GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 09/04/2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 09/04/2020


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: The increase in prizemoney is a boost to greyhounds racing over 421 metres or further. There are now meetings for maidens and fifth grade dogs only. It appears short course racing is not really a part of GRNSW plans given the set up now. Why not scrap all races up to 421 metres and increase the prizemoney further for the above races. All short course greyhounds could then be placed in the GAP program.

A: In regards to our treatment of short course racing, I would remind you that on the July 1, 2019, GRNSW introduced significant prizemoney levels for short course racing across the state to provide in some cases double prizemoney that was in C class racing. This was unprecedented at the time.

2. Q: Am I wrong in thinking that everyone must race in their own zone and must pick just one track to race at? That being the case why are so many trainers racing at much more than one track? Do they have different rules to the rest of us?

A: The rules are the same for everyone. You cannot race in more than one zone, you can however race at any or all tracks within your zone.

3. Q: Tony, I have just read about your latest changes and find them to be totally unfair to give some tracks the chance to race for this prizemoney and to discriminate against the shorter course dogs. Yes, it’s tough times, but at least be fair to everyone and don’t discriminate. My dogs can only race at Bathurst/Dubbo.

A: We will be rotating the increased prizemoney to various venues, and actually one of your tracks, Dubbo, will have that increased money at their April 19 meeting. As I have mentioned, we made the unprecedented move of introducing significant prizemoney levels for short course racing across the state to provide in some cases double prizemoney that was in C class racing.

4. Q: Hi, can you justify why trainers from Richmond can go to Goulburn but from Abermain to Richmond, you can’t, but the distance is 18 km closer?

A: Yes, Goulburn is now part of the merged zone which includes Richmond. At Abermain, you have two very different tracks, very close to you, in the Hunter region.

5. Q:  Hi Tony, just one quick question. Bathurst/Dubbo area has only two meetings a week and 2.5 hours apart from each other. Other zones up to seven meetings a week. Bathurst/Dubbo area is the heart of breeding, big kennels full of dogs that travel all over the state to race under our normal life but now only two meetings a week. We are a big zone chock full of talent and need to show it. Just another one meeting at Bathurst one week then Dubbo the next would be fair to all and keep our dogs racing.

A: I understand what you are saying, and we actually announced this morning that we are adding a meeting to Bathurst on Friday April 17. Beyond that, we are currently in the process of making the next racing schedule for the following four weeks.

6. Q: A question about the new boxing procedure we now have. I understand we have to keep social distance but the amount of time (up to 60 seconds) some dogs are in the boxes now is not good for them as they are not used to it. I’m also a horse punter and I notice that when horse and jockeys are in the barriers they are not 1.5m away from each other. Now that you have also introduced temperature testing at the gates I feel that the short time it takes for the normal boxing procedure to come back and as long as no one touches each other it should be ok. Would you be able to go back to the old boxing procedure?

A: We have put the protocols in place after consultation with GWIC and based on the information from the Government and NSW Health. We would obviously not like to have the dogs sitting in the boxes too long and ask participants to swiftly load their dogs where possible. Thoroughbred racing is also using very strict protocols and it would not be for me to comment on what they are doing. Yes, we are now temperature testing, but we will not be cutting back on any biosecurity measures we have in place.

7. Q: Unfortunately there has not been enough thought put into the grass roots of racing, maidens and fifth grades. Today at Goulburn is a classic case of this with around one hundred dogs nominated for six races. I appreciate the fact that Goulburn needs to accommodate all grades and distances. This is why we need a lower grade meeting or Non-TAB meeting on Sunday or another day through the week at a track in our zones. Most people think it costs the same to train a good greyhound as it does a bad one. This is a myth. It costs a lot more to train an old or slow one. We nominate. No run, not enough points or races for these greyhounds. We then pay to go to the racetrack. Pay for a trial to keep them race fit in the hope to get a run next week. No appearance money or a chance of prizemoney. Being older or more susceptible to injury there are more trips to the vets than a for a fully fit racing greyhound. We love all our dogs, and this is what keeps her going, and it is making it so hard to continue. We need more lower grade meetings to survive this.

A: We are continually looking at the lower grade greyhound and programming races and meetings accordingly. We have today scheduled a meeting for Bathurst next week which is for fifth grade and maiden greyhounds only, and yesterday announced meetings at The Gardens on Saturday April 18, Richmond on Sunday April 19, Goulburn Tuesday, April 21 and Grafton on Wednesday April 22, will also all be fifth grade and maiden only meetings. We are also programming Pathways racing where we can as well.

8. Q: You are doing a great job in trying to keep this industry racing, I would like to bring to your attention to sterilization of the box handle. Sterilization may occur in between races at meetings

though whilst trialling I’ve noticed no sanitising between trials had taken place given the amount of trials conducted at this track I believe this is a major concern.

A: Thank you for raising this concern. Trials should be run with the same protocols as race meetings and clubs and all participants are responsible for maintaining health standards at the track. We will raise this issue directly with the club. I also encourage you to raise your concerns with your club manager and we will continue to work with GWIC to ensure clubs have the resources they need to meet current NSW Health advice. 

9. Q: Thanks for all the hard work you and your team have done to keep us on track during these uncertain times, I am truly grateful. I want to ask, is there financing available for any upgrades to tracks whilst they’re out of racing action, to try take advantage of a bad situation ie:  600m boxes at Wenty and upgrade of bush tracks for future TAB status etc. Now would be an ideal time to upgrade these facilities. Trying to look to the future.

A: Fortunately GRNSW is able to continue maintenance and development works at our tracks, along with the day to day track assessments and safety audits conducted by our regional track co-ordinators. Work is currently taking place in some regions on track upgrades at not only tracks which are racing but those where racing has been paused. GRNSW continues to assist clubs with track maintenance with track renovations. In regard to the 600 metre start at Wentworth Park, this has been looked at several times in recent years. The most recent proposal impacted the roadway to the school parking at the back of the track and right now it would be difficult to overcome this issue.

For everyone racing today at Goulburn, Dubbo and Dapto, 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.