Some Pain, But We Are Still Racing



THE hugely popular Greyhound State of Origin series between Queensland and New South Wales has been canned for this year as industry stakeholders dig in for the long fight against coronavirus.

The Origin dog races – held over 520m and 710m at Albion Park – ran for the past two years in conjunction with the rugby league Origin classics.

But, because of the global pandemic, something had to give and, unfortunately, it will be the races at the top-end of the prizemoney scale that have had to be reduced here in Queensland and interstate.

But, says Racing Queensland’s Racing Operations Manager Doug Lutherborrow, hopes are high that once the virus issues go away things will return to normal.

For owners and trainers the good news is that greyhound racing is continuing through the crisis, as are gallops and harness racing.

Queensland’s Winter Carnival, which was to have featured classics such as the Brisbane Cup and the Flying Amy, have taken heavy hits with money cuts.

For example, the Brisbane Cup (520m) will be raced for a total of $85,000 in July, down from the $375,000 event that Sennachie won last year.

And the newly-named Queensland Cup (710m) has a total of $37,500 on offer when it is raced the same night as the Brisbane Cup in July.

The National Sprint and Distance Championships have also been canned for this year although a decision on the National Straight Track Championship, scheduled for Capalaba in Brisbane, is yet to be made.

Racing Queensland chairman Steve Wilson has been high in praise of industry people who continue to so strongly support the industry navigating extraordinarily difficult times.

“The Queensland racing industry has done a phenomenal job banding together during this period,” said Wilson.

“The establishment of designated racing regions, and the strict biosecurity measures that we have adopted, has required large-scale changes to our day-to-day operations.

“This is reflective of the Queensland community more broadly and is necessary to ensure the continuation of racing during this unprecedented crisis.

“These are tough times and we must make a collective sacrifice. By programming selected features, we are able to provide enhanced opportunities for our Queensland participants who are navigating this turbulent period.”

It had been feared that big Group 1, 2 and 3 status would be stripped from this year’s classics, although Lutherborrow moved to allay those fears.

Given the circumstances surrounding Group and Listed events, Greyhound Clubs Australia has elected to retain event status even though money levels are down on what is normally required for black type events.

“During this time all group events will retain their current status at discretionary prizemoney levels. We are likely to see full prizemoney returned to these events once the pandemic is over,” said Lutherborrow.

Prizemoney levels for grass-roots racing has not, at this stage, been affected by the cuts.  



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