|New Zealand greyhound breeder Steve Maher with Wink and Blink's pups Tipped Top and Buddy. Wink and Blink's mother won Dam of the Year as brood bitch of the year.
THE Greyhound Owner Breeders Incentive Scheme (GOBIS), funded for the past three years by the New Zealand Racing Board for New Zealand-bred greyhounds, is to be financed by the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association.
GOBIS was established in the 2001/02 racing season with the objective of providing a financial incentive to breeders, encouraging new ownership in greyhound racing, and increasing the pool of middle-distance dogs racing in New Zealand. The scheme introduced a special series of races for New Zealand-bred dogs.
Lance Bickford, chief executive of the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association, said that it is satisfying to see the success of the scheme with New Zealand whelpings increasing by 30 per cent since GOBIS began. These increases are welcome at a time when the numbers of greyhounds being imported from Australia are especially high. It is also helping to keep trainers in the game because it is one way of supplementing their income through the season.
For an annual registration fee of $55 it gives participants in the scheme the opportunity to compete for allocated stakes of $800 per meeting.
Ray Adcock is a Christchurch based master trainer with a GOBIS license and he says each year of the scheme has seen entries increase. "If a dog wins a GOBIS race the breeder gets some reward along with the sire owner. It is definitely an incentive and I'm getting better New Zealand dogs coming through. Although a large proportion of the winners over-all are still imported dogs, the GOBIS scheme keeps New Zealand dogs in the game. In fact last season the best dogs were New Zealand bred," he said.
Steve and Dale Maher have been raising and racing greyhounds for a number of years in partnership with Karen and Pete Hopping from the South Island. Steve has recently retired from 31 years in the Fire Service and along with Dale has moved to Levin in order to have enough space to breed dogs themselves.
Steve says the GOBIS scheme has been great for them. Since it came in they have won close to $6000 in one year with the progeny of Tip the Wink. The current pups have all been pre-sold thanks to their good bloodline - Smart Woods the sire and the mum Wink the Blink is the daughter of Tip the Wink.
The New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association is establishing a framework to monitor GOBIS and will gather statistics to determine if there has been an improvement in the quality of racing dogs brought about by the increase in New Zealand-whelped dogs.
In 2003/04 there were 522 dogs registered for GOBIS. They competed in 75 GOBIS series races for New Zealand-bred dogs. - Awaroa Partners on behalf of the New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association