Queensland Greyhounds Set To Cut Cairns & Mackay

Closing greyound race clubs as we draw toward the end of the financial year is taking on epidemic proportions at the moment.

Not a week after Greyhound Racing Victoria Chairman Jan Wilson, said $6.3Million was too much to spend to keep Wangaratta alive, but at the same time increased GRV exposure to $6Million at the embattled Geelong Greyhound Club; Greyhounds Queensland Chair Kerry Watson has caught the same bug.

Just over a month after announcing that Townsville and Rockhampton would benefit from Sky Channel coverage during May, and thanking the Mackay Greyhound Racing Club for “agreeing to reschedule their Cup series to June to avoid a clash with the Rockhampton Cup”, Kerry Watson has clearly given notice the there will in all honesty probably never be another Mackay Cup series.

Watson has today given indications that the temporary nature of the May Sky Channel coverage at Townsville and Rockhampton is about to become far more permanent; as her Greyhounds Queensland body have today issued Cairns and Mackay Greyhound Clubs with notices to “show cause as to their future operations, as part of a restructuring of greyhound racing in North Queensland”. This is roughly akin to the Christians receiving a “fair trial” in the process of being led in to the main arena at the Colosseum.

Watson puts the writing on the well for the two community based clubs by saying that “restructuring is likely to see broader SKY Channel television coverage of Queensland and North Queensland greyhound meetings and greater TAB involvement and support for North Queensland greyhound meetings”.

Obviously the intent of this latest strategy from Greyhound Queensland is to move toward Townsville Greyhound Racing Club becoming the sole centre of Greyhound Racing in North Queensland.

Mackay Greyhound Club were already under significant pressure with a forecast 2010 relocation of the current showgrounds to a another site, that had made no provision for greyhound racing to move with them. That fact alone would have almost certainly spelt the end for the club, but this new move hastens that inevitable finality.

Watson uses the old crutch that Greyhounds Queensland “have to act in the best interests of the “industry as a whole” and that “both Cairns and Mackay clubs are experiencing ….. limited number of … participants in the region, low number(s) of greyhound racing nominations, poor race day patronage and low turnover”.

“Greyhounds Queensland strongly believes that through consolidation of clubs in North Queensland, we can then look to strengthen the industry in a number of ways”.

“We have held high hopes over the last 18 months that these clubs would be able to turn things around, and the Board has provided significant assistance through constant monitoring and encouragement. Unfortunately, now their future is in their hands.

That future looks grim at best, with Greyhound Queensland obviously bouyed by the amazing cost savings in recent times of having all your TAB racing at only two tracks, at Albion Park and Ipswich. And these latest moves would also cast in to doubt any real commitment from Greyhounds Queensland to develop a greenfields site such as the much rumoured “Logan” venture.

With Victoria cutting tracks and Queensland doing their best to move toward the West Australian model of governing and regulating only three tracks; it remains to been seen whether or not GRNSW will be able to withstand the current pandemic of “rationalisation” that is sweeping the eastern states once they take total control of New South Wales greyound racing in ” in the middle of this year”.