GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 08/04/2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 08/04/2020


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 as you well know greyhound people are spread right across the State and I think you mentioned recently that 70 or 80 per cent of the industry in NSW are regionally based. I was wondering if anything is being done about checking that everyone is ok, particularly those in the remote areas?

A: I think what you have touched on is an incredibly valid and important point. We are a widespread industry, and what I would like to ask everyone is to reach out, and each day call one or two of your fellow participants, just to make sure they are doing ok, and to have a chat. Being isolated is very tough and people do get anxious, particularly with all the uncertainty in our world at present. Let’s all help alleviate that by picking up the phone and saying: “hi”, “how are doing”, “do you feel like a chat”. I know that the GBOTA have been making some calls, but let’s all start doing it from today. I also remind all participants that you can speak with a qualified counsellor at any time by calling 1300 687 327.

2. Q: Tony you mentioned more maiden and fifth grade races being looked at. Did you mean that there will be extra meetings to cater for these dogs, or are there going to be less races available for better performed dogs at each meeting?

A: We are looking to cater for as many dogs as we can, and honestly our grading team and racing operations team are doing a superb job under difficult circumstances. What this means is that on occasions there will be more races for maidens and fifth graders at meetings, then the next time more races for better performed dogs. We all have to adapt to what we are able to facilitate.

3. Q: I am glad you have listened to the people up in the Northern Rivers and added Lismore to the schedule. We badly needed it as for some it was too far to travel to Grafton to race. Will there just be one meeting a week at Lismore?

A: We have completed the schedule for the first month of the revised calendar and that now includes Lismore for the final two weeks of that schedule in its regular Tuesday evening slot. The schedule for the next month will be completed very soon.

4. Q: I have been taking an elderly gentleman and his dog with me to the races for years now. I take his dog out and he catches it. I have been told he cannot come with me (and his dog) unless he takes it out - which he is incapable of. Is this right? Even if he catches?

A. Yes this is correct. In order to keep the number of people at race meetings to an absolute minimum, only trainers with more than four dogs nominated are permitted to bring a catcher. If you need someone to catch the dog you will need to arrange with another trainer who is already attending the meeting. Please also consider NSW Health advice that people over 70 years old should stay home.

5. Q: Tony, if two trainers are going to the same destination - ie: two dogs each - is it all right for them to travel together?

A: Under the public health order this is allowed, however we would encourage that during this time you should consider travelling separately to ensure social distancing.

6. Q: Hi Tony, interested as an owner-trainer, with the restrictions with the virus, if I have 4 runners and I’m unable to take a handler with me, I only can kennel one dog at a time, the others have to stay in my trailer. Who is responsible if something happens to one of them?

A: If a trainer has four or more dogs at a meeting, they are permitted to take a handler with them to the track to help out.

7. Q: When will the New England trainers be getting benefits that you seem to be dishing out to everyone else. Sydney, Northern Rivers, the Hunter etc, have all been given ample opportunity to race and extra tracks. Seems like you don't give a stuff about the people in the New England zone. A sort of “'just throw them in the corner with a bone”.

A: This is not the case at all, we care about all participants in all regions. Traditionally Gunnedah has 22 TAB meetings allocated, and that ratio of meetings will continue, if not improve, through this situation. I understand that does not compensate fully for the loss of Non-TAB meetings in the region, but we are, and will continue to work on the schedule for the next month of racing which will be released shortly, and we have been looking closely at the New England region.

8. Q: I am just a punter and fan of greyhound racing, but all I have heard about the dogs is that they are great pets. I have another dog, a Jack Russell, who can be a little jealous. Would there be a greyhound who could live with a jealous Jackie?

A: That is a very good question as I know some of the smaller breeds of dogs can be quite possessive of their little patch at times. The best way to find out is to hop onto our website and fill in an application form. The team will then be able to deal specifically with your situation and circumstances and do their best to find a greyhound who a Jack Russell will just love.

For everyone racing today at Grafton and Richmond, good luck and please follow all procedures and protocols at the racetrack, and stay safe.

Don’t forget that 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.