Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club has reiterated its safety concerns over trainers being forced to travel long distances to attend race meetings due to the delayed reopening of its track, and has called for the issue to be urgently resolved.
The call came as the Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson, also urged the State Government to allocate funds so the track upgrade could be completed – highlighting the safety issue, too.
Anderson has asked the Minister for Racing, Paul Toole, to inspect the track when in the region on Monday. A spokesman for Toole said on Wednesday that the minister had received the funding request and hoped to visit the track on Monday.
GGRC president Geoff Rose said the matter should be made a priority, as Gunnedah was the only TAB track outside Dubbo, Maitland and Grafton – meaning North West trainers were faced with long trips to attend meetings. Rose said that was “unacceptable” and “unfair”, adding that the club had “no income coming in whatsoever”.
He said: “The whole of the North West here have got no chance now of racing on a TAB circuit [locally], got not chance of racing on sand [locally], while this track is down.”
He added: “It should be made a priority to get this track up and running so these people don’t have to drive all hours of the day and night … It’s [also] a safety issue for the greyhounds – there’s no two ways about that.”
In late February the track was closed after a routine inspection by Greyhound Racing NSW found it to be “compromised at some points”. The club had hoped to be racing again for its “June-July carnival”, but is now eyeing a September reopening – “roughly”.
Rose said there were two redevelopment options available: a total redevelopment of the complex, at a cost of about $1.2 million, or a redevelopment of the track (about $480,000). He prefers the first option, as it would mean the club was “set for the next 30-odd years”.
The track is owned and operated by the non-profit NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association, which operates seven clubs and is overseen by GRNSW and the Greyhound Welfare and Industry Commission.