It has been another busy month on the track with highlights including the Warrnambool Cup and the Sandown May Carnival along with a full calendar of regular race meetings. We have been very privileged to keep our sport operating over the past few months and this is very much due to how the clubs, stewards and race day staff and participants have all worked to together to follow proto-cols while consistently and professionally delivering great racing.
Now that some restrictions are starting to ease, noting that the State of Emergency has been extended, Greyhound Clubs Victoria and GRV are developing complementary Club Recovery and Stimulus Plans that will be supported by funding from a $3.42 million grant from the Victorian Gov-ernment’s Experience Economy Survival Package.
To boost revenue for participants, GRV is introducing a new racing calendar on 1 July that will deliver overall annual prize money distribution of more than $47 million and increase the number of average weekly race meetings from 23 to 25 across the year. You can find out more about the racing program in this edition of the Monthly along with a report on the trial of Saturday morning meetings broadcast on Sky. We will review this shortly with the TAB.
GRV is sharing almost $290,000 in accrued unspent prizemoney from June 1 to June 30. There will be $80 payments which will apply at 37 meetings across Ballarat, Bendigo, Cranbourne, Healesville, Warrnambool, Shepparton and Warragul.
Horsham and Sale will host a combined nine Provincial Level meetings where starters will receive unplaced $80 payments. In addition, both Geelong Rank Limit Tuesday meetings will be increased to Provincial Full Stakes and prizemoney increases will be trialled at The Meadows Provincial (MEP) and Sandown Provincial (SAP) meetings over June. As occurred in March 2019, GRV would have preferred to make the decision to reallocate unspent prizemoney again in March this year but due to uncertainties around COVID-19 and the ongoing race program it was not possible to do so.
This necessary delay limited our ability to reallocate remaining accrued unspent prizemoney.
GRV is also stepping up its promotional and racing coverage, which will help retain the new audience greyhound racing has gained while other sports have shut down, through more use of social media, further developing the Watchdog app and building more partnerships with broadcast media. Some recent initiatives include the Behind The Boxes podcast, hosted by GRV’s Molly Haines; Mick Floyd and Jason Adams on the Sandown and GRV websites; and the ‘The Lids Fly’ with Jack Heverin and Molly Haines on SEN Track from 6pm on Thursdays. And Channel 7’s popular Thrill of the Chase pro-gram will return in November for greyhound racing’s second annual Melbourne Festival of Racing.
GRV committed to donating $250 to the Police Legacy Remembrance Fund every time a greyhound won a race from the four box at The Meadows and Sandown during the month of May. GRV, and the 13 clubs which come under the banner of Greyhound Clubs Victoria, have a strong and proud history of banding together to help those in need and we wanted to show our support for the families of the four fallen police officers who lost their lives in that tragic crash on April 22. During May, there were 24 winners from the Blue Box at The Meadows and Sandown, generating a $6000 donation from GRV to the fund set up to support the police officers’ families. However, GRV has taken the decision to round that up to $10,000. This is our way of showing our love and respect for all police officers doing their jobs to keep us safe.
The end of May also saw the start of the 2020 Coursing season. The National Coursing Association of Victoria (NCAV) and GRV have worked closely on developing COVID-19 race meeting protocols that mirror those that have been used for the GRV circle track meetings and coursing meets will be con-ducted under strict guidelines to provide a safe and healthy environment. Another change is that both the Derby and Oaks meetings will be held over consecutive Sundays, as will the Waterloo Cup in 2021, to give competitors a proper break between races.
In other news, I’d like to welcome Lisa Tripodi as GRV’s new board member. Lisa has been appointed for a three-year term and brings valuable financial expertise to the Board, backed by more than 20 years’ experience in accounting, assurance services and risk management. She also has a strong understanding of greyhound racing from her previous audit experience with GRV in 2013-14. Please join me in welcoming her to GRV.
Finally, while greyhound racing in Victoria has come through strongly in the crisis, I must caution us all about becoming complacent. Please keep following race day and trial protocols until we know when we can start easing them. And, if you haven’t already done so, join the ‘Let Us All Play’ campaign by downloading the COVIDSafe app as the more information we have, the better equipped our community will be to resume and rebuild. Once again, I thank everyone for what has been a fantastic effort over the past three months and let’s all stay safe and keep racing.