WCRA Newsletter, Spring 2024

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The subject of blinkers was raised with the Clubs last year when we felt it was important to address concerns regarding the design and materials being used.

We have therefore spent time and effort to move forward with a set of blinkers that will become our official design.

The blinkers have been trialled and we have received very positive feedback so we are happy to move to the next stage.

A set of blinkers will be sent out to all the affiliated Clubs into the care of the Racing Manager for that Club, who will be responsible for their use within the Club and, ultimately, feedback to the WCRA.

The Championships entry forms have been revised to include a yes/no tick box as to the use of blinkers on any of the dogs entered.

This year, the use of these blinkers will be on an advisory basis only. If this works well, next year we plan to bring in a Rule of Racing that only ‘official WCRA’ blinkers can be used.

Racers will be able to order and purchase these blinkers directly from the WCRA.

It is our hope that standardisation of the material and design will go some way to address the concerns of both the WCRA and the racing fraternity alike.

Paul Chappell and Gaz Baldock

Paul and Gaz were long-serving member of the WCRA Committee, well respected and liked within the racing community.

Their sudden departures last year was a shock to many who knew them.

The Committee has decided to commemorate them by dedicating the 1st WCRA Championships in their memories.

Recognition of half coats

There are many dogs that have gained a Championship weight group win but, for various reasons including just plain bad luck, have not been able to get that elusive second half.

The Committee has decided to recognise a weight group win with an officially sealed and framed certificate.

This recognition will come into force from the 1st Championships this year.

Issue of Passport Stickers

Clubs may not be aware how important it is to notify the Superstars Officer (superstars.officer@gmail.com) when any passport stickers are issued. Superstars Points are only issued to dogs with current year passport stickers so, without timely and accurate details, the result may be that one or more dogs are missing out.

Can we respectfully request that Club Secretaries keep the Superstars Officer up to date at all times to ensure that all qualifiable dogs get their due Superstars Points – it could make all the difference to positions in the leagues.

Revised WCRA Rules of Racing

Rule 4.16 – the final sentence (checking of passports at paddock before finals) has been deleted as we now collect passports during the final break.

Rules 4.21 and 4.22 – recast to reflect that for handicap races we now place the lure centrally, just as we do in scratch racing.

Rule 4.39 – new Rule to regulate filming and photography. We all love a good photo or video. Championships are big events in our and our dogs’ lives and yes, we want to capture the moment. But we’ve seen people trying to mix filming with picking-up dogs, and sooner or later this distraction isn’t going to end well for person or dog. People taking whippets to traps, or going to the pick-up to collect dogs are there for that purpose only.

We emphatically don’t have problems with people filming etc from the “public” side of the perimeter barrier. All we ask is that people respect the officials’ verdict in close line decisions and interference calls – which to be fair, in our experience is almost always the case. Neither do we want to deter “organised” photography as in Michael Treacher.

Revision of Superstars Rules

We have made several minor changes.

Rule 5.3 – booking in dates for Opens. With the old process out-of-date, in recent years it has seldom been followed and we have therefore revised it.

Please ensure that Karen Bridge, Superstars Officer, receives notification of the date(s) by email to superstars.officer@gmail.com as soon as they are decided by the Club so that Superstars Points can be confirmed.

Rule 5.4 – Advertising Opens. The text is unchanged but we have resolved that to qualify for Superstars it is sufficient for an affiliated Club to advertise via our Facebook page or our section of The Whippet Club website.

Therefore, it’s important to let Kim (secretary.wcra@gmail.com) have the entry form and she will ensure the Club’s open information is posted on our website and Facebook page in a downloadable format.

Should a Club find it has to rearrange a meeting (unfortunately a more regular occurrence these days), follow the same process. We are sympathetic to awarding points when, for instance, a replacement venue has to be used at short notice to save cancellation, provided good efforts are made to advise all entrants. In such emergencies advise Kim (as above) ASAP so we can post on our Facebook page.

Rule 5.8 – Results. E-mailing photographs of program sheets, the various shades of grey are difficult to read and even worse if they’re printed out (not to mention all the black ink it wastes!)

Photocopying or scanning are much better methods but if the original is scrappy you may find it best to first make up a “clean” copy.

Rule 5.11 – Points. Particularly for the faster whippets, racing them on consecutive days is not good practice, even if they apparently take their racing well. We strongly discourage it. That said, an outright ban would be near-impossible to enforce, and potentially giving an unpleasant experience for the unfortunate Club holding the “second” Open. Therefore, we have taken action on what we can police, namely removing the temptation of extra points.

When we have Superstars events on Saturday and Sunday, it’s important that non-runners are clearly marked in completed programs. For the avoidance of doubt, any whippet that goes into traps will be deemed to have run.

Welcome to Scottish PWRC

We are pleased to welcome a North of the Border Club into the affiliation fold.

Their Club Secretary, Lena Kennedy, has confirmed their Open this year on 28th July with parking onsite, a canteen serving hot/cold refreshments plus toilet facilities.

We wish them much success and support from the racers.

March 2024 / Kim Saxby Reporting

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