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Early Starts The New Norm?

Harness & Greyhounds
JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
Don't quite know what to think of the 4pm starts for Friday Night at Gloucester Park. Arguments for and against. It seems that it may become the new normal, especially in winter and possibly even into summer.

The claim that 85% of turnover emanates from the Eastern States is one of the reasons being put forward. That to my mind is a waving of the white flag on the turnover front and the argument that 90% of Australia's population is in the Eastern States, therefore, we should expect that to be mirrored in turnover figures doesn't hold up for mine. GP harness meetings  are a WA product, much as Eagles or Dockers games at the Stadium are a WA product, and I'd be pretty sure that viewing figures for these games would have a much higher audience based in WA and be nowhere near 85% domiciled in the Eastern States. 

Even with "85%" of harness turnover originating from the Eastern States", it is no where near enough to sustain an Industry whose overall share of turnover has shrunk to a miserable and industry threatening 10%. The reality is that overall, the product is not attractive as a betting medium, as opposed to the gallops and the greyhounds whose share of betting turnover on racing continues to grow.

It is a very sad indictment on the product if you are basically accepting that your local population has no interest in betting on or attending the Trots. Starting at 4pm and finishing by 8pm will basically put the thought of any on course presence of a crowd into the history books. It frankly makes the building of the new Grandstand and members facility to cater for a fictitious 4,500 crowd beyond logical thought, especially when Gloucester Park seem to make only a token effort to attract any patrons on course.

The argument around occupational health, and the late finishes for trainers and staff, is understandable but for country participants, it works both ways with early departure from home base creating their own set of problems with staffing arrangements and getting all the stable work done on a Friday.

For hobby trainers, it is yet another barrier, with work on a Friday at their day jobs almost impossible with a 4pm start. This may well foreshadow a further decline in participant numbers, a further shrinking of the footprint, which may after all be the driving force behind the move. The "movers and shakers", quoting certain spokespersons for the Gloucester Park Owners Association, make no secret of their desire for "3 track racing" on their doorstep so to speak and it is not inconceivable to think that moving forward, there may be only 6 to 12 professional stables racing each other, with all the hobbyists and part timers sidelined out of the industry, with trotting in country centres being consigned to the history books.

It would be beneficial if the claims of increased turnover, for many things including the sprint race format at Pinjarra and the seemingly weekly 6 horse FFA's each Friday night, were supported by the release of actual figures.

Something has to happen shortly. The collapse of two $30,000 two year old West Sired races on Friday night, just 4 nominations for the colts and only two for the fillies, is indicative of both hopeless programming and an alarming decline in numbers and I am not totally sure that 4pm starts to appease a few big eastern states punters is the answer. Growing the industry at a local level, making decisions to encourage new, and sustain existing participants, may be a far better strategy. And seeing references in the latest BOTRA minutes about the Harness Racing Consultative Group listing the "transfer of Kellerberrin Meetings to Northam" should send shivers down the spine of all WACHRA Executive members.

What was once a mirage may well become a reality. 

"The Camels Are On The Horizon".
+1 -1

jum, warrenrobinson likes this post.

Comments

  • Rocket_ReignRocket_Reign    868 posts
    Best thing they’ve ever done, way more user friendly for trainers and stable staff.
    Can only be good for turnover with our last race being 8pm - 10pm eastern instead of sometimes 1am would think things like fireworks nights would only be more popular having them at 8.30 instead of 11 on a freezing cold night
  • GilgameshGilgamesh    4,793 posts
    If we are doing every thing we can to further turnover from east (possibly to the detriment of local turnover) and we are making it nearly impossible for those who want to attend to get there before mid point of the card why are we keeping Gloucester Park again???

    Why not just sell the lot and rename Pinjarra Gloucester Park (whack some lights up) if people are betting on it in name only.
  • G-MacG-Mac    1,586 posts
    No point holding on to an asset like that if you're just going to make it a TV sport
  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    How's about we spend $24.7 million of Industry Funds to refurbish the place? Makes perfect sense.
  • ashleighmpashleighmp    27 posts
    Speaking purely on a selfish note- love the early starts. Trainers aren’t driving around late at night, surely that’s to be celebrated. The days are long enough. I hope they follow suit at Albany and start at 4pm ????????

  • ashleighmpashleighmp    27 posts

    Speaking purely on a selfish note- love the early starts. Trainers aren’t driving around late at night, surely that’s to be celebrated. The days are long enough. I hope they follow suit at Albany and start at 4pm ????????



    I tried an Emoji, apparently it decided ??????? Was better

    Gilgamesh, LightningJake likes this post.

