GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 19/04/2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 19/04/2020


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, more needs to be done in regards to more races being put on. This shouldn't take weeks and we need a date for this new calendar that is apparently coming out. People need to plan and rely on dogs running for an income. I have dogs just sitting at home in my trainer’s kennel which is not fair on the trainer or the dog or owners. I don’t want the standard reply that you are looking into it. We need action now and want dates of what is happening. How can the GRV still race in the city but somehow we can’t. What is happening to city money at the moment? I am currently unemployed and have time to help sort out these situations for you and GWIC as seems like someone is dragging their feet.

A: After some extensive work, the new race calendar was released on Saturday afternoon. I’m sure most people can imagine this is not a simple task and takes significant coordination to be assured that all meetings can be staffed, and that clubs are able to run the meetings. We have added numerous meetings in all regions which we hope will help all participants. The original schedule with the introduction of zoning regions needed to be worked on as we moved along, and we didn’t want that to be a similar case with this latest one, so time was taken to put it together. We do plan to have the following one out earlier when the time comes. As for city racing, in Victoria their two metropolitan tracks The Meadows and Sandown are a significant distance away from the CDB, whereas Wentworth Park is around 1km. Our initial advice and information was to keep people away from the city, and to do that we needed to pause racing at Wentworth Park. And finally, as we have mentioned previously, we are providing city prizemoney at a variety of venues.

2. Q: Hi Tony. Would you please consider moving away from the traditional white shirt on race days? To me it just doesn’t make sense. We get dirty very easily, it’s not flattering at all on most participants and they are easily stained, making washing them a chore. I’d like to suggest a navy blue shirt right across the state, which will separate us from the rest of the country and make us stand out on TV. Kind regards.

A: I must be honest and admit this is not something that I have put a lot of thought into, but as I have said, this forum is for a range of feedback. I will take your suggestion on board and speak with the relevant people.

3. Q: I totally understand the need for social distancing behind the starting boxes and also the procedure of the order of the way greyhounds need to be boxed, but unfortunately it appears that trainers who are the last to box are attempting to use this to their advantage by walking up slowly then taking far too long to box their greyhounds. Currently only 2 dogs are being boxed at a time from the time the first 2 are boxed it can take almost 1.5 minutes and longer to finalise the boxing process. This is inadvertently causing a lot of dogs to "miss the kick " effectively restricting their chances in the race. Why can't 3 dogs be boxed in the "first line" eg: 1, 5, 8, followed by, 2, 4, 7 & finally, 3 & 6? This way social distancing can be still observed and practiced, but would definitely reduce the time of the current boxing system but also prevent the disadvantages of having to be boxed first and prevent trainers from taking "a month of Sundays" to box their dogs.

A: I understand your concern and any trainer who, as you put it, is: “taking a month of Sundays” should be hurried along by the starter. I will make a point of passing this message on to all clubs. While it is obviously not ideal, the boxing procedure that we currently have in place is considered the best practice in this situation. If we are told that social distancing rules are being relaxed, then we can look at making changes, but until then we must proceed as we are.

4. Q: Tony, I read with interest today in Buzz Rothfield’s column in the Sunday Tele that Olympic medalist Jess Fox has just got a greyhound as a pet. Great to see that coverage in the Sunday papers, as I know there are a lot of ‘celebrities’ who have greyhounds.

A: Yes it was great to see the story in Phil’s column today and great news about Jess fostering a dog from Greyhounds As Pets. Any support and publicity the program can get through mainstream media is a huge benefit as we continue to look at the welfare of our animals, and how wonderful a pet they make after their racing careers. There are numerous high-profile people who have adopted or fostered a greyhound for GAP, but as I’m sure anyone who has adopted will attest, the real celebrities are the dogs themselves. And don’t forget to mention to anyone who might be interested, to head to the website,

5. Q: I have asked you numerous times with no reply why has Gosford been treated as a black sheep, the track was shut down for nearly a year and you had spent a million to fix it yet no mention of a return?

A: Gosford is not the only venue currently not being used in the state. From the outset we have indicated that we will do whatever is necessary to ensure we have the strictest biosecurity protocols in place and unfortunately this means in the first instance the non-racing at some venues. We have shown over the past few weeks that we are trying to get as many racing options open with the addition of Maitland, Lismore and Temora. We are mindful that we do need to have as many tracks back racing ASAP and Gosford is on that list. 

Good luck to those who are racing at Gunnedah and Richmond today.

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.

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

Tony Mestrov.