GRNSW - CEO UPDATE 31/03/2020

GRNSW - CEO UPDATE 31/03/2020


With the constantly developing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Greyhound Racing NSW believes it is crucial to keep all participants up to date on all news involving the industry.

As such, we are encouraging all participants with questions pertaining to the COVID-19 situation, to email us here at GRNSW.

Each day I will do my best to answer questions from participants and publish them across our website and social media platforms.

If you have any questions, please email them to the following address:

Any important developments will also be published in media releases across our GRNSW network as required.

Here’s what our teams at GRNSW are being asked right now, with the responding answers (and please keep in mind that this is both an unprecedented and fast-moving situation).

1. Q: Are there any restrictions on the elderly attending race meetings?

A: We made an announcement this morning around this. Following the advice from the Government, GRNSW strongly advises that participants over the age of 70, should stay at home as much as practical. The Government’s advice also should be taken by participants over the age of 60 who suffer from chronic illness. In announcing the advice, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stipulated that it was for the protection of people in these age groups, “to limit their interaction with others in the community." While this may not be ideal for some members of our industry, GRNSW feels it is imperative that our participants heed all the advice the Government is issuing. If any trainer falls into this category, they are still able to nominate their greyhound for race meetings, and then allow a licensed trainer to take that greyhound to the racetrack, along with written authority.

2. Q: Food for thought - at present there are three meetings a week at most tracks, could not one of these meeting be graded from lowest points first and work upwards from there I think this would give lesser points dogs a chance of getting a start

A: We announced yesterday that GRNSW and GWIC were in discussions about the provision of extra race meetings within the regions, and made an announcement today that Grafton will race on Friday and the meeting will be for fifth grades and maidens.

3. Q: Tony, you grasp the issues very quickly and the extra meeting at Grafton is another example. The biggest issue as I see it at the moment is that the dogs that fall in the 100-140 point area which would include the majority of Non-TAB dogs that just won’t get runs anymore with this reduction in tracks because if they don’t get starts then their points will never change. The Grafton move has largely addressed this for that area and congrats to you for seeing this anomaly and hope this will appear in other zones also.

A: We are trying to address as many points as we can around racing and hopefully we have been able to achieve this at Grafton. We will continue to work on all aspects of racing at all zones and tracks.

4. Q: I am getting more and more frustrated day by day! There is only one Masters’ 1/2/3 programmed for Grafton for the coming month yet quite a few M3 events. Older dogs cannot get into higher grade races unless you have a super dog with outstanding form and if you are graded higher than an M3 you have no chance of getting a run. I realise that these are difficult times but I think there should be some degree of fairness in giving everybody a chance of getting a run.

A: I understand everyone’s frustration in these unprecedented times, but please be aware our teams are doing everything they possibly can to cater for as many participants as possible. In respect to your specific case, I have been informed by the GRNSW grading team that there is an M1/2/3 over 407m on April 11, and another one on April 25.

5. Q: I know there has been a lot of discussion on social media about which zones people are actually in and where they can race. I am at Wauchope and wonder if I am in the Hunter region or the Northern Rivers?

A: You are right there has been a lot of talk about region eligibility and we hope to have further clarity in the next day. We are also working with a number of specific people who are deemed to reside on the borders of various regions. We suggest you email the grading department at GRNSW if you have a concern about what region you fall into, particularly if you are near a border. In this instance if you feel you are on the border, you will be able to choose one region or the other, but once you have chosen, you MUST then stick to that region.

6. Q: If I’m a licensed trainer but don’t have a dog nominated at a meeting in my region, am I still allowed to be on track.

A: No. The only people on track are the ones who should be there. If you’re not racing, stay at home.

7. Q: Wouldn’t this be a good chance to run a Regional Championships? Each region could run heats and finals for 5th Grade, 4th Grade and Free For All dogs and a Grand Final for all three grades be run at Wentworth Park when the virus is over to celebrate a come together.

A: For the time being we have put all features on hold and will reassess that in the future, but here at GRNSW we always love new ideas and initiatives and this fits into that category. I will have a chat with our racing department about your idea.

8. Q: Can you please take into consideration that maiden races over all distances are catered for as normally there are two maiden races per meeting which is not the case at the present time
at some tracks.  If two maiden races cannot be accommodated at any one race meeting then the next race meeting at that specific track needs to accommodate another distance to make it fair for all maidens to eventually get a start.

A: We are looking closely at this, and the additional meeting we have programmed for Grafton on Friday is for fifth grade and maidens only.

9. Q: One of the rules is only trainers to take greyhounds racing. If a trainer can’t make it, can a handler take the greyhound in the trainer’s absence?

A: A handler can take another trainer’s greyhound to a race meeting as long as they have written permission from the trainer.

10. Q: For what it’s worth I think GRNSW have done a great job with us continuing to race. Everyone is complaining about not enough meetings but I think we should all be happy that we are just racing, and thank you for the extra meeting at Grafton for the maidens and 5th grades that’s a great idea. Hard times for everyone but keep up the good work and don’t let the complainers get you guys down.

A: Thank you for your sentiments. As I have said from day one, GRNSW and GWIC are trying to do the best for all participants, first and foremost with health and safety. That is still the number one priority. When we are able to add meetings we will, like we have done with Grafton. You’re right these are hard times, and another reason why this industry should once again stick together and stay strong.

For those of you racing today at Goulburn and The Gardens, good luck and please follow all procedures at the racetrack.

For anyone who may be struggling at the moment and wanting somebody to talk to, you can do something about that. If you do feel the need to talk to someone about your situation, please do not hesitate to call. You can speak with a qualified counsellor at any time by calling 1300 687 327.

Keep your questions coming, and everyone please keep yourselves and your families safe, and importantly be vigilant in these difficult times.

Tony Mestrov.