THE Lithgow greyhound racing track will be ready to race throughout summer, with a brand new split-system air conditioner being installed in the kennels this week.
It comes as the non-TAB track had its meeting abandoned last Saturday after the temperature in the kennels exceeded 26°C, the maximum temperature permitted for race kennels as outlined by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) in its revised hot weather policy.
Lithgow President John Brain said while it was a shame to lose the meeting, the welfare of the greyhounds must come first.
“I have been in the game a long time and if you go back 30 years they didn’t worry about anything like this,” Brain told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Obviously there is science behind this decision which has found it is better for the animal to race with these conditions.
“Without the animals there isn’t a sport. If they get too hot they can get crook or even die and we can’t have that.
“At the end of the day it is looking after the animal.”
Brain said given the scorching temperatures many parts of the state reach throughout the summer months, all clubs, even the smaller non-TAB tracks, need to invest in air-conditioning if they want to race.
“Change comes and people have to adjust to it. It might take a while, but they adjust.
“We all know what the weather conditions are like in Australia – it gets very hot in the summer.
“You have got to have the appropriate facilities to be able to keep the temperature down in the kennels.
“Clubs are instructed what degree the kennels have to be and if you can’t get your track to meet those temperatures then you don’t race.
“You have got to abide by the rules or you don’t race.”
The new temperature rules came into effect on November 1 as a part of the revised hot weather policy.
Other key changes include the ability to withdraw greyhounds without penalty when temperature is forecasted to be above 32°C. Stewards can also abandon a race meeting when the temperature exceeds 38°C or is likely to rise above 38°C.
The new policy also requires greyhounds never to be kept in non-air-conditioned vehicles or trailers when the temperature rises above 22°C.
The hot weather has also been causing problems down in Victoria, with Monday’s meetings at Shepparton and Traralgon pushed back to night meetings to avoid racing in the heat of the day and afternoon.
Australian Racing Greyhound contacted both Greyhound Racing NSW and Greyhound Racing Victoria for further insight into their hot weather policies, however neither controlling body had responded at the time of publication.