GRNSW CEO Update - 27/03/20

GRNSW CEO Update - 27/03/20


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: Will you give trainers with small teams and average dogs an opportunity to race now you have condensed the industry by eliminating tracks and meetings or will it just be the big kennels you support? Will one trainer get to have 3 or 4 runners in a race and a dozen dogs drawn to race while 3 or 4 other trainers get no starts? Is this your answer to reducing numbers attending meetings? Are you actually playing favourtism or is it only just the appearance of favourtisim? Some honest answers would be appreciated so future decisions regarding participation can be made.

A: We are not playing favourites, and I don’t believe there is an appearance that we are. The reason for these Q & As has been to keep the lines of communication open between GRNSW and its participants because we are in this together, and the answers given have been honest. These are trying and testing times for all Australians, and as I have made clear in the past in this forum, this isn’t a perfect system, it’s a survival system and we are constantly looking at improving the way things work. Don’t forget that we put the changes in place to keep the industry racing, not for the big kennels, not for the small kennels, but for all participants for whom this industry is their livelihood. We are working to make things as fair as possible for all our participants, and to suggest we favour the big kennels to keep numbers down at tracks is completely wrong. We are three days into this new schedule. I ask everyone to please be patient and persist with it, as we continue to work on ways to keep our industry going.

2. Q: If there is a complete lockdown, what will it mean for racing?

A: As we have been doing throughout this crisis, we have been guided by information and the guidelines of the state and federal government. That will continue, and if there is a lockdown, we will do what we are instructed to do by the authorities.

3: Q: Your new rule about trainers only at meetings … what about trainers, specially the elderly, who have to travel two hours and more to a meeting, and they are in the last race at night, and then have to travel for two hours to get home. You are now telling them that they can’t have a person with them to keep their focus on the trip home. Where is the welfare to the trainer?

A: The reason we have put all these restrictions and rules into place is for the welfare and safety of our participants, both from a health perspective as a priority and an income perspective by being able to race. In the circumstances you have described here, there is not a restriction on a travelling companion accompanying a trainer to a meeting. However, they are just not permitted to enter the racetrack. I understand your concerns and hope you understand the solution.

4: Q: Can a trainer in the metropolitan zone take on the training of a greyhound from the Hunter zone and race the greyhound in Richmond? All of the relevant forms required by GWIC will be completed.

A: Yes. Once a greyhound is transferred to a trainer in another region, a trainer will have to wait at least two (2) business days before the greyhound can start in a race.

5: Q: My question is if my partner has a dog engaged at a race meeting and is unable to attend am I able to attend on their behalf as I’m am a registered trainer?

A: If you give written authority for a licensed trainer to attend on your behalf, this is acceptable.

6: Q: If I race at Dapto, am I also allowed to race at Bulli? I have been told you can only race at one track.

A: You can only race in one region, not one track. If you have more than one track in your region - as you do in that Southern NSW region - then you are able to race at each of those tracks.

7: Q: Thank you Tony for your positive actions during this pandemic. Would it be appropriate and possible, in order to assist trainers, to rotate Saturday and Wednesday Wentworth Park prizemoney to each of the seven regions in turn with two regions escalated each week?

A: This is one of the things we have been looking at, but what was first and foremost for us as an industry was to get things in place so we could keep racing. We will continue to make announcements as we move ahead.

8: Q: I’ve been going through fields for Dubbo and Bathurst. I’m in this zone. I’ve noticed trainers are nominating at both tracks. Is this allowed or we only allowed to race at one track only.

A: You are allowed to nominate and race at all tracks which are in your zoned region.

9. Q: Tony we’re all in this together I get that, but what if we know someone is flaunting the rules and not being responsible? What should we do?

A: Some people just don’t get the seriousness of this. If you feel someone is not doing the right thing, call GWIC immediately and report the situation. Any person who is not following the strict rules is not only being selfish, but jeopardising the health and safety of others, as well as the immediate future of the industry as a whole.

10. Q: I am concerned that trainers are trying to take advantage of the zone system, as this weekend one trainer is racing at one venue and their partner (with different surname) is racing at a different venue in a different zone. Is this allowable?

A: This is not allowable, unless the trainers reside in different regions. GWIC stewards will be looking into this to ensure such practices don’t happen.

Finally today, I was asked this week about whether we had a hotline for anyone in the industry who may be struggling at the moment and wanting somebody to talk to. 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.