One month into the new year and the 2018 racing calendar is well and truly underway with the Warragul and Traralgon legs of the second annual Gippsland Carnival, building on the success of the inaugural event last year. There has also been a great win by Out of Range at the Feikuai Greyhounds Silver Chief, a thrilling finish by Aston Dee Bee at the Sandown Shootout and plenty of racing action at the Warrnambool Seaside Carnival.
It’s been a big first month for GRV which is looking to adopt a ‘business as usual’ approach this year after a heavy emphasis on building our integrity and welfare capabilities over the past two years.
The Gippsland Carnival comes to a thrilling conclusion on February 10 with the final leg at Cranbourne and I’m eager to see who takes out the glory in greyhound racing’s exciting new carnival concept. With so much buzz and excitement to come out of Gippsland in such a short period, we are now looking at combining cups held in other areas of the state for a similar carnival concept.
While the Gippsland Carnival is one of Victorian greyhound racing’s most thrilling new creations, the focus soon switches back to one of our more longstanding traditions with the 60th Australian Cup Carnival starting at The Meadows on 17 February including five Group 1 races with more than a million dollars in prize money.
As well as some elite racing, there are many activities off the track for greyhound fans and their families. In other racing news, coursing, which in many ways is seen as Victoria’s 14th greyhound club, celebrated its achievements from the previous season with the 2017 Coursing Awards on 25 January, which is featured in this edition of the Monthly.
Speaking of achievements, one of the best racers the sport has seen in recent years, Ando’s Mac, as well as the highly promising Aston Miley, both retired in January and this issue of Greyhound Monthly also takes a look back at some of their career highlights.
Off the track, GAP held two very successful greyhound adoption days at its Seymour headquarters on 12-13 January with 104 dogs finding new homes. Full credit must go to Larissa Darragh, Sean Stanton and the team at GRV’s Greyhound Adoption Program, who once again took the bold initiative to hold such a significant event in Seymour, which is more than an hour from Melbourne.
A big thanks also to our Emma Hall, and the Strategic Communication and Marketing department for their terrific efforts in promoting the weekend and ensuring everything ran smoothly.
There were some challenges with the new approach, notably when more than 50 greyhounds were adopted on the opening day. At that point the decision was made to get on the phone to foster carers around the state on Friday night to organise some last-minute green collar testing of foster greyhounds on Saturday morning. This resulted in an extra 10 adoptions that might not otherwise have happened.
We are looking forward to our next GAP adoption day coming up on 25 February at Bendigo Greyhound Racing Association.
Over February and March, Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, will once again be holding annual roadshows across Victoria at race clubs on race days to talk about his role and responsibilities and the work of his office.
You can find out more about how to take part in these sessions in this issue. Also covered this month are the Finish on Lure trials at Geelong, planning permit sessions being held by the new Victorian Clubs Association as well as updates on the VicGreys program and the proposed new Penalty guidelines.
Looking ahead, I’d like to remind participants that GRV’s Hot Weather Policy is still in force during February and that it applies not just to race meetings but also to travelling to and from them.
Beyond that, GRV’s new Racing and Breeding Reference Groups have been now been formed and we will be working closely with them on policies and programs to help secure the sport’s long-term future, along with developing new strategies to expand greyhound racing’s market share and audience experience. In one big positive, I am particularly encouraged to see a recent increase in sustainable breeding as this has been an area of strong focus for GRV and the industry in general.
I am confident that this work will deliver an even stronger and more exciting racing program in 2018 that will further position Victoria as a world leader in the sport.