GRV’s General Manager of Racing, Greg Kerr, provides an update on some of the current topics from around the racetrack.
Q. The number of Victorian greyhound race meetings has recently risen from 23 to 26 each week. What does this mean for the racing program?
Greg Kerr: The idea behind the extra meetings has always been to give more dogs the opportunity to gain a start, and a change in the way we grade some of these meetings means we are able to target dogs in a bottom-up style. This benefits many dogs, particularly those in the Warrnambool region, that because of the border closures, mean they are unable to travel interstate to race. As such, Warrnambool on a Monday is one of our new extra meetings.
The extra races have been popular and being able to secure the Saturday morning slot means we can successfully run 26 meetings per week. One of the benefits of these meetings is that they generate extra revenue, which will ultimately mean we’ll have extra money for our participants.
The results are very pleasing. Meeting numbers are up by 6.36%, individual races up by 7.3%, our average field size is up, as is the percentage of races with eight starters. We still see a number of vacant boxes, however compared to last year we are up approximately 10% on this important stat.
Q. Next month’s Geelong Gold Cup will be run over 520m for the first time, which is a break with tradition. Does it please you to see race clubs thinking outside the square with regards to their racing program?
GK: Yes it does please me. The club decided that they would like to run the Cup over 520m. The inside track is underutilised and will provide a step up in distance, and by that stage will be finishing back into the catching pen. Any initiatives that lean towards increased distances, in my opinion, is a bonus and should be encouraged. Geelong has taken that step and we will support them through this change. The Geelong Cup will also now be a catching pen finish rather than the Finish on Lure (FOL).
Q. What else is making news with regards to the Finish on Lure?
GK: In announcing that the catching pen is going back into Geelong, I did receive quite a bit of feedback from participants who prefer the Finish on Lure, so with that said we have agreed to put three meetings on per month – two at Geelong and one at Shepparton. The meetings will be dependent on the number of nominations. If there’s a demand for it we will ensure Finish on Lure meetings are there for our trainers. We have been trialling the FOL double lure arm for quite some time, and we will take this opportunity to now roll it out across these three meetings. This will provide consistency across all Victorian tracks.
Q. Any other news or developments you’d like to share?
GK: I also have news around a recent box draw audit conducted by GRV. People may have heard me mention that I have been receiving more feedback than normal about participant concerns with box draws their greyhounds have been receiving. Box allocation has always had a perception element to it, with people suggesting it is not fair, it is rigged or favoured some over others.
I engaged an independent auditing company and gave them several items I would like investigated, namely:
- Draws and numbers are randomly generated.
- Identifiable information is not used to manipulate box draws; and
- Box draw results cannot be manipulated by any FastTrack user.
In conclusion – the review identified no evidence that outcomes of the box draw process could be influenced or manipulated. The box draw may not be fair in some cases, but it is random.
Read more about the Finish on Lure HERE