Welcome to the April edition of Greyhound Monthly Victoria. Some of the highlights in this issue include Dyna Patty’s great run in the Australia Cup and Orson Allen’s back to back wins in the Horsham and Perth Cups. Also covered are details of how GRV is reallocating $450,000 from unspent prize money to provide more incentives for participants, our sixth Greyhound Community Day, this one held at Sandown, and how our clubs at Cranbourne, Warragul, Traralgon and Sale worked with their local communities to keep greyhounds and other dogs safe during the recent bushfires.
GRV is very pleased with how the new Watchdog mobile form guide is performing, although it is a work in progress with more features to be released shortly. While it is the best wagering guide of its kind for greyhound racing, it’s also, as I and others are finding, a very handy overview of Victorian greyhound racing in general. Results, race changes and news about meetings and featured dogs is updated in almost real time in a very user-friendly format and I’d recommend it for all participants and followers of the sport even if they are not wagering. The Watchdog can be downloaded at the Apple and Google apps stores and the website version is available at: watchdog.grv.org.au
In other racing-related matters, GRV’s Safe Racing Program covers a range of issues such as proper preparation of greyhounds but improving track safety remains its key priority. Accordingly, GRV continually monitors injury data on a track by track basis and I am really pleased to report that Geelong, Sale, Warrnambool and Warragul Clubs have all recorded significant injury rate reductions over the past few months while Horsham GRC continues as safe, driven by its recent major track upgrade. Speaking of track upgrades, work is underway on developing new track designs for the Traralgon GRC and a new track is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
Turning now to issues off the track, it’s now less than seven months before the Victorian Government’s Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds comes into force so it’s increasingly important that all participants are aware of its requirements. The Code comes into effect on 1 January 2020 and GRV’s support for making sure you are code-ready includes information and advice at greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/code-of-practice, the Code Support Line on 1300 144 360 and the Code Support Book which GRV is releasing in monthly sections and which can be downloaded at the greyhound care website page mentioned above. I strongly encourage all participants to make use these resources if they haven’t so already. Read more on Page 24 of this publication.
Looking ahead, GRV is now developing its strategic priorities for 2019-24 now that the reform agenda is almost complete. While we will continue with our core responsibilities of regulation (including greyhound welfare and integrity) and promotion, much of our upcoming work will now be focused on where Victorian greyhound racing should be in the next five to ten years. We will be consulting widely with participants and other stakeholders about what future they want for the code and how best to achieve this. A key stakeholder in this space is Greyhounds Australasia (GA) which, under its new Chair Anne Marie Harrison, is now developing its first-ever Strategic Plan. As members of the GA Board, myself and GRV Deputy Chair Peita Duncan, are providing support for the GA Plan’s development while also ensuring GA input into a long-term vision for the sport in Victoria.
Finally, I’d like to remind you about the next National Greyhound Adoption Day, coming up on 28 April. Under the banner of “Make a fast friend. Adopt a Greyhound.” greyhound re-homing agencies in every Australian state will each host an adoption day as part of a nation-wide push to boost awareness of greyhounds as pets. And once again theatre star, radio host and TV personality Todd McKenney will be the National Ambassador for the Day. I encourage you to spread the world about National Adoption Day so more people will be able to enjoy the company of these wonderful dogs in their retirement.