By Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer BRENDAN PARNELL
The resilience of the Queensland greyhound racing industry continues to be on full display following further heavy rainfall over the last month.
Our appreciation and gratitude is extended to the committees, members and volunteers at Albion Park, Ipswich and Capalaba we collectively work through the postponement and unfortunate abandonment of a number of meetings across South East Queensland.
Prizemoney boost for Winter Carnival
Ahead of the TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Carnival commencing last month, we announced a raft of prizemoney enhancements to all 13 black-type races on the schedule, with more than $1.9 million in total prizemoney on offer across six feature evenings.
Most notably, the Group 1 Queensland Cup looks set to attract the nation’s premier stayers to the Sunshine State this winter, with confirmation that event will receive a $75,000 increase – to be run for $225,000 on July 7 at Albion Park.
The same evening will also feature the Group 1 Brisbane Cup, to be run for a record $525,000 as announced late last year, firmly entrenching it amongst the nation’s richest and most prestigious greyhound races.
The popular Origin Greyhound Series this year makes the move to a new position on the calendar, acting as the finale for the Carnival’s closing night on July 14.
The evening will coincide with the NRL’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane on July 13, with Ben Hannant (Queensland) and Terry Hill (NSW) set to renew their rivalry and lock horns once again as the respective series coaches.
The Origin Greyhound Series will once again feature two Group 3 races – the Origin Sprint and Origin Distance – where competing dogs will be selected by Queensland and NSW respectively.
Both Group 3 events – previously run for $60,000 – have received a $15,000 uplift in 2022, as has the Listed Origin Match Race, which will now hold a $45,000 purse.
More on the 2022 TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival enhancements can be found on the RQ website.
Size and Scope of the Queensland racing industry
Last month, RQ released its latest economic data with the Queensland racing industry’s annual contribution to the state’s economy growing to a record-high of $1.9 billion, which represents a 58% increase from FY16.
Specifically, the greyhound code’s economic contribution has more than doubled, from $113 million to $245 million (+116%) in that period.
Delivered by IER – a specialist in the tourism, events and entertainment industries – the latest Size and Scope Report outlines the economic benefit of the racing industry to Queensland.
Another important highlight showed full-time jobs had increased from 12,643 in FY19 to 13,581 in FY21, an increase of more than 7%.
The increase continues the industry’s rapid rise since FY16 with 4,035 (+42%) new jobs created over the last five years.
You can visit the RQ website to read the report in its entirety.
Greyhound Retirement Readiness Scheme
Additionally, RQ was pleased to announce the introduction of the Greyhound Retirement Readiness Scheme last month.
As part of our commitment to implement strategies that demonstrate best practice in animal welfare, the scheme will provide a capped amount of reimbursement, up to $800 per greyhound, towards the cost of desexing, dental treatment, vaccination and pre-anaesthetic blood tests for greyhounds that have been retired as pets.
The scheme supports participants to go above-and-beyond the requirements of the new national rules by providing financial support to not only desex their greyhounds, but also to ensure retired greyhounds go into their new lives as pets with good dental health and up-to-date vaccinations.
This is another significant step in our whole-of-life greyhound commitment and follows the successful launch of its Race Meeting Injury Scheme in 2020, which provides significant financial support to cover veterinary treatment and rehabilitation costs for greyhounds injured during race meetings or official stewards’ trials.
More information on the scheme is available on our website.
We’re pleased to unveil that a Queensland-bred bonus will be introduced this month, with $75,000 to be distributed to participants throughout the month of June.
A bonus payment of $200 will apply for every Queensland-bred winner at a Queensland race meeting, applicable to all races with a split of 40% to the breeder, 40% to the owner, and 20% to the trainer.
Only greyhounds registered in Queensland with a ‘Q’ ear brand will be deemed eligible for the bonus, with payments made weekly.
More information is available on the RQ website.
Josh Priest’s first feature winner
Finally, we’d like to congratulate young up-and-coming greyhound trainer Josh Priest on his first feature winner in the sport.
Samona’s triumph in the Listed Winged Runner Trophy at Albion Park last month I’m sure will be remembered as one of Josh’s great achievements in the sport, and we can’t wait to see his career unfold over the coming years.
At just 20 years of age and having worked for his father Terry for some time – Josh recently opted to go out training in his own name, a decision which has clearly already paid dividends.
Congratulations once again, Josh!