GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 01-04-2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 01-04-2020


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: Tony I am a realist. The Easter Egg won’t be going ahead this year will it?

A: At the moment we have rescheduled the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg to the last weekend in May and have said we will look at as we get closer. That advice has not changed. Our current focus is continuing to race daily, and to keep everyone healthy and safe, and maintaining their livelihoods.

2. Q: Mate, the vets, kennel staff, you and your people are doing a top job. I can’t believe how people are still whinging. We’re racing aren’t we? There are hundreds of thousands unemployed, tens of thousands have lost their lives and all some people seem to worry about is “my dog is in the boxes too long” and “you don’t have races for old dogs”. WOW GIVE ME A BREAK. PULL YOUR HEAD IN.

A: Thank you for your praise of the staff and workers. Everyone is doing a fantastic job out there keeping the industry going. I understand some people want things the way it will best suit their own needs, but you are absolutely right, we are racing. We have, and will continue to try to cater for as many as we can with our schedule of racing. But, while racing is significant, everyone’s health and safety is a priority.

3. Q: Tony in your newsletters you keep referring to LICENSED trainers taking dogs to the track for racing. Does this mean someone with an attendant's or handler's card cannot take dogs to the track unless it is to help a licensed trainer with four or more dogs engaged?

A: You are correct about a handler being able to attend to help a trainer with more than four dogs. A handler can also attend in place of a licensed trainer if they have written authority from that trainer.

4. Q: With the current social distancing rules and no more than two people congregating outdoors, are trials still be able to take place? 

A: Yes, trials are able to continue to take place, but, we must ensure that all the rules we have in place for racing, such as hygiene and social distancing, are also strictly adhered to at the trials.

5. Q: Tony, I want to thank the clubs and their staff who are operating during this time. I have been to a couple of tracks since the restrictions began and can’t speak highly enough of the work the club staff have been doing. They are making sure everyone does what they are supposed to. To me these people are among our unsung heroes in the industry.

A: Again thank you for your kind words and I echo those sentiments. Everyone out there, and that includes officials at the clubs, are doing amazing jobs. It’s not easy, and they have to deal with so many more things than just running a race meeting, and all the feedback I am receiving is that each of them should be very proud of the work they are doing for the industry and its participants.

6. Q: Hi Tony, I fully believe the seriousness of COVID-19. Is the restrictions on over 70s not presenting dogs at track, mandatory or advice? If it is mandatory I will be unable to race my greyhounds as I live 50kms from town, with no other trainers in area.

A: The advice we published around this was exactly that, advice, from the Government. It is not mandatory but suggested by the Government for people in what is deemed high risk categories, and we have to stand by such advice. The recommendation is that you should allow someone else to take your dog to the track if you fall into this category. If you are unable to, then your decision is to not race or take the dog yourself to the track. If you chose the latter, please ensure you take all precautions and heed all advice given by staff.

7. Q: Hi Tony, the first thing I would like to say is that you and your team are doing a good job. I have noticed that some trainers are racing at Richmond and Bulli, two different regions, is this right?

A: We made some alterations to the zones on Monday and have now merged the Metropolitan Zone with the Southern Zone. As a result trainers in that region are able to race at both Richmond and Bulli.

8. Q: Tony, I know a lot of trainers are talking about getting more racing and more venues, but are we possibly going to bring ourselves undone if we push this too hard?

A: You make a sound point. It’s a fine line between trying to add meetings to help participants keep their livelihood going and putting racing totally at risk by expanding outside of the boundaries that are in place. We cannot forget at any time how serious this situation is. We must adhere to all restrictions and biosecurity rules which are in place. We are more fortunate than a lot of industries in this country which have been forced to close. We need to respect that and continue to be vigilant with everything we do around racing. And, as I have said from the start, we will continue to race while the government tells us we can.

For those of you racing today at Grafton and Richmond, 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.