The big news for GRV last month was the decision by Bernie Carolan to step down as Chair of Greyhound Racing Victoria on 30 June after a four-year term. Since 2015, Bernie has led Victorian greyhound racing through great change to deliver sustained reform and growth as GRV addressed all recommendations made in reviews by Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna and Victoria’s then Chief Veterinary Officer Charles Milne. Among the highlights of Bernie’s term were an increase greater than 50 per cent in re-homed greyhounds, prize money and other returns to participants boosted to a record $45 million last season and wagering turnover on Victorian greyhounds up by 41 per cent over four years, from $1.6 billion to $2.26 billion. On behalf of GRV I thank Bernie for his commitment and hard work on behalf of the sport. It has been a pleasure to work with him as a very professional and supportive Chair during such a period of major reform and he leaves Victorian greyhound racing in great shape for the future. Deputy Chair Peita Duncan will be GRV Acting Chair until a new Chair is appointed.
In other news, GRV’s Watchdog App, a purpose-built mobile application with form and other details on all Victorian greyhounds and meetings, has just added a new click-to-bet feature. Developed in conjunction with Tabcorp, the click-to-bet feature connects Watchdog users directly with the corresponding TAB markets for their selected race. You can find out more at: grv.org.au/watchdog and download The Watchdog for free from the Google and Apple App stores.
We are now six months away from the Victorian Government’s Code of Practice for Keeping of Racing Greyhounds becoming operational on 1 January, 2020. GRV has been working with participants to help them transition to compliance with the Code through a range of measures and resources including a Code Support Book. While we have now released all chapters of the Support Book, more materials to help participants with compliance are being released this month. They include guidance in how to complete Establishment and Health Management Plan (EHMP) protocols for greyhound facilities, how to have these EHMPs approved by vets and how to submit declarations of approved EHMPs to GRV. These new resources, the complete GRV Code Support Book and other information and advice are all available at greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/code-of-practice.
On the subject of greyhound welfare, the current Kennel Cough outbreak hasn’t been as severe as the 2017 outbreak so far and appears to be declining. However, there is still the potential for another, more severe and longer-lasting outbreak to occur in coming months as it gets colder. And Kennel Cough can persist well into spring and reoccur in animals that have already been infected in the same year. So, it’s still very important that owners and trainers immediately isolate greyhounds at the first signs of Kennel Cough, scrub all kennel areas with hospital grade disinfectant and contact their veterinarian. And it’s critical to vaccinate all dogs against Kennel Cough if they haven’t already been vaccinated in 2019, preferably with an intra-nasal vaccine which provides better protection. You can find out more at: greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/faqs/kennel-cough.
Turning now to racing matters, work is continuing on the Traralgon greyhound racing track redesign with the Traralgon Club driving the consultation process. However, in advance of a decision on the design of the track, a tender for the demolition of the old track base and surrounding racing related infrastructure as well as the relocation of work sheds will be released shortly. At this stage, it’s expected that two options, specifically designed to promote safe racing, will be considered by the GRV Board at the end of July, along with input from the consultation process.
There’s a lot happening this month with the Bendigo Cup on 5 July and the Group 1 Maturity Classic on 27 July. And we have an exciting new event starting at the end of July, the first ever National Straight Track Championship, sponsored by SEN. The three-state series will hold heats and finals at Capalaba in Queensland, Murray Bridge in South Australia and here in Victoria at Healesville followed by a ‘National’ Grand Final at Healesville on 18 August with $21,000 in prize money. I think this is a great initiative that showcases the attractions of a straight track and I look forward to seeing you at the Grand Final.