I am very pleased to report that greyhound racing continues to perform strongly in Victoria and that we have been able to maintain, and even add to, our regular racing calendar, which is indeed a privilege for which we should all be collectively grateful.
This is because of the outstanding work of the stewards; the 13 clubs and all the race day staff under very difficult circumstances and we owe them a very big thanks and all our co-operation. It is also because of the outstanding way our participants are following the protocols designed to provide a safe and healthy working environment. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to keep our sport going.
As you would be aware, we need to keep following the stringent protocols we have put in place so it is important to regularly check GRV’s Covid-19 Protocols Page at grv.org.au/ covid-19 for updates, including most recently the requirement for trainers to provide their own high-vis clothing for arm trials and new procedures for interstate greyhound transfers to Victoria.
Meantime, we have announced our racing program and associated prize money for the next three months. One exciting new addition is that Clubs will also be hosting Saturday morning race meetings again, starting with Ballarat on May 9 and 16, followed by Shepparton on 23 May.
It is critical to note that the only change to our prize money program is around feature races which represents a very small percentage (less than one per cent) of the prize money in our overall racing program. This decision is interim, and as we continue to race, this will be reviewed.
It is important to us all that feature racing continues at our tracks and we have a strong racing program where our best dogs can compete. In this climate, where so much is no longer available in the sport arena, it also gives punters, participants and members of the general community a form of entertainment to enjoy and look forward to.
In addition to maintaining feature racing, albeit with slightly reduced prize money, GRV has changed up the program and introduced ‘Best 8’ special events at both The Meadows and Sandown carrying $15,000 in prize money over the next two months. These special events will provide extra opportunities for our top-class greyhounds to compete for increased prizemoney on a regular basis. These best 8 races will be run over a variety of distances including longer distances at both metro tracks opening up more opportunities for stayers. You can find out more about these changes in this edition of the Monthly.
Also covered in this issue is information about canine gastroenteritis, as cases continue to be reported in Victoria and infected dogs do have an impact on racing and GAP operations. Speaking of GAP, I remind everyone that it is still taking in new dogs from participants and fostering and adopting them out. There have been some changes to intake procedures and again you can find out more in this issue.
GRV has really stepped up its online coverage of major meetings and as things return to normal, we will continue to improve how we present racing action to those watching at home. For example, the TAB Warrnambool Cup on 6 May, will be showcased in detail through the GRV website, Facebook page, twitter feed and the recently expanded Watchdog app.
The coverage will include stories, podcast, heats, box draw and wagering updates, previews of trainers and dogs and Zoom interviews with competing trainers, Warrnambool’s Manager and others involved in the Cup. Presenters will include James Van de Maat, George Farrugia, GRV Racing Ambassador and AFL champion, Brent Harvey, and GRV’s own Molly Haines who will also host the online Molly’s Lounge, talking with trainers and others. There will also be live SEN updates and GRV coverage hosted by SKY, RSN and TAB. This will be the largest social media campaign ever for a country Cup delivered by GRV in partnership with the club.
The combination of Covid-19, canine gastroenteritis, the bushfires and a shortfall in racing fields late last year has affected GRV’s finances. However, we remain committed to returning as much revenue as possible to participants. This does mean though that we have had to defer some major IT upgrades and other projects. Our intention is to review these decisions towards the end of 2020 and I will keep you informed about this. A reminder too that GRV is still open for business but that participants should contact us online or by phone rather than visiting the Chetwynd St office in West Melbourne.
Finally, I thank all of you for your patience and understanding as we work through these trying times. It’s now more important than ever that we watch out for each other, and especially for older participants who are not finding it easy at the moment. So, take care, stay safe and keep racing.