Firstly,we'll have a quick run through one of the many parts
that make up the art of training a canine athlete,for athletes
are what Greyhounds are.From an early age a Greyhound is
able to reach top speed in a few strides and maintain that
speed for a short space of time,what he has to be taught is how
to race at top speed on an oval circuit.They must learn to Trap
(leave the boxes all dogs are in at the start,as quickly as possible),
and Rail (run around the corners at full speed,despite the 5 other
dogs all around them).This is achieved by giving them experience
and confidence at what is called a schooling track,which has a
circuit,surface and electric "Hare" similar to a real race track.
Each visit to a schooling track will show the Trainer how much
progress each Greyhound is making,each dog being an
individual and therefore likely to train-on at different rates and
to different levels.The standard distance of a race is 525 yards
and a moderate dog can cover this distance in 30 seconds or at
a rate of 0.o57 seconds per yard.The distance in which a race
is won (or lost) is given in "Lengths " and a greyhound will
cover his own lenght in 0.07 secs.All clear ? Right,on with the
story,and as the Seanchai* of old used to say,
"If theres a lie in it,'twasn't me who put it there."
Myself and me oul' mate the Jockey arrived at the schooling
track and it was not unusual to find others there ahead of us.
We took our dogs for a short walk to empty themselves and
also to be seen to be minding our own business as is the
The three men,only one of whom we knew,seemed to be
fussing a lot over their dog before,during and after the
trial.The dog was checked for injury to his toes,legs neck
and back so thoroughly that the checkee must have been
a Vet and we were sorry not to have "Clocked "(timed) the
trial ,for our own future benefit,when we saw this.
Before we had our trials,Jim the track operator started
fiddling with the Hare-rail as if there was something
wrong with it and continued until the three men
departed,two with the dog,the third following in his own
van.After a short time ,much to our bemusement,Jim
strolled over to the winning post,yanked it out of the
ground and replaced it about 10 yards away.
What happened was that the third man was trying
to sell his dog,subject to a good trial and soundness and
had arranged with Jim to move the post,shortening the
distance and making the Greyhound appear about 12
lengths faster than he actually was.Since this made a
difference of about 5 thousand pounds to the price,it
is safe to assume that Jim got a nice back-hander out
of it and the two buyers went back to Northern
Ireland thinking they had a future Derby winner with them.
Could you be up to the cunts ?,talk about Caveat bleedin' Emptor.
*Seanchai ;These were semi-pro story-tellers in the Ireland
before electricity,radio and television.They were greatly
valued for their store of tales and expertise at telling all
manner of tales in prose and sometimes poetry,captivating
their audience for hours on end.They would move from
village to village bringing all the gossip as well as their
stories and would be fed,watered and sheltered like royalty
on their arrival.
With his thoughtful poetry and beautifully descriptive and
evocative language and turns of phrase,I think the most
excellent Dr. Maroon would have made a super Seanchai.