It has been another busy month for GRV as we continue to work on developing a strong and sustainable long term future for the sport. As I mentioned last month, the capital works program is now well underway to ensure that Victoria’s greyhound racing clubs have the infrastructure they need to improve track safety, support industry development through new training centres and deliver a great experience for racing audiences and community events. GRV is also working to strengthen the clubs in the many roles they play in their communities by funding people to provide dedicated support for the clubs and also developing a collective strategic plan and new marketing initiatives.
This month’s edition of the Greyhound Monthly continues to celebrate all the great news that is happening in Victorian greyhound racing, with an update on the redevelopment of the Horsham track and GRV’s excellent community work in the Chase for Charity and our role in raising money for the Anzac Day appeal. There are also fascinating reads on the Fullerton family from Mildura and a recap of our latest Greyhound Community Day and the Greyhound Holiday Fun Days.
Hoop arm lure systems are now being installed for racing at all tracks and will be trialled over a four-month period to see how effectively they reduce interference and collisions in races. GRV will also make scaled down hoop arm lures available for trial tracks and training facilities to help both dogs and trainers become more familiar with the new equipment. Track safety is also being improved by the installation of new lightweight catching pen gates and improved padding in catching pens at all tracks, again on a trial basis.
As illustrated by the hoop arm project, GRV’s approach to introducing new racing and operational initiatives is very much one of trialing them first so that they are properly evaluated in the field and participant feedback is incorporated. It will be taking this approach again with amendments to the Grading Guidelines for a new Meeting type where eligibility and selection for races will be based solely on Aged Prize Money (APM).
The new APM system is a simpler, more transparent, and potentially more valid method for rating greyhounds and selecting race fields that provide better opportunities for greyhounds to race longer and more competitively. APM Meetings will be introduced later this year as an eight-month pilot project for up to four meetings per week after which the results will be assessed in consultation with the industry.
Animal welfare remains GRV’s overriding priority and I am pleased to report that GRV’s Animal Welfare Inspectorate is impressed by improvements in the standard of greyhound premises and the care provided to dogs that they are now seeing around the state.
Participants and clubs should now feel a sense of pride about what has been achieved and I encourage everyone to spread the word about where the sport is at today and to encourage more people to discover what greyhound racing can offer.
The popularity of greyhounds as pets is also growing and this was highlighted at the Greyhound Community Day held at The Meadows on 2 April. It was a very successful and enjoyable day that attracted around 660 people and 200 greyhounds and featured educational vet talks and tours of the racetrack. It’s also interesting to note here that some metropolitan clubs report a significant increase in slipping track memberships as more owners of re-homed greyhounds discover how fun it is when their dogs enjoy a good run.
Speaking of a good run, we can look forward to some great action on the track in May with the Warrnambool Cup and Macey’s Bistro Warrnambool Classic this week followed by the Sandown Cup Carnival, which features the Harrison-Dawson and Sapphire Crown Group 1 races and culminates with the RSN Sandown Cup itself, the world’s richest staying race for greyhounds. Make sure you have a read of an excellent ‘Where are they Now’ article in this edition that looks at a Warrnambool Classic from 10 years ago.