GRV Reveal Record Rehoming Numbers

ON the track Victorian greyhound racing is about to enter its most pivotal time of the year with Friday night’s Melbourne Cup leading into The Phoenix.

Adam Dobbin

26 November 2021

ON the racetrack Victorian greyhound racing is about to enter its most pivotal time of the year with Friday night’s Melbourne Cup leading into next month’s inaugural The Phoenix.

And while things are ramping  up on the track it’s a string of results off the track which has Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) in one of its strongest positions on record.

“To nearly crack 3000 in rehoming numbers for financial year 2021 is something we are extremely proud of,” said GRV CEO Alan Clayton.

“We rehomed 2983 greyhounds last year which is a national record and up 17 per cent on the previous year.

“To be able to produce such a result amid Covid-19 restrictions is something GRV is immensely proud of and eager to capitalise on.”

In its recently released annual report GRV declared wagering revenue of a staggering $123 million, up a remarkable 20 per cent on the previous year.

The significant uprise a reflection of an expanding and attractive racing program as well as the wagering growth racing in general has experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“When we first entered Covid racing as whole wasn’t sure what to expect from a revenue viewpoint so at first we moved cautiously,” Clayton said.

“But as things evolved it became apparent that wagering was increasing for varying reasons and the challenge now is to make the most of that heightened engagement and awareness.

“We are always reviewing the numbers and analyzing trends but ultimately the objective is to continue to lift and sustain investment across all the key areas of the business – prize money, welfare and integrity.”

Victorian greyhound is on the cusp of another industry first with the innovative Traralgon J-Turn track set to launch early in the New Year.

A return to greyhound racing in Traralgon was to occur this week before the start date was pushed back due to circumstances outside GRV’s control.

“It’s a major project and unfortunately there was a delay in accessing some infrastructure outside our control,” Clayton said.

“The setback is disappointing but what’s most important is that we get it right. All eyes are on Traralgon and I’ve got no doubt it will be the blueprint for track designs in the future.

“In financial year 2021 injuries across all our tracks were reduced 10 per cent and race fatalities were down 30 per cent year on year despite an increased racing program.

“Track design and preparation is fundamental in continuing to reduce that number and is another key focal point for GRV.”

In September, GRV resolved a much publicised stand-off with the Victorian Greyhound, Owners, Breeders & Trainer Association (GOTBA) by announcing a $5.3m prize money boost.

That commitment took Victorian prize money for financial year 2022 to an industry record $63.3 million.

“There were some lessons learned out of that process and one of the real positives is a strengthening of the relationship between GRV and the GOTBA,” Clayton said.

“It demonstrated the extent to which GRV and participants can work together to keep the sport moving forward.

“Returns to participants is vitally important to the GRV board but responses need to be measured also. Investment in welfare and integrity are at record levels also.

“I’m confident we’ve struck that right balance.”

After Friday night’s $500,000-to-the-winner Melbourne Cup at Sandown the attention turns to The Meadows where the inaugural The TAB Phoenix will be staged on December 18.

“The Phoenix is something we are very excited about,” Clayton said.

“It is generating significant promotion for the sport and the feedback we are receiving from wagering providers about it is extremely positive.

“Like anything that’s new you learn as you go but I’m confident in the years to come it will evolve into something the industry can be proud of.”