  • licklick    316 posts
    Early starts suits me and most of the people I know. Coming from a country location makes GP more attractive - getting home at 9pm instead of 11pm.
  • Vincent_vegaVincent_vega    511 posts
    edited June 26
    Not great for on course attendance in my opinion, so no point doing anything with GP other then selling it lock stock and barrel and totally removing the sport from perth metro. People will bet if its Pinj or GP so i dont think turnover will change.

    I respect the fact it's better for the participants and their respective staff though.

    LightningJake likes this post.

  • licklick    316 posts
    It is too good a property to sell off - worth many many tens of millions of dollars - and then do what with the money?? What happened to the Richmond Raceway sale money???
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    2,975 posts
    From a purely selfish view , being myself , i only work afternoons from my house , so the 4pm starts are fantastic , and thats one of the great things with us 2hrs behind is the E/States Trotting kicks in from 4pm not 6pm like Bathurst and Echuca tonight 

    And for the participants in Winter , i couldnt think of anything worse waiting around at 9.30- 10pm freezing for your race at GP  , you would be thinking more about getting home 

    I try to look at it fairly , Turnover is king , so they have to try new things because pats on the back dont pay the bills 

    So  6pm Eastern std time  Friday night , the working week is over for most , and everyone is keen to have a bet , plus they normally have a couple of gallops meetings kicking in that time as well 

    One thing you have to be very  careful with - 85% of Turnover is from E/S punters , if you go and change it to Pinjarra , the perception is its not a Metro meeting anymore like GP is ( and that name counts for plenty ) and those big  punters might dissappear 

    You only have to look when TabCorp the Victorian TAB - bought out the NSW tab , what was that 12-15 years ago , and they raved about economies of scale on the cost side that is fair enough . But they also bragged that they would combine  all the betting pools like win and place and tris with Vic and NSW and have gigantic pools , Well guess  what they have never done that  and have admitted publicly they didnt do that , because they are terrified that the combined pools will decrease 

    So you go change the betting sheets from Gloucester Park to Pinjarra on a Frid night  it might be a disaster for turnover 

    Rocket_Reign, TimmyBee likes this post.

  • Chopchop43Chopchop43    172 posts
    Great decision to start it earlier in the day, nothing should trump the health and safety of the participants

    TimmyBee likes this post.

  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    Yes, clearly early starts suit some participants, OSH has rightly emerged as a major issue. No argument but how many turnover bandaids can be applied? Start the races on any day you like at any time you like at any place you like, the issue of the Industry trading insolvently remains.

    Transparency has never been the Industry's strong suit but we must believe when they say the data for early starts has displayed a turnover boost, we must believe that the 1 lap dashes has boosted turnover at Pinjarra, we must believe, going back 6 years,that the New Business Model of handicapping and programming produced turnover boosts, in spite of promised reviews and release of turnover figures never seeing the light of day, we must believe that shifting the Pacing Cup to November would boost turnover and revitalise the industry, we must believe that the Nullabor has also revitalised and re-energised  the Industry, we must believe that the redevelopment will also re-energise the Industry or that rationalising regional tracks will also boost everything from turnover to participation numbers to new owners, we must believe that the change in calendar for two and three year olds would boost fields and foaling numbers, that removing separate stewarding panels for each code would boost punter confidence in integrity and so and so on.

    The point is that these bandaids keep getting applied yet the numbers and the data clearly display that they are not stemming or reversing existing trends.....every indicator, every single one, ranging from turnover to licensed participants to on course attendance to breeding statistics to field sizes.....you name it, all are in decline. Yet we must believe. Since the NBM was introduced, there has not been one single Friday Night Metro meeting at GP that has been fully subscribed, not one and the 6 horse FFA is now standard fair each week. Two $30,000 West Sired races for 2YO colts and fillies this week attracted 6 nominations in total...two fillies and four colts.

    The only thing we can believe is that The Camels Are On The Horizon...that's all, that is the only truism. Start early, change distances, put on fireworks (amazingly I read, in the middle of Winter???), close tracks, shift race dates, alter the feature race calendar, introduce slot races but meanwhile, turnover is in free fall, the punters don't like the product, they are over it, they reject the lack of handicapping, they reject what is being served up in races...and it is not only the punters, check out harness trading ring for the clearance sales, the free broodmares, the sell off of gear, carts and equipment, the number of participants heading for the exits, look at the clearance rates at yearling sales around the country and in NZ (not just the headline colts and fillies). And when the stakes inevitably drop and the cutbacks start hitting home ....and the bandaid container is empty, then maybe the penny will drop.What is currently occurring is unsustainable despite all the propaganda that emerges from City Hall media each week.

