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Inaugural ‘Greyhound Industry Debate’ on Twitter attracts more than 200 participants

A Twitter Space discussion aimed at addressing growing concerns within the greyhound industry attracted as many as 277 participants on Sunday evening. The debate was set up and hosted by greyhound racing enthusiast Ryan Conneely with the intention of discussing seedings, track standards, and the power of social media.

Joining Conneely on the panel were tipster and syndicate organiser, David Mitchell, Lifford Stadium shareholder, Harry Findlay, and the Hove based owner of multiple dogs, Billy Boyle.

Trainer, Rab MacNair had been invited to speak but sadly was unable to make it. Among the many listeners online were Gone to the Dogs hosts, Joe Andrews and Dani Jackson, GBGB trainer representative Peter Harnden, and RPGTV presenter/producer, Tanya Stevenson.

Rab MacNair speaks to RPGTV following Fromposttopillar’s impressive Summer Stayers victory at Monmore. Photo: Paul Blake

Starting at 7pm, the early exchanges focused on the problem of too much racing and the impact that this was having on the industry. The rehoming crisis and the lack of space left in kennels were touched upon as the discussion gained momentum. The panel were in agreement that this was the direct result of there being too much racing and an increasing demand being placed on kennels to cover more fixtures. With attendances at some venues falling, the discussion shifted to how we might get more ‘punters’ through the stadium ‘turnstiles’.

Then Harry Findlay passionately shared the approach that Lifford Stadium were taking to re-invigorate greyhound racing as a spectator sport in County Donegal. Harry Findlay suggested that low-margin betting was one way that tracks could encourage spectators to attend greyhound stadia. He used the 10% betting margin employed by the Tote at Lifford as an example for other tracks to follow.

David Mitchell was keen to prioritise ownership. “Owners,” he said, “drive the sport.” Mitchell went on to explain that the sport needed more owners to get involved and that the sport needed to be more positive towards owners in general.

The issue of seeding was raised next with host, Conneely, proposing the idea of an independent panel to determine seedings for open races and competitions. Billy Boyle questioned the role of trainers and racing managers when it came to seeding, “Can we trust trainers to seed responsibly? Can we trust racing managers?” Boyle went on to balance his argument by highlighting the challenges that racing managers were facing. “We haven’t got enough wides have we? We end up having races with railers in the middle. If you are a middle you’re going to end up in five or six.” He suggested that additional categories were used. “Add rails to middle and middle to wide seeds.” In conclusion, Boyle argues that “racing managers need to be stronger.” and that the “current model is outdated.”

Before the discussion reached a conclusion, host Ryan Conneely shared that GBGB trainer representative, Peter Harnden would be discussing the seedings at the next GBGB meeting. And, as time caught up with the panel, Conneely outlined his agenda for future meetings and the objectives for the discussion group going forward. He purported that social media had a role to play in the industry and could make a positive contribution to the survival and future growth of greyhound racing. With so many passionate people on board for the first of these discussion groups, Conneely might just have a point.

If you would like to join the next discussion group, or have any issues that you would like to be raised, follow or contact @Ryan__Conneely on Twitter.

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