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JONATHAN KAY

Weblog: Our chief correspondent on the topical issues

Time for fresh look at a political poisoned chalice
IT was a mixed Friday when the trap draws for early next week started coming in with a Coral Sussex Cup gala card at Hove which will surely whet anyone's appetite swiftly followed by Sheffield revealing there were only sufficient entries for five-runner TV Trophy heats.
 
That's a real shame for sponsor Roto Roof Windows, putting up a handsome £8,000 prize for two runs, although there are mitigating reasons for the shortfall with a number of likely entries having fallen by the wayside due to injury.
 
It's disappointing all the same that connections of half a dozen marathon runners felt more inclined to go for Hove's one-off the same night and worth remembering the next time the moan is heard that there is nothing worthwhile for eight-benders to aim at.
 
As it happens, there is enough quality to promise a good TV Trophy final on Tuesday week, while Hove's finals have a bit of everything including Exocet bidding to make it third time lucky and redeem himself in the Sussex decider having been controversially withdrawn following a brilliant first round win 12 months ago and then making a hopeless start in the Olympic heats when returning as hot favourite.
 
Away from happenings on the track, there does not seem the slightest prospect of a breakthrough to allow meaningful negotiations between the GBGB and Greyhound Trainers' Association with even would-be mediator Tom Kelly this week having something of a pop at that organisation's members and behaviour.
 
Unlike some in the media, I did not feel Kelly's response to the, admittedly same old, criticism of the impasse from Linda Jones did him any favours and I had thought he was above it but it does go to to the show the level of exasperation he has reached.
 
But it is only right to acknowledge the exasperation felt by many trainers, widely acknowledged to be struggling as a group, who feel they have no voice when it matters.
 
When was the last public pronouncement by practitioner representative John Haynes? [For me personally it was when he hurled abuse in my direction at February's Show Of Passion on the grounds that I had written something criticising his non-attendance in a We Want Wimbledon capacity at Merton Council's planning inspection meeting].
 
With everything seeming to be done behind closed doors and information at a premium, it is little wonder that suspicious minds get to work and it really is an unhealthy state of affairs.
 
Kelly has tried, and been unable to succeed, to be the person to make progress so it needs someone else to pick up that particular baton and a character such as Steve Fluin, chairman of the Champagne Club, could be just the right candidate.
 
It might be a poisoned chalice, but he cares passionately about the future of the sport so get him co-opted on to a few GBGB committees and I'm sure his communication skills wouldn't be found wanting.
 
Forget the wannabe politicians hogging the headlines, this is all about the trainer working at the coal face who deserves to be treated with more respect. Or, indeed, some respect.
 

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