Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) and the Coonamble Greyhound Club today wish to advise all participants that a joint decision has been made to cancel this year’s October racing carnival.

The iconic carnival which runs over the October long weekend, annually attracts huge crowds from around the State and country, and that was the major concern during these unprecedented times of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Coonamble Club will still hold race meetings on Saturday, October 3 and Monday, October 5, with programming to be updated on thedogs.com.au website.

“We have spent a lot of time over recent weeks discussing whether the carnival should go ahead or not with Greyhound Racing NSW, and we have both come to the realisation that really there is only one decision to be made, and that is to cancel this year’s event,” Coonamble President Graham Pickering said.

“With so many hotspots in Sydney, and of course the situation in Victoria with the border still closed, we only had one choice.

“We have a lot of people here during the carnival, and trying to keep everyone socially distanced, keep people sitting not standing in places like the betting ring, as well as having all the other biosecurity protocols in place, it just wouldn’t work here with so many people.

“And we have other major events around the race meetings, including the local club who are one of our biggest sponsors, and as of yesterday morning, anyone with a Sydney postcode or from Victoria, is not allowed into the club.

“We wanted to make this announcement as early as possible, as we know people make plans to come for the week, and we wanted to cause as little inconvenience as possible.

”It is disappointing - very disappointing of course - but it really was the right decision for us to make and we’re comfortable with it … and it won’t be long before we start planning for a bigger and better, 2021 carnival.”

Pickering said that the two meetings which will be held over the long weekend still gives a racing opportunity to locals and those in nearby areas to come and race, and added the club held a 10-race card recently which was very successful.

The Coonamble Carnival is just the latest sporting event to be impacted by COVID-19, with many events in and out of the racing industry having to be cancelled or postponed. Back in April, one of the NSW greyhound industry’s biggest events, the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg Carnival, had to be cancelled for 2020.

“As it is such an iconic carnival which has grown in prominence and stature year after year, this was naturally a very difficult decision for GRNSW and the Coonamble club to make,” GRNSW Chief Operating Officer Wayne Billett said.

“We have spoken with the club over the past few weeks about the carnival and their concerns about holding the event in this current environment, and while it would have been a tremendously tough call to make, we applaud them, and we both understand this is the correct decision during these unprecedented times.”