GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 18/04//2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 18/04//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 today I attended my first race meeting since all these new race day measures where implemented, these new rules and procedures have been taken on by everyone with no complaints and everyone I have spoken to seem to be handling it all really well, personally I believe the best thing being done is the taking of peoples’ temperatures at that gate before being let in. If everyone let in has a temperature within the safe range would it be possible to go back to the two lines of odds and evens behind the boxes. Since the new way of boxing the dogs has started I have noticed that  some dogs which have been normal beginners seem to be missing the start the longer they are in the boxes which could be putting some people off from having a bet on the dogs and in this climate every punting dollar counts. Now I know social distancing is very important but with all the measures GRNSW and GWIC are taking going back to the two lines should not be such an issue as it is done rather quickly and there is still a fair distance between trainers.

A: I’m pleased to hear that all the measures we have in place are working well and being well accepted by the participants. I understand what you are saying about dogs in the boxes, and we have suggested that the starters at each track – with the help of trainers – box the dogs as swiftly as possible. Unfortunately however we cannot relax any restrictions at this time. Social distancing is still crucial, and the normal way of boxing dogs in two lines sees trainers within the range suggested by health authorities and the Government. While temperature testing is great, it is just one part of keeping everyone safe, and to do the job properly, we must use all measures together.

2. Q: Fantastic concept the Q & A really enjoying the read, you have mentioned about keeping an eye on the future so I would like to know is there any action in regards to announcement of a Straight Track or Centre Of Excellence for NSW?

A: Whilst we have been caught up in COVID-19 we are still working towards providing state of the art facilities and Grafton will start their rebuilding in the near future. We are also working on both straight track racing and centres of excellence concepts as within our strategic timelines.

3. Q: After the Baird fiasco a few years ago there was a rumour that got around for years that NSW wanted to adopt the Victorian model of only having 10-12 tracks that were TAB tracks that were spread around NSW. Because of COVID-19, currently NSW are racing on a reduced number of tracks spread around NSW. The rumour was very strong years ago. When racing does resume will the tracks that are not currently racing resume racing, or has COVID-19 made the decision to reduce the number of tracks easy?

A: One of the things all racing codes seem to spawn are rumours. We are racing at the tracks we are right now out of necessity, and have no intention of continuing to race this way when COVID-19 is eventually over. As I mentioned yesterday we are suffering significantly due to the free fall in our revenue streams, but we are looking to make plans and have a strategy in place for a sustainable future for the industry. What that means in terms of tracks and schedules and our organisation, is yet to be determined.

4. Q: You mentioned yesterday your racing highlights since you’ve been in the job, another racing question: Who do you like tonight in the big race at Bulli?

A: There are better judges than me to listen to about racing, but for what it’s worth, and having listened to Jason Magri speak on radio this week, I have to stick with the TAB Million Dollar Chase champion, Good Odds Harada. He has been brilliant in his two runs for Jason, and the step up to 472m will suit him. But Ebby Infrared is a big danger the way he has been racing, and his runs in the heat of the Gold Cup at Bulli, and the past two starts have been very fast and impressive. Good luck to all eight runners in the race, it should be a beauty.

5. Q: With regards to the current boxing process, I have noticed some infringements imposed upon greyhounds who have turned in the boxes. The most recent case I am aware of is a maiden greyhound that raced at Richmond on 15 April from box 1, so first to be boxed. Given the current circumstances the dog would have been in the boxes for a much longer period than is the usual case. Would it be possible for stewards to exercise a little leniency at this time and simply give the dog a warning or allow these dogs to be boxed last while the current system is ongoing?

A: I noticed the dog you spoke of has been asked to complete a satisfactory trial with two other greyhounds before being allowed to race again, and I feel this is necessary as we are also looking to protect the punter. It would not be good if we were to simply issue a warming, and a dog did the same thing the following start. Personally I don’t believe we can start making exceptions at the boxes for various dogs, as this will become a logistical problem. I will speak with GWIC about this matter.

Good luck to those who are racing at The Gardens, Grafton and Bulli tonight, and don’t forget that big race at Bulli, the eighth on the card tonight at 8.23pm.

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.

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.

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

Tony Mestrov.