The big news this month is that the GRV Board has signed off on an additional $2.84 million annually in prizemoney, effective October 1, which when combined with the three additional race meetings per week will take Victoria’s total prizemoney and other returns to participants to over $52 million across the year. Most of this prizemoney boost will go to provincial races and is very much aimed at supporting greyhounds who are starting their racing career and encouraging more participants to race at Provincial Level 2.
This increase has been generated by a rise in wagering revenue from both an expanded racing program and from more people discovering the excitement of greyhound racing while other sports were not active during COVID lockdown. This represents a substantial increase in overall Victorian prizemoney. Another example of the depth and strength of our sport today was the great showing by Victorian dogs and trainers at the Greyhound Clubs Australia 2019-20 Awards on 20 September. I congratulate all the Victorian finalists and winners, especially David Burnett and Simon Told Helen for Greyhound of the Year and Anthony Azzopardi for Trainer of the Year.
In other good news, some COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted across Victoria, including the removal of the curfew which means we can now enjoy night racing again in Melbourne. The metropolitan clubs and GRV will soon be announcing more details about this, so stay tuned. However, all COVID-19 protocols remain in place for the moment at all Victorian racing and trials, including mandatory face masks and social distancing, and you will still need permitted work permits when traveling to, from and within Melbourne. Trainers travelling to and from Melbourne for regional meetings are also advised to give themselves extra time as there may be extended delays at check points.
Looking ahead, track safety will continue to be a major focus for GRV and the clubs.
We met with a group of trainers referred by GOTBA to receive feedback around track conditions. GRV has listened to the suggestions made in the meetings and has incorporated these into the Safe Racing program.
Our Safe Racing program remains a core priority and some new initiatives are being introduced including a joint GRV/GCV supported education and benchmarking program for track curators, further development of the pre-race diagnostic program and more GRV support and funding for track maintenance equipment.
We will also provide training for the stewards to ensure that they are well placed to make decisions about whether the track is in a fit state for safe racing and trialing. Construction of the new Traralgon track remains on schedule and we are considering options for other tracks such as drop on boxes, enhanced cambers and catching pen upgrades. Remedial track works at Sandown have been concluded and it is anticipated that Sandown will reopen for trialing and racing in October. GRV’s major works program will make it a priority to ensure Sandown’s long-term future as one of the world’s leading greyhound racing venues.
We are also really pleased with our GAP numbers through home delivery.
I would like to remind you that as summer approaches, it is important you refresh your knowledge of GRV’s Hot Weather and Transport Policies which have had some minor changes this year. You can find out more at greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/policies-and-guidance and in this issue of the Monthly. Now is also a good time to start thinking about your fire management plans as well.
It has been a very testing time for everyone and I’d like to thank you all for your patience, understanding and co-operation in getting the sport through winter in great shape. Now that spring is here, we can enjoy more great racing this month with the TAB Great Chase Grand Final at The Meadows followed by the Geelong Cup and Hume Cup series.
While it is still too early to say I will see you at the track, hopefully that day is coming soon.