Graham spoke to Floyd Amphlett of the Greyhound Star earlier today, here’s the article in full. (With thanks to Greyhound Star)
We had a great night at Shelbourne on Saturday after what has been a particularly irritating week.
The IGB decided to announce that we had four positive samples from the Night Of Champions meeting at Shelbourne last year. Quite why we were picked on, I can only guess. I know that one well-known trainer currently has seven positives pending, and another has nine, though nothing has been made public.
Why me? Maybe it is because we have had some success. Maybe it has something to do with disciplinary dealings within the board, and possible conflicts of interests. I would hope not. What I do resent is being hung out to dry before I have a chance to defend myself and therefore I have appointed a solicitor.
Anyway – the begrudgers took to the internet with some outrageous slurs. I don’t read that crap but Nicki does and it upset her. We are dealing with four Pentobarbitals. Now most people would look at the drug and the fact that it is used in euthenasias and think ‘that probably came through the food chain’. It has happened dozens of times over the years in the UK. I looked it up, and although it is widely known that Pentobarbital remains in meat, evidence from America shows that it can even be found in nuts because it isn’t broken up by rendering.
Anyway – so then you would think, what would be the point in using a sedative unless it was to stop dogs? Oh no – the clever boys decided that I would have used it for masking other drugs. Now, am I being thick, but why would you give a drug that tests positive, to cover up another drug? Isn’t the idea with a masking drug that nothing shows up? Does Pentobarbital even work as a masking agent? I don’t know, presumably the experts on the forums reckon it does.
I have no doubt that it has come through the meat. It is the blindingly obvious solution, and the reason that GBGB tell UK trainer not to feed knacker meat. If I am right, then the IGB don’t have a clue what is about to hit them.
For a start, the samples taken from the big meetings are tested in Newmarket, who are obviously world leaders at what they do. The rest, all go to to the Board’s testing laboratory in Limerick. That can hardly be fair. In fact, if I was a corrupt steward and wanted to avoid any particular kennel being caught out, I would make sure that those samples went to Limerick. I am not saying that has ever happened, but shouldn’t it be seen to be fair to everyone? I don’t know how effective the Limerick testing is, but if it is as good as Newmarket, why not send them all to Limerick?
Then lets look at calling positives for drugs like Phenobarbital. Irish racing is based on amateurs and enthusiasts. If you want to avoid food-chain positives, you have to buy fresh beef. After what had happened, Nicki went to the butchers last week to buy fresh beef for our two Gold Cup finalists. It came to €34. The knacker meat that I normally buy is around 60 cents a pound.
Now the IGB have told trainers that to avoid positive samples, they should use grade 3 meat which is €1 per pound but is absolute crap, all the bits of grissel and rubbish that they can’t sell, the lips, the feet, you name it. You wouldn’t feed it to pups. If they think the average Irish greyhound man is going to spend €4 per day on meat for his dog, it only goes to show how out of touch the Board really are.
Even if you spent the money, there is still no guarantee that you are getting the right meat. They only randomly test. If meat testing was as safe as everyone says, how come we were eating horsemeat from Tescos for years and nobody knew.
And who is it all being done for? The UK bookies, so they can make a profit! The Board are trying to ‘clean up the game’. What a joke! The average guy reads about all these positive samples, it doesn’t convince him it is straight. He doesn’t know about minor traces of sedatives or antibiotics. He just assumes the game is full of drugs.
The Board’s drugs policy is hopeless. If I do have a dog pick up an injury and need an anti-inflammatory, how long should I leave the dog off? Which drugs shouldn’t I use? What about residues? Why aren’t the Board telling us this information? It would take years to put a list together so why not use the Australian system as an immediate starting point, and amend it as you go forward?
Thankfully the week finished on a high with seven winners at Shelbourne Park. Rockburst Diva, out of that great bitch of a few years ago,Rockburst Pearl, was the first. She had been running well but had been swerving right when she came out of the boxes. We put the (W) on her and it made all the difference.
Riverside Oscar, by two more of our ex-racers, Knockglass Billy and Forrachmore won the second which was a Trialstake for the Kirby Memorial. Normally Billy needs to lead so I was delighted when he battled on to win.
Clares Queen, who was one of the failed drugs tests at the Night Of Stars meeting, was our third winner. She was beaten on the night when she was tested, for what that is supposed to prove.
Sidarian Vega ran really well to win the first heat of the Easter Cup. He took a bump at the first bend and ran alongside Peregrine Falcon, who is a very good hound, and stopped Vega getting to the rails where he wanted to be. Vega eventually clocked 29.61 but would probably have been closer to 29.30 with a clear run.
Skywalker Rory won his first race for us in the next heat. The dog joined us in absolutely immaculate condition, and after everything he has already achieved, it is a hard act to follow. He did 29.53 last night but I think there is a bit more to come.
Rural Hawaii has not been firing recently. We had his blood checked and think is has been getting over a virus. Although his winning time of 29.73 is some way back on his best, he at least seems to be coming back to himself.
Notorious Ben was our last winner. He has only been in the kennel for a week after joining us from Pat Malloy and I was pleasantly surprised to see him win such a decent race. I would hope there is a little bit more to find in the coming weeks.
The only disappointment on the night was Ballydoyle Honey who finished second. But I wasn’t too surprised. She had trialled back last week on a very dead track. She is so genuine that she put way too much into it and came out of the trial very tired. In fact, up until the end of the week I was ready to withdraw her. She improved by Friday and we let her take her chance. I think that run will have done her the world of good.
We had seven winners at Shelbourne once before. I didn’t see them, I was at Limerick with one runner. Last night? I was at Limerick with one runner. The owners and family are thinking of banning me from Shelbourne