  • licklick    316 posts
    I don't bet if there is an odds-on favourite - so that eliminates a lot of races for me.

    Did someone say "handicapping"?
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    2,975 posts
    Just a question on the weekly FFA -31k  and they are a joke , 5-6  starters , just like those 20k ones they had at Mildura , same size fields and Douglass horse won about 80% and pocketed about 100k 

    But from a handicapping perspective , Water Lou outstanding 3 yr filly 17 wins from 21 starts and 300k approx in stakes 

    Its got an easy kill this Frid in its own age group , so this week isnt an option , but say there was no 3 yr old race , trainer wanted to keep it fit , trainer says those FFA horses are 3rd raters which they are , i will run my star filly in that 2100 FFA , its a PBD  she will draw gate 1 , she can go 1.54 maybe a tad quicker , we will win the race and collect the 17k 1st prize 

    My question is , if that 3yr old filly did that , by winning that race , does she forfeit alot of easy kills in less grade races ,  like same age same sex etc 
  • Rocket_ReignRocket_Reign    868 posts
    Markovina said:

    Just a question on the weekly FFA -31k  and they are a joke , 5-6  starters , just like those 20k ones they had at Mildura , same size fields and Douglass horse won about 80% and pocketed about 100k 


    But from a handicapping perspective , Water Lou outstanding 3 yr filly 17 wins from 21 starts and 300k approx in stakes 

    Its got an easy kill this Frid in its own age group , so this week isnt an option , but say there was no 3 yr old race , trainer wanted to keep it fit , trainer says those FFA horses are 3rd raters which they are , i will run my star filly in that 2100 FFA , its a PBD  she will draw gate 1 , she can go 1.54 maybe a tad quicker , we will win the race and collect the 17k 1st prize 

    My question is , if that 3yr old filly did that , by winning that race , does she forfeit alot of easy kills in less grade races ,  like same age same sex etc 



    3yo filly taking on FFA open sex and just pocketing the stakes? Haha best thing I’ve heard I reckon
  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    2,883 posts
    May receive more opposition than expected tomorrow night from Flybye Lou which was very imporessive in Byford trial.
  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    When it qualified as a 2YO going reverse at a very wet Pukekohe, it ran home in 27.5 in the slop. And in a workout after that, 26.9 was it's closing 400m. Fast family.
  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    C'mon Rocket, Jett Star and Steel The Show are only 3rd raters....splutter, cough, splutter.

    LightningJake likes this post.

  • Rocket_ReignRocket_Reign    868 posts
    JayJay said:

    C'mon Rocket, Jett Star and Steel The Show are only 3rd raters....splutter, cough, splutter.




    Wouldn’t mind a whole barn of third raters

    LightningJake likes this post.

  • MarkovinaMarkovina    2,975 posts
    Alot of smart alecs on this forum 

    Handicapping has been done to death on this forum - all i asked was if a 3 yr old and lets say its a colt then , if it beats a FFA field of 5 on that screaming leaders track - does it fofeit any future races under the handicapping system 

    And ive got no interest in who Water Lou is opposed to this Frid night , that was not my question 

    LightningJake likes this post.

  • ChariotsonfireChariotsonfire    2,883 posts
    Markovina said:

    Alot of smart alecs on this forum 


    Handicapping has been done to death on this forum - all i asked was if a 3 yr old and lets say its a colt then , if it beats a FFA field of 5 on that screaming leaders track - does it fofeit any future races under the handicapping system 

    And ive got no interest in who Water Lou is opposed to this Frid night , that was not my question 
    You did state that it had an easy kill on Friday and you may still be right.
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    2,975 posts

    Markovina said:

    Alot of smart alecs on this forum 


    Handicapping has been done to death on this forum - all i asked was if a 3 yr old and lets say its a colt then , if it beats a FFA field of 5 on that screaming leaders track - does it fofeit any future races under the handicapping system 

    And ive got no interest in who Water Lou is opposed to this Frid night , that was not my question 
    You did state that it had an easy kill on Friday and you may still be right.
    I didnt look at the field - i simply looked at the AHR site - and it had against Water Lou name $1.16 - thus i assumed it was an easy kill

