Racing Nearing A Return To Wentworth Park

PLANS are underway at Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) to begin working towards a return to city racing at Wentworth Park in October.

Adam Dobbin

9 September 2021

PLANS are underway at Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) to begin working towards a return to city racing at Wentworth Park in October.

With news strengthening that NSW will come out of lockdown at some stage in October when double dosage vaccination rates hit 70 per cent, it’s understood GRNSW is formulating plans to resume city racing from no later than October.

It’s been almost three-months since metropolitan racing was staged at Wentworth Park after officials made the call to halt racing at the venue as the Covid crisis in Greater Sydney worsened.

The decision – made to cease unnecessary travel into Sydney from regional areas – resulted in fully and semi funded city meetings being slated for venues right across the state.

It also put paid to the TAB Million Dollar Chase series in 2021 with the event to now be staged twice in 2022.

The overriding sentiment from participants during this unprecedented time has been one of gratitude with GRNSW navigating a pathway which has allowed racing to continue amid the most challenging of circumstances.

But with a vast number of greyhounds becoming increasingly outgraded and the loss of city racing opportunities beginning to take hold, news of a mooted return date couldn’t come at a better time for owners and trainers.

In recent weeks the argument has echoed louder as to why thoroughbred racing at Randwick can continue while Wentworth Park – which is a stone’s throw away – remains on ice.

The reasoning for GRNSW ceasing racing at Wentworth Park was to stop participants from having to travel unnecessary distances to race for Wednesday and Saturday night stakes.

It’s a totally different beast to the thoroughbreds where the majority of horses and participants are domiciled on track.

After GRNSW formally announces a return date for city racing its next challenge will be to formulate its intentions in respect to vaccination protocols both within the participant base and general public.

Earlier this week, Racing Victoria (RV) sent out a survey to its participants canvassing input on whether Covid-19 vaccinations should be a requirement to work in the industry.

The survey also asked participants whether they would be concerned if they had to work closely alongside unvaccinated participants.

It’s not yet known how GRNSW plans to navigate the emotive issue.

In a perfect world the racing industry as a whole would adopt the same regulations to provide a sense of clarity across all three-codes.

Whether that’s a possibility remains to be seen – but it’s a picture that’s expected to become clearer in the coming weeks.