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COMMENT: Bitches should be in league of their own for Awards; OPINION.

Byline: Jonathan Kay

THE runaway victory of his Laser Beam in the BGRB awards sprint division still failed to change trainer Harry Williams's view that there is a southern bias when it comes to the voting system.

As the most northerly-based member of the Greyhound Writers' Association, I can have some sympathy with Williams's opinion and as someone who voted in the British-bred section for Zigzag Kit, whose omission from the list of nominations in any awards category so vexed connections, I have sympathy.

But I can also fully understand why not enough of my fellow GWA colleagues also voted for Zigzag Kit. Prolific as she was in 2005, her main competition claims to fame were Oaks victories at Nottingham and Sheffield.

Like myself, I suspect that many voters subconsciously downgrade form achieved in confined company such as bitches-only races and so it was that the names of Wheres Yer Man and Zigzag Dutchy accompanied the imperious Westmead Hawk on to the British-bred nominations list.

Hardly fair to bitches who can only beat what is placed before them? Certainly. Is the answer yet another award - for bitch of the year? Those becoming restless at the Royal Lancaster on Sunday as the actual awards ceremony dragged past the hour mark might disagree, but I think the answer is a resounding yes.

Of course bitches can win awards - Greenacre Lin and Star Of Dromin proving the point only last Sunday - but they generally come for achievements in the staying events in which bitches excel and it is tough to be nominated for four-bend achievement.

Droopys Stacey, for instance, was an excellent Oaks winner but even if Ian Reilly's bitch had raced more in Britain, she would probably have needed a couple of more Category One victories to stand a chance of getting her name up in lights.

It is an omission and one which the BGRB and GWA should try to rectify in time for next year. As for stretching out the awards section on the night even further, cutting down on the length of interviews would more than counter-balance it especially when the nature of winning means that the same people tend to make a number of podium appearances.

It might also help certain reporters from suffering quite so badly from writers' cramp when scribbling down their notes!

CAPTION(S):

Laser Beam Top sprinter in 2005
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 25, 2006
Words:395
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