Greyhound Clubs Australia (GCA), in conjunction with the Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA) and GRV (GRV), has made the decision to cancel the Grand Finals of the 2021 National Sprint and National Distance Championships.
Both Group 1 events were scheduled to be held at The Meadows on Saturday 28 August but continued COVID-19 related concerns and the recent detection of canine coronavirus in New Zealand has seen the organisers left with little option but to abandon plans amid a constantly evolving setting.
GCA Chairman, Mr Les Bein said the decision was simply a case of safety-first.
“With many parts of Australia dealing with lockdowns, restrictions and border closures, the hosting of the Nationals has become increasingly problematic and impossible to assure the safety of all our participants,” Mr Bein said.
“If you include greyhounds earning Wildcard entry, up to 14 of the Grand Finalists would be required to travel from interstate or New Zealand adding further layers of complexity.”
“The overriding health message is to reduce mobility and the opportunity of virus transfer, so the last thing we want to do is contribute to settings that require travel and movement of greyhounds and their connections at such a precarious time.”
MGRA Chairman Mr Eddie Caruana said the announcement came on the back of the latest health advice at government level.
“Whilst it is very disappointing it would not be responsible to go ahead with the Nationals this year,” Mr Caruana said.
“We have left the decision as late as possible to consider the most up to date health and government advice but allow sufficient notice to the owners and trainers of greyhounds intending to nominate for the series.”
The cancellation follows on-going consultation and unanimous agreement of host club MGRA, host authority GRV and the event owner GCA.
It is expected the various state jurisdictions and New Zealand with still run their respective Finals on Thursday 12 August 2021 with a showcase broadcast on Sky Racing 2.
This media release was compiled by Greyhound Clubs Australia.
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