By ALLAN HILZINGER – Chief Executive Officer NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers’ Association (GBOTA)
I would like to express a big thank you for the warm welcome to GBOTA.
Not only for me but also for new staff Daniel Weisman (Chief Operating Officer) and Donny Micallef (Wentworth Park Manager). We are looking forward to combining our passion for the industry with our own varying experiences and knowledge to help lead GBOTA and the industry into an exciting new chapter of growth and success.
While there are several fresh new faces around our association, I would like to start by acknowledging the work completed by outgoing General Manager Steve Noyce over the past three years.
Not only has Steve been instrumental in helping me quickly come up to speed on key projects, during our hand-over it became even more evident the positive impact he has had on GBOTA.
Despite finding himself leading the organisation during a pandemic, he ensured GBOTA continued to move forward, and he is to be commended for his approach and teamwork with GRNSW, GWIC and the GBOTA track managers to ‘get on with business’ to provide racing for the participants in times of uncertainty.Steve was also instrumental in advocating for and implementing significant upgrades to our track infrastructure and safety, while also over-seeing Temora and Gunnedah develop into full TAB racing tracks. Temora moved from 2 TAB meetings a year to 47 scheduled for this up-coming 12 months and Gunnedah has evolved from 22 TAB meetings a year to 52 now. While Steve is not the type of person who looks for the personal accolades, he leaves the Association in a great position and on behalf of the GBOTA, thank you Steve and enjoy your own next chapter!
What a night we saw at Wentworth Park on Saturday July 9 with the finals of our two $75k to the winner Ladbrokes Group 1 races. The results both brought their own unique stories.
Embrace from box 8 delivered Craig Chappelow and his family his first group 1 winner in the Ladbrokes Peter Mossman Opal and to hear his daughter remind his mum and dad about the promise to go to Disney if they won was something special that dreams are truly made of. Congrats Team Chappelow, well-deserved and enjoy Disney!
For Minnie Finn and her bunch of fun-loving footy blokes, it was taking out the Group 1 Ladbrokes Vic Peters with one of the first two dogs they bought together! It was a great sight to see eight life-long footy mates screaming and cheering as their self-proclaimed superstar Gatlin from box 1 turned for home and ultimately crossed the line in first place. The boys celebrated long into the night and my guess is they probably haven’t yet come off that high.
We now look forward to some more thrilling Group 1 racing in August with the Nationals tagged as ‘2022 Sensational Sydney Nationals’ being held at Wentworth Park with the big final scheduled for Saturday, August 27, before we kick into the Million Dollar Chase finals in September. A busy and intriguing couple of months of top-level racing coming up.
One of the current priorities of the GBOTA is working towards a new metropolitan track that is FINALLY owned by the industry. It is no secret that the Government has chosen to end our lease at Wentworth Park in 2027 and we have no choice but to look at this with a ‘no problems only opportunities’ attitude. This opportunity has the capacity to create a new legacy for greyhound racing in NSW. The biggest question I have received in my first month, has been, what’s happening with metropolitan racing? I have heard all sorts of rumours and suggestions from people in the so-called ‘know’, some with sound thoughts and others that you can only smile and nod at the imagination of the person who thought them up. What I can share with 100% certainty is that GBOTA is working collaboratively with GRNSW with a very clear #1 goal to obtain funding for a new industry-owned metropolitan facility.
The second biggest question and concern seems to be, where will our metro venue be? With this question, my response has been and remains simple. If we have our own world class metropolitan facility, that is commercially viable, where funds are going back to the industry, where it has the best safety and welfare designs, the best racing kennels and extras, access to other much-needed facilities and would undoubtedly allow for increased prizemoney for ALL and is the undisputed BEST greyhound racing COMPLEX in Australia, does it truly matter? Don’t get me wrong, once we have secured the funding, finding the best option for positioning will become a focus, however it is important we don’t get caught up in the debate of where and collectively stay clear on what our first major objective of obtaining much-needed and deserved funding to bring this to life.
With a predicted tight election just around the corner in which we know our industry and participants can potentially swing certain areas, a lease ending after decades on one of the most valuable pieces of land in Sydney and our industry booming and consequently generating significant levels of revenue from turnover, one can’t help but feel positive about the timing and we just may finally be sitting in a perfect storm.
With the new management team, we will be looking to both modernise and innovate a number of aspects of GBOTA while continuing to ensure we acknowledge and appreciate our history.
In the coming months we will be unveiling a new website that will not only be informative, modern and user-friendly, it will include added features that will potentially include a shop for participants, areas to allow participants to advertise dogs for sale and syndication (with ultimately it allowing a ratings system like gumtree), a membership portal and many more interactive and educational aspects that will evolve in phases.
We have also taken steps to evolve our social media coverage. We are excited to partner with Dimity Maher who has become well known as ‘The Greyhound Girl’ on social media and Dimity will be working with us on managing and developing our communication and reach on social media. For those not yet following us on Facebook, you can find us by searching for NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association or search for each of our individual tracks. We are also able to be found on Instagram, our new Tik-Tok account of NSWGBOTA and will soon be on Twitter. So, there are now plenty of ways to stay up to date with all the latest information and communications as well as interact and have some fun.
NSW GBOTA Greyhound Racing podcast will also be launching this month. With regular podcasts with participants, sponsors and staff, this will be another great way for everyone to stay up to date with what is happening around the GBOTA tracks. Stay tuned for the announcement of the launch of this!
Over this coming month we will be moving to having all GBOTA tracks taking payments at the time of booking your trials through ‘On The Clock’. While we understand a handful of people may not be as tech savvy and may take time to adjust, our staff are always here to help everyone with the transition of this process.
Track Managers Workshop
On July 22nd ~ 23rd GBOTA held its first Track Managers workshop that saw all of our eight racing track managers and our head office management team come together for a successful workshop of sharing, learning, planning, collaboration and a 12 month action plan unique to each track. As we continue to evolve, we know that each track plays an important role in the success of the industry and investing time and energy into the people leading these tracks and our association is fundamental to continued success. We are excited to see some of the new developments come to life over the next 12 months.
Membership Of GBOTA
We are going through a review of our memberships, in particular the benefits of being a GBOTA member and the education around those benefits for participants. Over the next 12 months we anticipate a rise in membership on the back of some new opportunities for members and we look forward to welcoming new participants on board.
We have completed phases 1 and 2 of our new three-year strategic plan and are excited to shortly unveil our new GBOTA Strategic Plan to our members and participants. A big thank you to the board and staff for working collaboratively with some great discussions and forward thinking to develop this plan. It is great to see everyone on the same page with where we are heading and working together to bring it all to life.
If you are wanting to connect with anyone at GBOTA, please feel free to reach out at any time on 02 9649 7166, email us at email@example.com or contact us on social media.