GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 21/04/2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 21/04/2020


I would like to thank everyone for their contributions to this Question and Answer column which has now been going for a month, and while we do not know when the current situation will end, with each day we are one day closer to coming out the other side.

I hope that this Q & A column has been beneficial to all participants, not just those who have emailed questions.

I feel that we have handled the changes and dealt with the adversity extremely well, and I applaud you all, as well as my staff, the GWIC staff, and also those working at each of the race clubs.

It is, and will continue to be a difficult time for everyone, but as I have said from day one when the industry in NSW started dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, our first and foremost concern is for the health and safety of our participants and staff.

These Q & As began, and will continue, because I believe it’s crucial to keep all participants up to date on all news involving the industry, and I encourage everyone to keep sending in their questions pertaining to the COVID-19 situation, and I will do my best to answer them, and then publish those questions and answers across our website and social media platforms.

If you have any questions, please email them to the following address:

As the case has been with any important announcements or developments, we will publish those across our GRNSW network as required.

Here’s the latest round of questions sent in to GRNSW.

1. Q: My question is why is it that on the Northern Rivers you are giving some meetings to only Grafton and Lismore? Why is Casino being left out? I would like to see a few also be given to Casino.

A: As we have shown over the past few weeks we have been able to allow additional clubs to race. Casino is not the only club in the State not racing, and as stated, we are working on being able to resume racing to its full capacity over time.

2. Q: With the NRL hoping to start there season again late May/early June and the current decline of new cases of COVID-19, if the borders reopen would the Grafton Carnival be back on the cards? If not would the renovations to Grafton be brought forward so to get the work done sooner.

A: A decision needed to be made on the Grafton Winter Carnival and in consultation with the club that decision was made, and that decision will now remain regardless of what happens in the immediate future with COVID-19. In terms of works at the Grafton track, the DA process is progressing well and once complete we will look to commence work immediately.

3. Q: There are still a lot of dogs unable to gain starts, mainly from trainers on the Mid North Coast as a lot of these dogs usually only race at country meets. They either have too many points for a pathways or not enough to gain a start. GRNSW put on 5th grade only meetings but get 340 plus dogs nominated. When are these dogs going to get the chance to race?

A: We have added another meeting per week in the Hunter, giving trainers the opportunity to nominate for two 5th grade and maiden only meetings per week, one at Maitland on Thursdays and one at Ladbrokes Gardens on Saturdays with now a total of five meetings per week in the region. This gives the region 50 races per week, drawing up to 500 greyhounds, and most greyhounds will be getting a run if placed correctly.

4. Q: Tony, I noticed looking at the new calendar and program you have just released that there is no reference to the Wagga Gold Cup which was due to be run in early May.

A: Unfortunately like several feature races which were scheduled during this time, the Wagga Gold Cup won’t be taking place when it was scheduled. We are currently considering all feature events for the rest of the financial year and will update everyone very soon.

5. Q: Dear Tony, I am fully supportive and understanding of the current boxing process, however I feel the starters and stewards need to be more vocal on getting the dogs boxed as quickly as possible and be issuing instructions to the handlers. Last week at Goulburn I boxed my dog first in box 1 with the 7. Then the lady with the 3 dog came over and took an eternity to take her dogs lead off and finally place it in the boxes. The 2 and 6 came over and again took a while to get them in, in the meantime the 8 and 4 lined up and the 4 dog’s trainer decide to start walking it around and remained a good 8-10 metres from the boxes by the time it was called over it delayed they start again by another 10 seconds. All this went on with the starter not being able to watch what the other dogs were doing and the steward positioned across the other side of the boxes taking no part in the process. I fully understand the process but I think it needs to be more refined and sped up and the starters and/or their assistants being more assertive to handlers with dogs in the last three lines.

A: Thank you for your comments. The boxing of greyhounds before the races is a new process that has been adopted in all other jurisdictions. GRNSW and GWIC will work with clubs to ensure starters perform this role as efficiently as possible. For the time being the current process will continue so participants can comply with government social distancing requirements.

Congratulations to all those who had success at Goulburn today, and good luck to those who are racing at Lismore and Ladbrokes Gardens tonight.

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.