There perhaps has never been a more important time for Victoria’s greyhound racing participants to try to shape their own destiny, and I encourage all participants and our industry’s stakeholders – if you haven’t already – to please read and respond to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources’ (DEDJTR) draft Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds.
I must thank and acknowledge the important work of the Greyhound Owners, Trainers & Breeders Association (GOTBA), who ran a series of forums at seven of the race clubs throughout late June and early July to discuss and obtain initial feedback on the draft Code from participants and key stakeholders. The supportive role of our clubs should also be recognised during this consultation period, and the information provided by participants – including the Industry Consultative Group – has been invaluable and your knowledge and experience about breeding, rearing and training greyhounds has assisted GRV in preparing its own submission to DEDJTR before the August 14 deadline.
In heartening news for our industry, GRV’s Board has approved an increase in prize money, and as such, a draft package of prize money, breeding and starter’s fees changes is now subject to consultation with clubs and participants. This will provide an increase in returns to participants of $3.1 million across a full year. More on the proposed structure appears on pages 4 & 5 of this magazine and I encourage all participants to read the proposal and provide us with your feedback via the email address provided by the end of this month. We expect the new prize money arrangement to start in late 2017, allowing us time to take your feedback into account.
Re-homing greyhounds remains one of GRV’s key priorities and it was really interesting to discover at a recent Code Support Day at Warrnambool that one of our participants, Joy McDowall, had booked 10 greyhounds, many with successful racing careers, in for pre-entry assessments at the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP). All 10 passed their assessments and I suspect that much can be learned from trainers enjoying a good success rate of getting their greyhounds into GAP. We will provide an insight into Joy’s methods in the next edition of Greyhound Monthly. 2016-17 is another record year for GAP adoptions and GRV will be releasing the full adoption figures shortly.
Turning to the track now and we look forward to the upgraded Horsham track re-opening for racing this month following a number of trial sessions held at the venue in recent weeks. The Victorian heats and finals of the AGRA Nationals will create plenty of interest as we find out which greyhounds will have the honour of representing Victoria in the Sprint and Distance Grand Finals in Brisbane later this month.
I refer to coursing as our 14th club, and its premier event, the Waterloo Cup, will be run at Longwood on August 26-27, with more than $25,000 in stakes to be won across the weekend. I will be there and I invite you to join me in supporting the sport quite literally at its grassroots.