Plenty of blue sky in Queensland
By Racing Queensland Chief Executive Officer BRENDAN PARNELL
With excitement in the air, there is a lot to look forward to both on and off the track.
Having staged a number of winter features, an announcement on the TAB Golden Greys is fasting approaching, building on the success of last year’s Summer Carnival.
In recent times, the efforts of Racing Queensland to ensure the Townsville Cup was programmed on a Friday night reaped positive results.
A record crowd was in attendance to witness the front running Hara’s Panda register a brave win.
A great supporting program ensured optimised interest from wagering customers with turnover clearly eclipsing previous levels for a Townsville Cup.
In the lead-up to the event, club management went to considerable lengthS to promote the evening and were no doubt deeply satisfied with the outcome.
I extend my congratulations to the club.
Townsville’s growth as a greyhound racing hotspot continues, highlighted in recent times by its progression to racing twice a week on Sky Racing.
GBGC reaches next milestone
The Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre has reached an important milestone in its development with Racing Queensland appointing a number of key consultants to assist with the project.
Late last year, the Palaszczuk Government formally announced the new state-of-the-art facility would be built at Purga, west of Brisbane, to serve as the new home of greyhound racing in the Sunshine State.
With animal welfare at the core of design and construction, the world-class venue will feature three tracks – a straight track, a two-turn track and a much-needed one-turn track – which will reduce injuries and demonstrate the vibrancy of the greyhound code.
In recent times, RQ has appointed two of the world’s authoritative voices for identifying optimal greyhound track design for safety and welfare – David Allan and Professor David Eager (University of Technology, Sydney) – to assist with the project.
In addition, Cox Architecture has also been appointed as the principal project consultant.
The amenities to be established at the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre include:
- Construction of a large one-turn track, two-turn track and straight track;
- Track safety benefits including radius and surface banking to be designed in a way to reduce excessive limb forces acting on greyhounds while racing;
- World-class racing surfaces;
- Starting box positioning – including roll on boxes where best suited – which reduces racing interference and supports race safety;
- Starting box design incorporating optimum spacing between contestants and grille heights;
- Grandstand and customer facilities ensuring gold standard customer experience and viewing of all three tracks; and
- Air-conditioned, sound-attenuated kennels with best practice pre and post racing support services.
Late last month, RQ commenced stakeholder engagement with the Queensland greyhound industry with a series of targeted remote and in-person meetings.
Additionally, an open forum for registered participants was held at the Ipswich Greyhound Club on September 26.
At their core, the sessions were run in order to provide an up-date on the project’s design and construction plan and to provide an opportunity for industry stakeholders to contribute to blue sky considerations in the early stages of the design phase.
I am delighted to advise that some outstanding input was received during the various sessions with excellent divergence in ideas and innovation.
The GBGC team will now consider all aspects of the feedback and will correspond further with stakeholders during the coming month.
Greyhound Advisory Panel
The new Greyhound Advisory Panel met in early September and discussed a range of items which will be outlined in Chase after each Panel meeting.
There was an update on animal care and the various streams of work to improve this important priority.
The Panel received an update on the new media rights arrangements and benefits for greyhound racing while there was a presentation on process, timing and major milestones for development of the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Racing Centre at Purga.
Having conducted a review of our advisory panels during FY20, a focus of the new Panel which now includes some independent members, is to assist with the strategic objectives and direction of Queensland racing.
Box draw audit
An audit of the Ozchase greyhound race box draw system was recently commissioned by Racing Wagering Western Australia on behalf of those who use the system.
Designed to ensure each greyhound is equally likely to be assigned to any of the employed boxes, the audit found there was no data to suggest that the box algorithm does not work as planned.
The audit looked at:
- The allocation of individual greyhounds to boxes over all the races that they ran in;
- The allocation of the greyhound/s of any owner to boxes over all races in which that owner had greyhound/s running;
- The allocation of the greyhound/s of any trainer to boxes over all races in which that trainer had greyhound/s running, and
- The allocation of greyhounds trained by the same trainer to neighbouring boxes, if a trainer had two greyhounds in the same race.
The Rockhampton greyhound track surface recently underwent a full renovation with positive outcomes, with an upgrade to the track’s irrigation and landscaping completed at the same time.
With the preparation and consistency of our tracks being a key operational objective, RQ recently commenced the recruitment process for a specialist to further support oversight of track surface preparation and maintenance at Queensland greyhound tracks.
The advertisement can be found at www.seek.com.au.
Queensland Racing Industry Forum
Finally, the second Queensland Racing Industry Forum was recently held under a hybrid setting due to COVID-19.
Hosted by the Racing Minister, the Forum looked at a number of topics including the action items from last year’s event, along with industry engagement; commercialisation; infrastructure; governance; and the impacts of COVID-19.
As part of the Forum, the Minister announced the Palaszczuk Government would set up a Racing Appeals Panel within the QRIC if re-elected, while stays of certain decisions would not be permitted.