GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 29/03/2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 29/03/2020


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: This social distance walking onto the track and also at the boxes is so confusing. Why can't it go back to the old way but keep your distance because if you got box 1 and 5 the dogs are waiting a long time in the boxes for the other dogs to go into the boxes and that stuffs them up and from what I have witnessed, you get trainers having a go at other trainers trying to tell them to hurry up. Something needs to change.

A: Like everyone in the country, we must be vigilant around social distancing whether it be walking to the boxes, loading into the boxes, or immediately following boxing the dogs. I understand it’s not ideal for everyone and everyone’s dogs, but this is the way it has to be done. As for other trainers complaining, can I please give a message then to every participant: be patient. These are trying times and everyone is on edge. As I have said to everyone, we are in this together, so be kind to each other.

2. Q: Hi Tony, are performance trials still being conducted at the tracks that are open? 

A: No there are no performance trials being conducted. Performance trials ceased earlier this month.

3. Q: Hi, I know of an older couple who only race at a track that is within 10 minutes of their house as they can’t drive at night or long distances. With the new zones they can’t race the couple dogs they have at the moment. Is there anyway someone from GRNSW could help people like this out?

A: Thank you for your email and alerting me to this. If they are unable to travel to the meeting/s in their region, they are able to reach out to someone, like yourself, who, if you are a licensed trainer, can take their dogs to the track for the them with written consent.

4. Q: Hi Tony, I am a greyhound owner and avid watcher of greyhound racing. One thing which was a concern to me was the closure of TAB retail outlets, pubs and clubs, where I know a lot of people go to have bets on greyhound racing. I know that a lot of people still bet on their mobile phones, but I would imagine that surely these closures have impacted the returns that industry receives.

A: You are correct that the closure of those retail outlets and the clubs and pubs is having an impact on not just the greyhound industry, but all racing codes. We are constantly reviewing the wagering returns to industry and as such we will be developing a plan that we hope can address shortfalls. All of our efforts are being put into keeping the industry sustainable.

5. Q: Why can't say Richmond and Bulli race more days than they have been scheduled? Richmond should be able to race on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Bulli race Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday so that trainers are able to race their dogs instead of sitting in their kennels at home.

A: We put together the racing schedule so that participants from all regions could have the opportunity to race their dogs and we will look at it regularly and make changes where we feel they are necessary. I understand your proposal of racing on those days at those venues, but it is just not feasible to do so.

6. Q: Hello Tony. I’m reading that many lower grade dogs can’t get a start. Maybe a meeting a week in each zone with only maidens and 5th grades could be an option?

A: Thank you for your suggestion. We are, and will continue to look at all options for racing, and our racing operations and grading teams are doing that and doing a fantastic job. Please don’t forget we are just five days into this new racing schedule. We need to continue to work with it.

7. Q: I work at a racetrack. How long do you think we will race for as I feel it’s only a matter of time until we close down?

A: We will race for as long as the government allows us to race. We are trying to do everything we can to show that we can continue racing, and this is why we have put in place the type of racing schedule we have, and why we need everyone to adhere to the zones and the strict biosecurity measures.

8. Q: Tony what does all this mean for our sport in the longer term, when we come out the other side of this COVID-19?

A: That is a very good question, and the uncertainty around COVID-19 makes it hard for anyone to look too far ahead. What I can say is whenever it is, and in whatever shape the world and our industry is in, that we will work as hard as we possibly can to rebuild the industry. We have all worked incredibly hard over recent years to build a highly successful industry and importantly one I hope all participants can be proud of, just as I am. Regardless of what happens, we intend to return to that place. Greyhound people in this state are sadly used to adversity, and the ban a few years ago showed how resilient we all can be, and how we stick together and look out for each other. That’s all I’m asking for as we head through this uncertain period. But for now, the health and safety of everyone is so important, and as such we must continue to be vigilant around all we do from a health perspective. Please adhere to all the measures that have been put in place, and look out for each other.

9. Q: You announced recently that the Golden Easter Egg had been postponed until May/June. Is this still the plan?

A: At present the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg is still in the calendar for those dates, but we did also announce last week that for the time being all feature races have been put on hold and that certainly is the case. We will at a later time look at all of our feature races and make plans and announcements around all of them, but for the time being our focus is purely on racing every day under the schedule we have in place.

I would like to also take the opportunity to personally thank all the club staff, the GWIC vets and stewards for the way that they have conducted oversight and working with participants, and of course thank you to all participants who are working together to keep our industry moving.

The Industry should take a breath and be proud of what we have achieved in such a short timeframe.

For those of you racing, good luck and please follow all procedures at the racetrack. I hope everyone makes the most of the rest of their weekend, and for 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 your questions coming, and everyone please keep yourselves and your families safe, and importantly be vigilant in these difficult times.

Tony Mestrov.