An investigation by the independent Racing Integrity Commissioner during the week found nine Greyhound Racing Victoria employees, some of whom had direct responsibility for the conduct of the sport, had placed bets on races. Eight of the investigations have been finalised with one unresolved.
From the eight matters finalised:
❏ Three employees had their contracts terminated - one full-time steward, one part-time steward and a full-time grader (all are prohibited from betting on greyhound races);
❏ Four employees have been issued with first and final warnings (all are prohibited from betting on duty);
❏ One part-time employee resigned his position at GRV on Thursday.
The news sent shockwaves through the industry, yet the Minister for Racing, Dr Denis Napthine, said it was a priority to protect the integrity of the Victorian greyhound industry. "These actions by employees who are responsible for the good conduct of greyhound racing are utterly inappropriate and will not be tolerated," Dr Napthine said. "Victoria's racing industry is worth more than $2 billion to the state economy and provides more than 70,000 jobs. The Coalition government will not allow this critical industry to be put at risk by breaches of the employee codes of conduct."
RIC commissioner Sal Perna said: "The sanctions administered by GRV are necessary and proportionate to the importance of the high standards expected of its staff. These actions enhance GRV's commitment to both racing and people integrity."
If perfection could be measured, exciting youngster Flavours might just fit the bill.
He dominated a quality field to win the Laurie Healion Maiden Final at The Gardens on Friday and preserved his unbeaten record.
Syndicate head Peter Jonas - a football development manager with the Adelaide Crows - arrived for the decider. "I raced dogs called Pop Scene and Compression in Melbourne in the '80s and they went OK, this fellow is at another level," he said.
First conducted at Wentworth Park in 2006, the Healion series has been a nursery for stars and a field of dreams for trainers John and Minnie Finn. Their home-bred star Winsome Gun won the $25,000 series last year and, after winning his fifth race from as many starts, was sold to China and now stands at stud. His Healion series wins were 29.58 seconds, 29.47 and 29.50. Flavours came up with 29.96, 29.66 and 29.47 at a near identical age.
Flavours is behind in one aspect, however. "He was not broken in until a couple of months ago and he seems to be improving all the time," an excited Jonas added. "I asked John earlier in the week what was the usual routine for their dogs before a big race and he said: 'We just keep working them hard.'
''That's a little bit like footballers, some work hard and get very fit, others try to cut corners. The Finns' dogs hardly blow out a candle after a race, they are supremely fit."
After graduating from maiden company, Winsome Gun next stepped out at Bulli and that's the likely scenario for Flavours.
News from Bulli last month, was that the fawn dog had ripped over the 472-metre trip in a smart 26.50 on a track which had been harrowed only days earlier. The loose surface would have shed five lengths from what he might have clocked - towards 26.20, a cracking run for an unraced maiden.
Rival trainers will look keenly at the draw in coming weeks.
A true speed dog, Flavours will be suited by the open spaces and, in grade five company, few can match him for straight- line speed. While not a tight railer, he's otherwise the complete package.