GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 17/04/2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 17/04/2020


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 read with interest the story in the Greyhound Recorder where you spoke about what a struggle it is financially at this time for GRNSW and the industry. How bad is it really, and is there serious concern for the future of greyhound racing in NSW?

A: I addressed a few points in the story with the Greyhound Recorder and made it clear that yes the revenue streams are heading in the wrong directions and we have been impacted by the losses suffered by the TAB, which have been brought on by impacts of COVID-19 on their business. But the article did also point out that GRNSW is cutting costs to ensure that we come out the other side of this with a sustainable business. Our funding model is different to other States and as I said, some States will feel the pain more than others. NSW is dealing with a disproportionate RDA agreement and the current situation has only further exposed that. Part of our funding from TAB comes from international and sports betting as well which is now virtually non-existent. It really has been a drop across the board. We will do whatever we have to do to make sure once this COVID-19 situation is over - or at least more manageable - the industry in NSW will be in the best shape it possibly can be and ready to move forward.

2. Q: I'd like to congratulate GWIC, GRNSW and the clubs for the way they have implemented the new kennelling process. It has become smoother and not as congested as it previously was. Moving forward I would hope that these processes remain. Saying this, major work is required on all race kennel buildings to bring them up to a safe and workable standard. Goulburn should be a benchmark. Can you see this happening?

A: Goulburn is certainly the benchmark when it comes to kennels. It would be fantastic to replicate at every TAB track. There is significant work to progressively be done across the state, and kennel upgrades are included in these proposed works. New kennels, similar to Goulburn, will be built in Grafton when that track undergoes reconstruction later this year, and, already this financial year GRNSW has upgraded kennels at other tracks including, Richmond, Taree, Wauchope, Kempsey, Dubbo and Temora.

3. Q: Hi Tony, I live in the Hunter region, I know things are constantly changing but it’s very frustrating for a trainer when the calendar doesn’t get updated constantly or in the last week of the month. Could this be done earlier in the month so trainers can set their dogs for upcoming races. Also you have indicated you are putting on races for Wednesday city prizemoney are these going to be added to the calendar?

A: You are right that things are constantly changing, and as I am sure you have seen there are lots of requests, suggestions and proposals from participants about the schedule. As such we wanted to work with GWIC to make sure we could achieve the best and most practical calendar possible given the over-arching obligations to health and safety of all concerned. We have always intended to do this so it could not only be workable for clubs and staff, but most beneficial to participants. We would have liked to have had it done earlier, absolutely, but we have tried to get it right and not have to continually make changes on the run. Yes, the meetings which will race for the additional prizemoney will be found on the calendar.

4. Q: Perhaps a little off topic - but anything seems fair game in this column - I have seen and heard about your achievements as an organisation since you began at GRNSW Tony, but I was wondering what your racing highlight has been in your time at the helm.

A: Nothing is off topic here. A very good and difficult question to answer. I’ve been fortunate to have witnessed many racing highlights. Watching Feral Franky at Gunnedah last year, watching him win the final race on TAB Million Dollar Chase night after taking a fall the week earlier, seeing the emotion of Evelyn Harris after Cosmic Bonus won the Masters Meteor in 2018, and Zipping Bailey’s incredible win in the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg. Any of those could be number one, but for me the biggest racing highlight was the amazing roar of the crowd when the lure was switched on and moved towards the boxes for the inaugural Million Dollar Chase Grand Final in 2018, and then the post-race scenes of Peter Lagogiane dancing down the Wentworth Park straight. Pure emotion. It still sends chills up my spine thinking about it.

Congratulations to those who had success racing at Goulburn today and good luck to those racing at  Richmond, Bathurst and Ladbrokes Gardens later today.

An update on the latest racing calendar, and it should be across the weekend. The team has been working feverishly on it with GWIC, and we hope to something published very soon.

As I have regularly mentioned in this column these are tough times and we are as an industry all in it together, so I urge you to pick up the phone and call a fellow participant to make sure they are doing ok as well.

And please, do not 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.

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

Tony Mestrov.