With meetings held 363 days a year, there’s always something happening in Victorian greyhound racing but this last month was particularly busy. On 18 August, we saw a commanding win by Peter Galo in the Shepparton Cup, followed the next day by Bear Left taking out the 145th Waterloo Cup, which was again livestreamed on GRV’s Facebook page. Then in the runup to the National Championships at Sandown, GRV’s Greyhound Racing Integrity Unity hosted Australia’s first major Integrity in Sports conference which brought together national and international speakers and panels to share their experience and expertise across a range of issues from doping to wagering to meeting community expectations.
The Crocmedia National Championships saw Rob Brittan claim a second successive win in the distance event with a great run by Tornado Tears while Chris Halse had a very convincing win with the Western Australian dog, West On Augie in the sprint championship. The Nationals also provided an opportunity for GRV to officially launch the new brand for Victorian greyhound racing, along with a new slogan “Love the dogs. Love the thrills”. This new identity captures the energy and excitement of these great dogs in full flight while allowing each Club and major race meetings to reflect their own individual identities within the overall brand. And it makes it clear we are proudly Victorian. This branding is now being rolled out in club signage across the State and for all new marketing and promotional activities.
In other news during the month, GRV welcomed Vaughn Lynch as its new General Manager, Racing. This is the first time in many years that GRV has had someone solely dedicated to leading racing operations without doubling up on other responsibilities. Vaughn has over 20 years’ experience in a range of senior roles across all three racing codes, has trained horses himself and grew up in a greyhound racing family. He will be a very valuable addition to the GRV team and will be working closely with the clubs on the ground. Having done a great job as acting Racing Manager for GRV, Scott Robins has now started work as GRV’s Director, Safer Racing and Sustainable Breeding. He will report directly to Vaughn and meet regularly with me as he develops and drive key initiatives to deliver safer racing and an improved approach to greyhound breeding regulation.
I am also pleased to announce that Olivia Alcock has been engaged by GRV as Re-homing Facilitator for the Gippsland Region. Olivia is a registered participant and respected greyhound breeder with considerable experience in club and race day administration. Based at the Traralgon club, she will work with participants in the Gippsland region to explore and prepare for various re-homing options for their retiring greyhounds, including through GAP, other re-homing agencies or directly with potential owners. In other staff movements, Heidi Lester, GRV’s Head Steward is leaving Australia to take up a new position as Head Steward for the Korean Racing Authority. During her time at GRV, Heidi played a key role in many reform initiatives, including introducing a more professional career path for stewards, and I wish her well in what will be an exciting and challenging new role. Paul Searle is currently acting as GRV’s Head Steward until the position is permanently filled.
I’d also like to note that Sandown Greyhound Racing Club (SGRC) has entered into an agreement to provide Administrator Services to the Healesville Greyhound Association for a two-year period from 1 August 2018 and you can read more about this development in this issue. Speaking of Healesville, we have the Healesville Cup coming up on 9 September which is Australia’s leading straight track meeting, followed by the TopCat Video Cup at the Meadows on 29 September. And looking ahead to the rest of the year, the action will continue with the Victorian Greyhound Awards, the Melbourne Cup, the Topgun, more country Cups, The TAB Great Chase and the Gippsland Carnival, all more great opportunities to love the dogs and love the thrills.