By Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer BRENDAN PARNELL
After a tough 2020, we’ve already faced our challenges in the New Year, after Brisbane and surrounding local government areas were forced into a three-day lockdown in January.
Although race meetings were able to proceed, RQ was required to act swiftly in ensuring our affected clubs were following the required Queensland Health directives.
Albeit short-lived, the lockdown period served as a timely reminder as to how quickly circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic can change, and how we as an industry must continually adapt at short notice.
We appreciate everyone’s continued co-operation as we collectively navigate our way through these challenges.
TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival
The TAB Queensland Golden Greys Summer Carnival continues to go from strength to strength, culminating in this month’s Group 1 Gold Bullion at Albion Park.
Already, we’ve seen brilliant racing on the track, in a carnival that has attracted some of the nation’s best chasers like Group 1 winner Tommy Shelby.
Another inter-state raider in Mepunga Isla has shown why she is considered one of the country’s premier middle-distance runners, claiming the Group 2 Golden Sands and remaining undefeated at her six starts over the trip.
Outside of the established stars, we’ve also seen a number of local dogs stamp themselves as the next crop of rising stars, highlighted by Group 2 Queensland Derby winner Sentenced for Tony Brett, who claimed the feature race at just his eighth start.
TAB Greyhound of the Year Awards
After a COVID-19 enforced delay of last year’s TAB Greyhound of the Year Awards, we are delighted to announce that this year’s evening will take place on March 19 at Victoria Park.
The Greyhound of the Year Awards recognises our canine and human achievements over the last 12 months, as well as a number of Hall of Fame inductees.
After hosting a virtual awards ceremony in 2020, it will be fantastic to be able to celebrate the evening with our industry participants in person once again in 2021.
We will be able to make further announcements regarding the details of the evening over the coming weeks.
Townsville to celebrate Tropical Shirt Fridays
Townsville is poised to ‘get tropical’ this month with the introduction of a North Queensland institution.
Late last year, the Club reached out to RQ regarding an initiative called ‘Tropical Fridays’, and we are pleased to confirm that this has been approved, commencing this month.
Tropical Fridays has been an ongoing theme across the city for many years, where a number of local residents celebrate the end of the working week by donning their best Hawaiian floral shirts.
From February 5, Club staff and industry participants will be able to carry this theme over to the greyhound racing world, where the colourful shirts are sure to catch the eye for those watching via the Sky Racing broadcast.
We are proud to support this initiative for the Townsville Greyhound Racing Club and commend the Club on its introduction.
Greyhound Australasia website
In late 2020, Greyhounds Australasia announced they would be implementing a re-design of its website, to bring a more modern look and feel forward, as well as a more refined navigation and layout that allows for an enhanced user experience.
The new website is scheduled to be deployed on Wednesday, February 17.
The website will also feature a streamlined payment process, whilst PDF forms will still remain available on the website for participants to utilise.
A series of short user instructions will be available on the new website and GA staff will be readily available to assist and support where required.
RQ Industry Investment Plan
As I mentioned in last month’s CEO message, the Industry Investment Plan funding has commenced, which includes $1 million per annum in increased prizemoney for Queensland- bred greyhounds, who race in Queensland.
As a part of the Plan, we have also committed to capital expenditure at greyhound clubs in excess of $700,000 this year.
Last month, the funding delivered new kennels at Townsville, with new 550-metre starting boxes at Capalaba and Bundaberg to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
Finally, the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre continues to progress.
Off the back of stakeholder consultation, we are hoping to have concept plans finalised shortly, whilst simultaneously rolling out community engagement.
We will endeavour to provide further updates throughout the year.