Summit Outcomes Aimed To Future Proof Industry

AFTER two summits hosted by GWIC and GRNSW last year, a two-day summit engaged Industry Leaders to help future proof the sport.

AFTER two ground-breaking summits hosted jointly by the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) and Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) last year, a two-day summit which engaged Greyhound Industry Leaders to advance concepts to future proof greyhound racing concluded on Thursday.

Decision makers from GRNSW, GWIC, Greyhound Clubs NSW, the NSW Greyhound Breeders Owners & Trainers Association (GBOTA), Greyhounds Australasia, along with Greyhound Racing New Zealand's Racing Manager Michael Dore examined strategies to revitalise tracks while addressing welfare, grading, racing opportunities and issues to reduce re-homing time frames.

"This third summit is about continuing the process of transformation of our great sport, making it safer for our canine athletes and making it a fairer sport for all involved," GWIC Chief Commissioner Alby Taylor said.

Those attending this summit reviewed data highlighting the success of race injury reduction strategies, including trials of double-armed lures and preferred box draws.

Based upon this success, agreement was found to a further roll out of double-arm lures and an expansion of the preferred box draw trial statewide.

Sand on display from the UK, Grafton then Bungendore (L to R) with two of each, water content varied on each

The trial of an innovative soft sand profile racing surface on a new track base was also discussed.

Samples of sand used at the Romford (UK) track, Grafton's racing surface and Bungendore sand used on many tracks in NSW were displayed with the clay content in each (nil for Romford, eight per cent Grafton and 10 per cent Bungendore) making a significant impact on the ‘feel' and the surface's water holding capacity.

"We're looking forward to a big year in track safety, prize money and re-homing – it's fantastic to get direct feedback from and alignment with participants and stakeholders," GRNSW CEO Rob Macaulay added.

GRNSW provided an update on a proposed greyhound superannuation scheme which was notionally suggested to be an alarming five percent of prize money earned by all greyhounds.

The scheme would accrue funds for all greyhounds to be self sufficient in respect of injuries and with costs associated with re-homing. The program would save GRNSW just over $3m per annum.

A similar model is capped at one per cent in Queensland while Racing NSW's gallop meetings are clipped by 1.50 per cent via its Equine Welfare Fund.

The GRNSW superannuation proposal would be capped at $5000 (input) with $10 being an industry contribution while all monies will be returned to owners if the greyhound requires no services.

Lively discussion examined investments which will pave the way for a sustainable racing model that encourages the growth of the participation base.

On the summit's opening day, a track optimisation workshop designed to inspire solutions led to a consensus that actions should be driven by industry data which is available on eTrac.

Another major focus of the summit was examining measures to increase the greyhound utilisation rate (whelping measured against the racing population) and outcomes to prolong the racing careers which parlays into maximized field sizes while reducing re-homing pressures.

"It is imperative to not only maintain, but expand the racing calendar and participation into the future which includes the creation of pathways and opportunities for all grades of dogs," Macaulay continued.

GRNSW also revealed a new Greyhounds As Pets centre will be opening in Canberra to allow for more former racing greyhounds to be welcomed into loving homes for life as a pet.

Strategies agreed and committed to by the industry at the summit will be published shortly, while both GWIC and GNRSW will undertake broader industry consultation on track revitalisation.

"Some of these strategies, such as the exploration of new racing surfaces, have the potential to revolutionise and ensure the continuation of the sport," Alby Taylor added.

"It is my strong belief that this initiative will be a game changer with the potential to significantly reduce injuries."

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