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IMPORTANT NOTICE: Modifications to track preparation methods focused on greyhound safety

Greyhound Racing Victoria has intensified its focus on improving safety standards for greyhounds across the 13 Victorian racetracks.

In conjunction with the Clubs, GRV is implementing a series of modifications to track preparation, aimed at reducing racetrack injuries.

As a result these modifications may, in some cases, lead to variances in times recorded by greyhounds at certain trial sessions and race meetings. This variability will continue for a period as GRV works with clubs to explore ways to improve safety for greyhounds at all tracks.

“Greyhounds that race in Victoria have an average of 31 career starts, which is significantly less than the number of starts greyhounds are having on average overseas and even in some other states of Australia,” said Stuart Laing, GRV’s General Manager for Racing, Wagering & Business Development.

“If we can improve track safety, we expect greyhounds will be able to race for longer, and if they are having more starts, then fewer litters need to be bred. This will in turn, lead to a reduction in the euthanasia of healthy greyhounds with the long term aim of getting closer to zero.”

Mr. Laing said participants and punters will need to be understanding of what we are trying to achieve in the short-to-mid term as race and trial times at certain tracks could vary significantly from what is normally expected.

“It is important to note that this is not a case of one size fits all in terms of track preparation. Each track possesses its own unique environment and conditions, so therefore each requires its own unique preparation to achieve optimum safety levels,” Mr. Laing said.

“People can expect that the regularity and depth of harrowing and frequency and volume of irrigation may vary at certain tracks over the coming weeks and months as we explore what works best for each individual venue.”

“People can expect that the regularity and depth of harrowing and frequency and volume of irrigation may vary at certain tracks over the coming weeks and months as we explore what works best for each individual venue.”

“We will be recording and measuring the impacts each change has on track and greyhound performance and injuries at each venue.”

An increased focus on racetrack safety falls into line with the priorities of the new GRV, which has animal welfare as its overriding priority.

As part of this new focus, Mr. Laing and GRV’s Manager Racing Operations, Scott Robins recently travelled to numerous greyhound racetracks in the USA and the UK to observe track preparations, where they discovered that racetracks were being prepared very differently to the methods used in Australia with greyhound safety being the overriding priority.

“What we learnt from our overseas counterparts is that we need to be more focussed and diligent in our approach to track preparation and safety to give our greyhounds every chance of achieving long and successful racing careers. There is a school of thought that we have been too focussed on achieving fast times, so we need to change that focus.”

“The need for improved track safety is something that has also emerged from GRV’s Stakeholder Engagement Workshops, in which GRV has been liaising with participants in recent months to discuss key issues facing our sport.”

“Each track is now collecting detailed data with respect to track firmness and moisture content using standardised apparatus including penotrometers and moisture meters,” Mr. Laing said.

Mr. Laing said GRV will collect and analyse the data over coming months and will consider publishing penetrometer and moisture readings in form guides in the future to help punters put times greyhounds are running into perspective at the respective tracks.

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