After six hours in the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday night, Awesome Project has been given the all clear to start in Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Cup heats at The Meadows.
It was announced early on Friday that Awesome Project would be ineligible to compete in the series after the Board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) met on Tuesday and resolved to amend the existing local racing rules and introduce a new rule which prohibits greyhounds to be transferred from a suspended person to a registered person who resides on the same property.
The Board of GRV amended the Local Racing Rule (LRR) 11.7 and introduced a new LRR 11.8 to directly address the situation that would allow a suspended person to transfer greyhounds into the name of another registered person living at the same address.
The rules came into effect at 9am Friday (February 27 2015) however the Board decided that the transfer of greyhounds from suspended former trainer Darren McDonald into his wife Joanne Gane’s name was to be voided. This struck many people by surprise, given the fact that Awesome Project was transferred into Gane’s name on February 14 2015.
It is the second time in as many weeks that Awesome Project has been withdrawn and re-instated from a feature race. Last week, Greyhound Racing Victoria stood down all greyhounds which were owned or trained by the persons suspended on Friday February 13, which meant that the black dog was taken out of the Group 1 Temlee.
It was later decided by GRV, after Canty threatened them with an injunction, that Awesome Project could line up in the race and he justified that ruling, running a terrific second behind My Bro Fabio for Gane.
The action continued in Victoria after the running of the Temlee, with GRV Chairman Peter Caillard resigning on Monday.
Ahead of tomorrows Australian Cup heats, Canty was informed on Thursday night that his greyhound would be withdrawn by stewards acting under their amended and new rules. Canty immediately sought legal advice which resulted in Friday’s after hours Supreme Court hearing.
GRV confirmed in a press release on Friday night that the Supreme Court of Victoria had granted an interim injunction allowing Awesome Project to take its place in the Australian Cup heats. It is still to be determined by the Court whether the injunction should be extended.
“Although we are disappointed with the outcome of this evening’s hearing, and respect the decision of the Court, we will continue take all available action to eradicate the practice of live baiting and take all available action against any individual involved in the practice of live baiting,” GRV’s CEO Adam Wallish said.
Canty on the other hand was understandably relieved to see his star chaser back in the field for the Group 1 Australian Cup heats.
“I think the right decision has been made …. he is back in the race,” Canty said.
Awesome Project will jump from box eight in race 11 at The Meadows on Saturday night for his new trainer Elizabeth Lloyd and will progress through to the following week’s $250,000 final if he is able to win his qualifier.