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Previously disqualified greyhounds who have completed their clearing trials will be allowed to compete in the 2019 Star Sports/ARC/LPS Greyhound Derby writes Floyd Amphlett.
Towcester’s decision to copy GRA policy divided opinion. In the views of some, any move that reduced the chances of the prestige event being tarnished by known offenders, should be endorsed.
Critics though, pointed out various flaws in the argument. They included inconsistencies between racing offices marking young dogs as ‘disqualified’ or ‘awkward’. So the most ungenuine hurdler could be entered in the Derby providing he had the digital equivalent of ‘no red ink on his card’.
Also, British bred novices were at a huge disadvantage compared to their Irish counterparts where racing managers were invariably more sympathetic.
In most years, the ‘non fighter’ rule has no real bearing, though it was bound to bear consequences sooner or later and in 2018 the bar was of huge significance to Towcester’s Gold Cup winner King Turbo.
The British bred was disqualified at 20 months old in his seventh race. He has since completed 36 unblemished races and won four Cat 1 events. Sean Parker’s Lightfoot King was disqualified on debut at 19 month of age and has 29 subsequently unblemished races.
The change of policy was determined by Nottingham promoter Rachel Corden who said: “The way I see it – if, after their clearing trials the dogs are deemed able to race by GBGB, who are we to say that they can’t contest the Derby?”