Norm Rinaldi has a clear message for successful greyhound breeders – keep breeding.
Plenty has happened in greyhound racing over the past two years and one byproduct of all the publicity and change has been a decline in the number of litters bred in Victoria, however Rinaldi said it is time that disenchanted breeders went back to investing in the sport.
“If greyhound breeders want the industry to die – stop breeding – it’s as simple as that,” Rinaldi said.
“If you’re in a position to breed quality greyhounds it should not even be a question of whether you breed or not. Where else are pups going to come from?”
Rinaldi, who lives in Lethbridge, most recently bred a litter last November by Fabregas out of Five Paws, the latter being part of a million dollar mating he bred in 2010 that included champion stayer Destini Fireball and Melbourne Cup finalist General Destini.
“I’m continuing to breed a few litters and I’ve been encouraging others to do the same.”
“Talking to people in the industry, there is a feeling that the regulation of the sport has become too pedantic, and I agree to a point, but the intentions (of GRV) are right. Participants just need to take extra care (in adhering to the rules and regulations),” he said.
Rinaldi believes that increasing financial incentives is the best way to turn breeding numbers around.
“If you’re in a position to breed quality greyhounds it should not even be a question of whether you breed or not. Where else are pups going to come from?” – Norm Rinaldi.
“I’d like to see GRV bring back a breeders’ bonus and to increase prize money again – particularly for Tier 3 races – and it would be a lot better if prize money was paid down to fourth place,” he said.
“Over the past couple of years (wife) Janis and I have had greyhounds that have run fourth 30 or 40 times, and it would make it a lot easier for people if running fourth was rewarded. Breeding greyhounds is a costly business, and if you’re not getting the rewards it makes it very tough.”
Rinaldi said a key to getting pups to the racetrack was to encourage them to chase from a very early age.
“It’s important to teach pups to chase by doing things like throwing a ball or a toy. One of the best toys in the yards are the empty three litre milk bottles which delightfully blow around in the wind – they chase and pounce on them,” he said.
“Most of our pups end up being fairly hard chasers because we put the work into them from when they are very young, but whether they make it to the racetrack or not, all of our dogs end up at the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP), unless we keep them for breeding, of course.”
“I’m a huge advocate for the GAP… I always have been. Greyhounds need somewhere to go after their racing life and they make beautiful pets.”