouraged that not only is greyhound racing a great night out once a year, it's a great night out once a month or even once a week.  They need to be encouraged that owning a greyhound is a great hobby that can be enjoyed by all of the family.

Currently, owners and trainers aren't receiving anywhere near enough in prize money and funding that their efforts and the efforts of their greyhounds deserve.  It is now way beyond time that the bookmakers paid what is fair and due to the sport.  

We have had our passion for the sport taken for granted for far too long.  Since my appointment, I have seen glimmers of hope that said due funding isn't too far away.  Work is ongoing but I would be extremely disappointed if we didn't have some positive news soon.  

I have now attended two board meetings at the GBGB headquarters.  There has been a lot to take in during these two meetings but I am slowly getting the hang of the inner workings at the Board and believe I can and will have a positive contribution to make that will aid all of my fellow trainers.  

We have in the past couple of weeks welcomed on board another new face who will become Practitioner Director (Owners).  Paul Ephremsen is an owner with Mark Wallis and we as a sport are extremely lucky to have a man with the credentials that Paul brings to the table working on our behalf.  

I have already met up with Paul and was extremely impressed by him and I am immensely looking forward to working alongside him to help bring about a brighter future for the sport.  It will not happen overnight but I'm confident that we will get there in the end.

BSI Publicly Available Specification (PAS) Steering Group

As you may be aware the GBGB made a commitment to Defra to take part in the development of a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) by the British Standards Institute for trainers’ kenneIs. I have been enrolled as a member of the steering group and, last week, I attended my first meeting at BSI’s headquarters. This project is overseeing the standards by which all kennels used for racing greyhounds in the country must abide.  

It is extremely important that we as a sport were well represented on this steering group and I am happy to report that the views of the sport were well heard and well represented.  This group is currently ongoing and I will be attending further meetings and will update more thoroughly when I have more concrete news. However, if any trainer has any concerns then please don't hesitate to give me a call or email me at salacresracingteam@live.co.uk where I will be happy to answer any questions you have to the best of my ability.

Tom Kelly and Barry Faulkner have recently announced their intention to step down from their roles at the GBGB.  I would like to place my thanks for their efforts on record whilst looking forward to the introduction of what I hope will be the appointment of two new faces that will take the sport into what will hopefully be a much brighter future.

Finally, for now I'd just like to thank the many of my fellow trainers who have wished me well in my role.  The support is very much appreciated.