GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 14/04/2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 14/04/2020


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: Hi Tony, I would like to congratulate the Maitland staff on doing a great job over the last few weeks. The police turned up to do a random inspection last night and they could see that the greyhound trainers and Maitland staff were maintaining their social distancing and seemed to be happy with the way the greyhound people were behaving themselves. Hope that more meetings can be scheduled there.

A: That is truly pleasing news to hear. We have to continue to do the right thing in these difficult times, so we are able to keep racing. Everyone must abide by the strict biosecurity measures we have in place and the rules and recommendations of the Government so we can safely continue to race.

2. Q: Hi Tony because the New England region has very few meetings, is there a problem with adding more meetings in or letting trainers race on 1 more zone track.

A: We will be putting a new - four-week - racing calendar out very shortly which will address a number of issues for venues in various areas.

3: Q: Tony GRNSW and the GBOTA ran a very successful and enjoyable series last year called Friday Night Lightning. With a lot of trainers having a fair bit to say about prizemoney for shortcourse races, perhaps this could be an opportunity to bring the series back at a regional track. Maybe a shortcourse series run over a few weeks at a few tracks and on a pointscore basis with the winner being the one with the most points. Maybe not Friday Night Lightning but I’m sure someone could come up with a catchy name. Just a thought.

A: Friday Night Lightning was a tremendous success, brought people through the gate, a lot of fun was had by all, and it helped introduce a new, younger audience to greyhound racing. I appreciate the input, and suggestion and like all programming currently be looked at, this will be considered.

4. Q: Hi Tony, an important stage of a greyhound's education prior to breaking in is between the age of 11 to 15 months. An exciting time when owners & trainers have their pups returned from being reared. During this time trainers were previously able to have full access to tracks to give their dogs the education required in seeing, hearing & watching the lure going around the track. I understand the current restrictions of CV19 only allow for two people being on the track when trials are being conducted & the kennel block being in lockdown What I can't understand however is why you are stopping & restricting trainers from NOT being able to educate & take their dogs to tracks for example like Bulli in limited numbers, as per the trials policy, of only two people at a time being on the track where they can stand at sufficient distances apart to conform with CV19 requirements.

This is possible at Bulli on the grassed area in front of the kennel blocks. This issue needs your urgent consideration as it would give trainers the much needed education that is not occurring prior to breaking in.

A: Thank you for your email and the concerns you have raised. I totally understand what you are saying and the needs with young, soon to race, dogs. Our racing team have spoken with the Bulli Club and they are willing to facilitate an approach which fits in with these requirements.

5. Q: Tony, the racing industry is full of rumours and stories, and the one which keep going around at the moment is that Wentworth Park will be closed forever after all this. Any truth in this?

A: We made the decision to pause racing at Wentworth Park as the instructions were that people should not be coming into the city of Sydney unless it was absolutely essential. And let’s not forget the current lease at Wentworth Park still has seven years to run.

6. Q: Hello Tony, can you please explain why there is not a Saturday or Sunday race meeting set for each zone per month? This is to give the essential workers who train greyhounds the opportunity to race during this time. I think this is totally unfair that essential workers can’t race during this time. With your current racing calendar I can’t race or nominate until the June long weekend as there are no Saturday or races set for my zone in Dubbo/ Bathurst. I look forward to seeing every zone having Saturday or Sunday meeting every month.

A: The current calendar for the regional zoning was just a four-week calendar put in place to get things moving, and we have added to it as we have gone along. The one you’re looking at - I assume on the website - with no racing until June long weekend, is the pre-COVID 19 calendar. The team are looking at each zone and racing opportunities and a new calendar for the next four weeks will be released this week.

7. Q: We are purely hobby trainers and have only one or two dogs at any one time. We relied on the use of the scales at our local track to ensure the weight of our dog/s was correct (we have one dog in particular that his weight varies - regardless). Now we can’t do that nor can we go to anyone’s private residence to do this. Will there be a allowance made for incorrect weighted dogs, or how do you suggest we get around this?

A: There won't be any allowance made at this stage, but what I do suggest is that you contact your nearest club and see if you are able to arrange to use the scales during trialling. 

8. Q: In regards to the suspension of a lot of tracks in NSW, this means there is a lot of greyhounds not being able to race. Will there be a change to adoption procedures (lifting the desexing requirement) as this will enable the greyhounds missing out on racing avenues to be rehomed? Or will there be a subsidy developed to assist trainers look after the greyhounds that can’t race in this difficult time?

A: There will not be a change to desexing requirements prior to rehoming through any avenue, as this is part of the rehoming policy for our industry. We do offer participants assistance with rehoming and if you follow the link here you can get some details around these schemes. The one you should focus on is the Greyhounds As Pets Owners Incentive Scheme.

9. Q: The current kennelling procedure should stay once COVID 19 is over. A lot more organised without people tripping over each other. One change would be the handler can present their own dogs to the vet.

A: Thank you for you feedback. We have found during these changes that there are a lot of things which are working well, and when we do come out the other side of this, I’m sure there will be lessons learnt and we can give more thought about how to do things better.

10. Q: Tony have they done the draw for next month yet as I do not see Dubbo with a meet after the 23rd of this month. That can’t be right, the whole of the Central West with just Bathurst.

A: No this isn’t correct. As I have said, we are working on the new calendar right now and will have it available very shortly. I can assure you there will be Dubbo meetings on the new calendar.

Congratulations to those who had success at Goulburn today, and good luck to those racing tonight at Ladbrokes Gardens and at Lismore, having their first meeting since joining the regional zoning.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and I encourage you again to regularly pick up the phone and call a fellow participant to make sure they are doing ok as well.

Don’t forget if there is 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.

Please keep yourselves and your families safe, and importantly be vigilant in these difficult times.

Tony Mestrov.