Caption: Graham and Leanne Hall and Extra Malt after victory in the $24,000 Ipswich Anniversary Trophy (520m). Photo: Just Greyhound Photos

By Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer BRENDAN PARNELL

The Queensland racing industry never ceases to amaze.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago, our participants have shown an unwavering support to keep the industry going.

Ever-changing protocols and directives have consistently been met with understanding across the state, and I once again would like to thank everyone for their adherence in what was, and still is, unprecedented times.

You will have seen that last month, we advised that that the requirement to check-in – and to be fully vaccinated – to attend Queensland race meetings has concluded, in line with the easing of Queensland Government restrictions.

RQ will continue to review remaining COVID-19 protocols once further detail has been received through Queensland Health.

Albion Park and Capalaba return

Following the South East Queensland floods, important milestones have been reached at Albion Park and Capalaba.

As a result of the floodwaters, both tracks and their respective facilities were significantly damaged, and it is a testament to their committees, employees, members and volunteers to ensure a return to racing.

Winter fast approaches 

The 2022 TAB Queensland Greyhound Winter Racing Carnival officially commences this month, with the Group 3 Brisbane Young Guns Final on May 19.

The centrepiece of the Carnival will once again take place at Albion Park on July 7, with the Group 1 Brisbane Cup this year to be run for $525,000 – firmly entrenching it amongst the nation’s richest and most prestigious greyhound races.

The Group 1 Queensland Cup, which has also received a deserved prize money uplift to $225,000, headlines the support acts on the card.

The popular Origin Greyhound Series once again features prominently, this year moving to a new position on the calendar, acting as the finale on the Carnival’s closing evening.

We are looking forward to welcoming back the Winter Carnival following last year’s success, and working with Luke Gatehouse and his team at the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club to deliver a successful program of feature racing.

It remains our aim to position Queensland as the place to chase throughout the winter months, and this enhanced program once again ensures that all eyes will be on the Sunshine State.

New National Rules

We’re pleased to confirm that updated national and local greyhound racing rules, effective from May 1, will be introduced.

These changes follow a comprehensive review of the rules by Greyhounds Australasia, with streamlined and updated rules to be introduced in all states and territories.

Amongst the key amendments, a greyhound that is being retired as a pet must be sterilised prior to leaving the care of the owner or registered person responsible – unless being accepted into an approved GAP program.

From the first of this month, RQ will provide a subsidy payment towards the cost of sterilisation of retiring greyhounds, through the introduction of the RQ Greyhound Retirement Readiness Scheme.

Further amendments to the National Racing Rules now also state that a greyhound must be fully vaccinated throughout its racing life, and cannot compete in a race or trial for seven days after being vaccinated.
More information on these changes can be found on the RQ website.

Anniversary celebrations

As touched on last month, this year marks the 50-year anniversary of the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club, having commenced racing operations at the Gabba in 1972.

A showcase evening at Albion Park on Thursday, April 14, was originally scheduled, however, it was postponed by BrisGreys due to the floods.

Pleasingly, the rescheduled feature evening will now take place during this year’s TAB Queensland Greyhound Winter Carnival on June 2, with the feature Group 3 BRGC 50th Anniversary Trophy to be run for $50,000.

Further details will be available on both Racing Queensland and BGRC websites in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, it was fantastic to be able to celebrate the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club’s 40th anniversary last month.

The Club has a storied history in the sport here in Queensland, and the evening was a fitting celebration for all that they have achieved over the last 40 years.

It was great to see TAB Queensland Greyhound of the Year finalist Extra Malt mark a return to form by taking out the 40th Anniversary Trophy, and I’d also like to congratulate Tarquin Neal on a maiden feature triumph in the Group 3 Ipswich Auction Series Final with Sushi Mango.

2021 TAB Greyhound Awards

It was a pleasure to be in attendance at the 2021 TAB Queensland Greyhound Awards last month, where Spotted Elk was deservedly crowned the 2021 TAB Queensland Greyhound of the Year.

Trained by husband-and-wife pairing, Graham and Leanne Hall, Spotted Elk established herself as the state’s most promising chaser in 2021, recording 16 wins and 10 placings from 35 starts last year.

In a remarkably consistent 12 months, the bitch finished 2021 with a bang, claiming the inaugural Listed Queensland Flame and earning a spot on the national stage, representing the Sunshine State in the coveted $1.145 million TAB The Phoenix at The Meadows where she ran an absolutely remarkable placing.

In total, Racing Queensland announced more than 20 award winners at the iconic Gabba venue, acknowledging the remarkable achievements of greyhound racing participants across the state throughout 2021.

Vale John Murray

Finally, I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. John Murray OAM late last month.

John’s contribution to the industry was, and remains, immeasurable, with his tireless work in the veterinary space, where he also served as president of the Australian Greyhound Vets Association, as well as being on the committee for the BGRC.

In 2007, his work was fittingly honoured with an Order of Australia Medal, and his legacy to this day remains prevalent in the sport.

RQ sends its deepest condolences to John’s family.