    No relevance at all to my question , all i wanted to know if a 3 yr old  won a FFA race at GP - does it forfeit or make it  ineligible for any future  same age races 
  • JasperJasper    3 posts
    I think it would only affect the HWOE of the horse , assuming it won. So if a 3YO won a 31k FFA then its HWOE would increase by around $13 500 and it would be eligible for races at the new level. With respect to its own age group the only likely options would only be in 3YO open races. I am happy to be corrected on this though. (Wonderful to Fly I think is the only 3YO to commence its 4YO season as a L15 horse)
    In the mid/late 1970’s, if my memory is correct, a 2yo colt by the name of Whispering Campaign (J.Schrader may have trained it) raced against older horses in a FFA race. I am unsure where what the result is though. The only other instance that I can recall of a youngster racing in a metro FFA was Chokin in the Miracle Mile and this ended in tears when it fell. The MM was also an invitation race at this point however.
    It is common in the thoroughbred code, if you consider Open WFA races to be similar to our FFA’s with the most extreme example being Shamus Award winning a Cox Plate as a 3YO maiden!
  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    I am probably the wrong person to be answering this Jasper...But...Water Lou is already a Level 12, with HWOE of $79875 even though it has won over $325,000, as 2 year old wins only attract 25% of win penalty and 3 year old wins 75% of the win penalty. There are also  "ceilings" in place as to how much of the winning stake counts towards your HWOE for all wins anyway, with $9,000 being the penalty for a stake of between $15,000 and $50,000. The $13,500 HWOE impost is for races between $50,000 and $150,000 for horses aged 4YO+.

    If Water Lou raced in the FFA (level 15) and won first prize of $17,800, it's HWOE would increase by $6750 (75% of the $9,000 win penalty that applies). It would still be eligible for open 3YO races but would become a Level 13 for HWOE purposes. Should it win the "easy kill" (not my words) 3YO race and collect first prize of $12,052, it would still attract a HWOE impost of $6750. I think that is correct but would stand corrected.

    As far as Whispering Campaign is concerned, Val Pereira trained and drove him as a 2 year old and 3 year old. He never started in "Free Fall All" or Fast Class in that time. He started his days as a 4 year old as a 2.21 assessed horse as a result of his success as a juvenile and raced primarily in 4YO events until  unsuccessfully contesting the qualifying heats of the WA Pacing Cup, his first foray into fast class so to speak. He ran 3rd in a Cup Consolation and later ran 3rd in the Winter Cup. Later on, Pereira headed to Macau and Jim Schrader connected up with Whispering Campaign as a 5 year old.

    Anna's Ann made it all the way through to Fast Class as a 3 year old filly and ran 2nd to Zaruma in a FFA on July 8th, 1977. She is the only one that I can recall having done that. I think the fast class front was around 2.15 or 2.16 at the time.She had an amazing 27 starts as a lightly framed 3 year old filly winning 9 races and finishing second 9 times.
  • getthechangegetthechange    321 posts
    think Bay Brigade may have reached FFA company as a 3yo
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    2,975 posts
    Jasper said:

    I think it would only affect the HWOE of the horse , assuming it won. So if a 3YO won a 31k FFA then its HWOE would increase by around $13 500 and it would be eligible for races at the new level. With respect to its own age group the only likely options would only be in 3YO open races. I am happy to be corrected on this though. (Wonderful to Fly I think is the only 3YO to commence its 4YO season as a L15 horse)
    In the mid/late 1970’s, if my memory is correct, a 2yo colt by the name of Whispering Campaign (J.Schrader may have trained it) raced against older horses in a FFA race. I am unsure where what the result is though. The only other instance that I can recall of a youngster racing in a metro FFA was Chokin in the Miracle Mile and this ended in tears when it fell. The MM was also an invitation race at this point however.
    It is common in the thoroughbred code, if you consider Open WFA races to be similar to our FFA’s with the most extreme example being Shamus Award winning a Cox Plate as a 3YO maiden!

    Thanks for the answer , much appreciated 
  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    Bay Brigade started life as a 4yo with a 2.19 Metro assessment and a 2.17 Country Assessment for Grant Williams Grandfather, R.L (Les) Williams in 1971. Went to the 1972 Inters at Albion Park with fellow WA representative Red Vicar.

    getthechange, LightningJake likes this post.

  • getthechangegetthechange    321 posts
    early start not working or some other reason??

    5:20 start today and 5:21 start Friday ??
  • JayJayJayJay    7,763 posts
    Impossible to follow start times. Supposedly turnover for early starts was overwhelmingly positive according to management, maybe not? Last quote was 85% to 90% of GP turnover emanating from the Eastern States. Next month it is expected to be 100% to 105%.  How would it be if Woolies or Coles had different opening times each week? Plan your weekly attendance on a Friday at GP but be prepared to be flexible. Maybe Sky is pulling rank, the tail wagging the dog.
  • warrenrobinsonwarrenrobinson    114 posts
    Christmas in July at GP is all of a sudden more important. Poor leadership leads to poor decision. time for a parliamentary inquiry into RWWA and throw in GP.
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