I’d like to congratulate Whiskey Riot and connections on a great win in the 2019 TAB Melbourne Cup. And I thank Sandown Park for their great work again in presenting one of the world’s greatest greyhound races. Those who were there may have noticed the new double lure system which is now operational at all Victorian clubs except Geelong, following a six-month trial period. Trial feedback was overwhelmingly positive about how the double lure reduces bunching and improves sightlines for greyhounds while not impacting on performance and audience experience. I’d like to thank all the Clubs involved for working with GRV on trialing the new system, which is an important step in improving race safety.
Things are also moving ahead in Traralgon, where the contract for construction of the new track is now out to tender and includes civil engineering, railing, lighting and electrical systems and irrigation works. The GRV Board is expected to sign off on the approved tender by the end of the year with work scheduled to begin in early 2020.
I’d like to take the opportunity here to thank everyone who worked on and watched ‘Thrill Of The Chase’, the national TV series about greyhound racing that was screened on 7mate over the past five Sunday mornings. It provided a comprehensive roundup of news about the sport while also taking viewers behind the scenes to find out more about how these great athletes prepare for the track and life afterwards. It was also a great example of the states coming together to develop a truly national brand for the sport and we are now all actively exploring how to build on this initiative for more Australia-wide promotional and marketing activities.
Turning to matters off the track, GRV recently suspended three trainers in relation to practices suspected to be in breach of greyhound racing rules while investigations continue, pending formal charges. Following this there was significant media coverage across various TV, online, radio and print channels. As you are likely aware, I conducted several radio interviews on 13 November 2019, making key points such as:
- It was GRV that identified and is resolving the issue in its capacity as a professional regulator.
- These practices were the work of a small minority who do not represent all other participants.
- There is zero tolerance within the sport for such behaviour.
The Racing Minister’s strong statement of support was also welcomed, providing a positive message to those in our industry as well as the broader community.
This matter does highlight the need for GRV, the Clubs and all participants to continue working together to protect the high levels of professionalism and integrity of the sport. I ask that you continue to promote compliance and to not hesitate in reporting any suspicious activity to GRV’s Greyhound Racing Integrity Unit.
Another important issue we all need to be aware of is that a hot summer with a high bushfire risk has been forecast for Victoria so it’s vital that participants in regions that could be affected have fire management plans in place. Advice about developing fire plans can be sourced from local councils, Emergency Management Victoria and the CFA. It’s also important that you are up to date with GRV’s Hot Weather and Transport Policies which are online at https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/policies-and-guidance.
As this is last edition of Greyhound Monthly Victoria for 2019, I’d like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season, followed by a new year with plenty of great racing action supported by some exciting new promotional initiatives in 2020.