LEADING trainer Rob Britton has urged all participants to head to The Meadows this Sunday and have their say on the future of the industry when Greyhound Racing Victoria hosts its second Stakeholder Engagement Workshop.
Britton is a member of the five board panel which also consists of Track Designer David Allen, GRV’s Track & Racing Infrastructure Co-ordinator Adam Bailey, The Meadows Manager and Track Curator Cory Hiscock and Group 1 winning trainer Jason Thompson.
The Workship will be the second in a series of eight held across the state which were developed in response to the reports by the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner (ORIC) and the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), with the aim being to improve the regulatory framework of GRV and improve the welfare of racing greyhounds.
The first Workshop was held at Sundown Park on May 10, with Britton explaining some of the major points brought forward at the meeting which was focused largely on training facilities and trial tracks.
“The first workshop definitely had a focus that we should be creating centres of excellence where people can go – even with their pups before breaking-in – and do a bit of work with them, perhaps by providing bullring facilities and having someone there to help,” Britton told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“There was also an emphasis on the need to support the exisiting breaking-in facilities as they are probably going to be asked to come up to a new standard.
“We felt that we couldn’t afford to lose our exisiting breaking-in and trial tracks and that GRV should be supporting these facilities as they come up to meet the new standards, perhaps by subsidising some of the costs.”
Britton says he is keen to be on the panel for the upcoming workshop which is set to focus specifically on track design, track safety and lures, with the top conditioner offering his views of the growing calls to improve the design of current tracks to establish safer racing.
“I honestly think that track design is not the major issue. I think the major issue is trying to alter the setup to try and avoid interference around the tracks.
“Things like putting the lure out further into the centre of the track and having the boxes open when the lure is further out in front.
“Little things like that will reduce interference and I think we need to focus on reducing interference before we go changing around the design of the tracks to try and establish what we need to be doing in the future.”
Britton also called for changes to the current lure system, saying there is a need for the finish on lure within the sport.
“There is no disputing the fact that there are dogs which have benefited from the finish on lure in the past, whereas you also have people who are highly against using it.
“I think we should have choice and I think there should be scattered meetings across Victoria where the finish on lure is used.
“I don’t think you have to have the finish on lure every week at every track, but there is a need for it in the industry.
“A lot of the opposition to the finish on lure is about perception – they don’t like to see dogs finishing onto the lure – but my argument is that on TV you don’t have to see it – but the benefits far out weigh the issues concerning perception.
“If it means that people don’t even have to consider giving their dogs a bite or engaging in live baiting then it is going to be of massive benefit to the industry.”
Britton said no matter what participants’ views are, now is the time to speak out and make a difference to the sport.
“There is no doubt that over the years participants have felt a bit left out on decision making, but this gives everyone the chance to have an input.
“There are a lot of people out there who are very vocal when you go to the tracks and all over social media – well this is their chance to really have their say and there is no excuse if they don’t turn up.
“This is the time it will count and when people will be listened to. They are genuine workshops and as long as people turn up they will get the chance to have their say.”