We enjoyed more great racing over May, firstly with the Warrnambool Cup which was won in great style by Striker Light and which drew a big crowd on a beautiful day, including many local MPs and community leaders. Also attending was the Minister for Racing, who took the opportunity to announce a $1.4 million upgrade of the Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club that will include a major renovation of the Wannon Park function centre, a new judge’s tower, irrigation system and tractor turn pad, as well as an improved kennel block and lure rail. Then, at the end of the month, we had the conclusion of the Sandown Cup Carnival and I congratulate Tornado Tears on a hard-earned win which gave trainer Rob Britton his second Sandown Cup victory. The Bill Collins Speed Star night, held at the beginning of the three-week carnival, offered multi-betting and an array of unique markets which generated a lot of interest from punters.
On the subject of wagering, the Victorian Government has announced that from 1 January 2019, all Wagering Service Providers will be required to pay a Point of Consumption Tax (PCT) of 8% on all wagering in the State, including greyhound racing. To ensure that the racing industry is no worse off, the Government will contribute 1.5% of the net taxable revenue on all wagering to the State’s three racing codes. GRV, Racing Victoria and Harness Racing Victoria have worked with the Government to ensure the PCT will not affect the future sustainability of Victoria’s racing industry, and we are now finalising the terms of reference for a formal review of the PCT within the first 18 months of its operation.
There have also been some changes at GRV. I’m pleased to announce that Vaughn Lynch will be joining GRV as our General Manager of Racing in the next couple of months. Vaughn brings a wealth of experience to GRV as former General Manager of the Geelong Harness Club, general manager of operations for Harness Racing Victoria and then as Chief Executive of Tasracing. Vaughn’s family has been long involved in training greyhounds and thoroughbreds and he has owned and raced greyhounds and thoroughbreds himself.
GRV is also planning to move its Animal Welfare Inspectorate, formerly based in the Animal Welfare Department, to our Integrity Department. The actual responsibilities of the Inspectorate would remain unchanged while being more closely aligned with the work of Integrity. This move will allow Animal Welfare to concentrate specifically on key issues such as applied research, participant education and new policy, including preparing for the introduction of the new Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds and the removal of muzzling requirements.
In other animal welfare news, last month GRV was pleased to spend time with a team from GRNSW led by its CEO, Tony Mestrov, who visited GAP at Seymour and met with GRV’s senior management to discuss more interstate co-operation in developing re-homing strategies. And this month, GAP will host another major adoption event at Seymour on 15-16 June.
Looking ahead, we have the Bendigo Cup heats on 1 July and the exciting news that this year’s TAB Melbourne Cup Carnival will now offer $1 million in prizemoney and more events on the night of the final. You can find out more about this and what else is coming down the track in this edition of Greyhound Monthly Victoria.