The Chairman of Greyhound Racing NSW’s largest participant body has suggested that the North West region could benefit from the construction of a straight race track on the back of a state-wide report that was damning of the Tamworth club.
The Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association own eight operational clubs in NSW, including Gunnedah and Wentworth Park.
Its president Geoff Rose admits that the industry has to do what is asked of it if they want to remain viable into the future.
The University of Technology Sydney report recommended 11 sweeping changes to the industry including the implementation of straight tracks to reduce “catastrophic” injuries, and on course deaths.
Despite the fact that Tamworth Club chairman Robert Munn disputes the accuracy of the report, Tamworth was named the deadliest track in the state for 2016, recording 8.2 deaths per 1000 starters.
Mr Rose believes there could be a future in straight track racing in the North West, although the majority of the funding would have to come from the governing bodies.
“Every track can’t go straight because not every dog likes straight racing, and not many clubs have that land, but we have got to have that mix of tracks,” Mr Rose said.
“Maybe we need a straight track in this area – maybe Tamworth and Gunnedah, or the other clubs could go into a partnership – we have to look at what is best for the industry, but we have to have the funding – to buy and set a track up like that would cost at least $4 or $5 million.”
The Tamworth track is sure to be under the spotlight following the damning report, particularly after the two clubs named as having the second and third highest mortality rates per starter in Coonamble and Tweed recently closed down.
The Coonamble club has since re-opened following an upgrade, although both Mr Munn and Mr Rose agree that that GRNSW are considering a reduction in the number of operational clubs from the current 32.
“The corner in Tamworth is definitely an issue because of the horseshoe-shape – dogs that race here often know it, but newcomers can struggle to judge the bend,” Mr Munn said.
“We were looking to fix the camber on the corner before the industry was shut down, but now we can’t even survive as a club while ever we have non-TAB racing.
“Since July 1 all the prize money has gone down as well – that is going to make it even harder.
“They (GRNSW) are going to reduce the number of tracks in NSW – that is going to happen. We just have to stick to what they say.”