The past financial year has seen a lot of change and progress in many areas across Victorian greyhound racing.
This change has encompassed everything from amended racing rules to significant increases in stake money and breeding sustainability, major infrastructure works and the consolidation and strengthening of GRV’s animal welfare and integrity capabilities.
Industry consultation has become more focused through the establishment of the Breeding and Racing Reference Groups. I think everyone in the sport can be proud of what has been achieved so far. But recent issues in other states and countries serve to highlight that greyhound racing will continue to receive strong scrutiny in any environment.
While GRV’s reform agenda is nearly complete, we cannot afford to be complacent about animal welfare which must continue as the sport’s first priority. There has been a significant cultural change in the industry over the past three years but we all need to do more to ensure its long-term future.
I note here that GRV’s Greyhound Racing Integrity Unit is expanding its investigation and prosecution focus to include welfare and conduct issues along with doping and I encourage anyone with welfare-related concerns to contact GRV’s Suspicious Activity hotline on (03) 8329 1196 or online at FastTrack, grv.org.au and greyhoundcare.grv.org.au. All calls and contacts are treated in confidence and can be made anonymously if needed. Our integrity unit and the vast majority of our participants are united in wanting a clean, cruelty-free sport and collaboration between everyone involved is what will ensure we continue on the right path.
Another development in the animal welfare space is GRV’s Retirement Program which is rolling out a new software system over the next few weeks to better track inactive greyhounds. Emails and/or text messages will be automatically sent to owners of greyhounds that have not had any reported activity on Fastrack over a six-month period. The new system will then expand over the coming months with additional functions to help ensure GRV will know more about the current status of all greyhounds registered in Victoria.
I am really pleased with the commitment by participants to re-homing their dogs, and for ensuring a future for racing greyhounds.
Another animal welfare initiative will see GRV offering registered participants a series of free half-day practical workshops covering injury identification and first aid in partnership with Dr Chris Boemo.
These workshops will help participants in identifying, preventing and treating injuries or illnesses that can impact on a greyhound’s ability to race safely and successfully. The workshops will start in late September and held at both metropolitan and regional clubs, with further details on Page 32 of this publication.
And if your greyhound is retiring, you should be aware that demand is continuing to grow for greyhounds as pets as more people discover what great companions they are. Spaces are readily available for GAP pre-entry assessments, which are being held three times a week across the state. Once the 28-day wind-down period has been completed and the required vaccinations have been administered, participants can quickly book their greyhound in for a GAP pre-entry assessment. Please email Racing Services on [email protected] or phone 03 8329 1100.
August will be a very busy month on the track with the 2018 Greyhound Clubs Australia (GCA) National Sprint & Distance Championship Finals on Friday, 24 August. For the first time, all state finals will be run on the same date – Thursday, 9 August before the National Grand Finals at Sandown Park two weeks later. Victoria last hosted this premier racing event in 2013 and the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club has been working very hard to put on a great event again with the support of Crocmedia as the major sponsor. The Grand Finals will also provide the platform for the official launch of the new branding for Victorian greyhound racing.
And in the lead-up to the Nationals, we’ll have the Shepparton Cup (18 August), as well as one of the world’s leading coursing events, the 145th Waterloo Cup, which will be held at Lang Lang on 18-19 August. I encourage everyone to attend a great showcase for grassroots racing, which includes veteran, maiden and puppy coursing events and increased prize money. If you can’t be there, the Waterloo Cup Final on Sunday, 19 August will again be live-streamed on GRV’s Facebook page.