The Strathalbyn greyhound meeting scheduled for Sunday 24 February was abandoned at approximately 12:35pm, after the kennelling process had commenced, due to the state of the track. It was deemed by the GRSA Stewards in attendance at the meeting that the surface was unsafe for racing. The meeting was being run as part of a dual code promotion with the Strathalbyn Harness Racing Club.
The Club experienced a number of difficulties with the Contractor in relation to a routine top-up of the track. The wrong mix of sand was initially applied to the track and then the running rail was damaged in the process of administering the top-up.
GRSA staff and Club Committee had worked through the week to address these issues and, by Friday, were satisfied that the rail problem had been fixed and that the track surface was in readiness for the Sunday meeting. Despite having continued to apply water to the surface during the Saturday in response to difficult weather conditions, the Track Curator took additional measures on the Sunday morning to address what he perceived as excessive firmness on the surface of the track. That maintenance process led to unforeseen complications which, in turn, rendered the track condition unsuitable for racing, despite considerable efforts being made to address the problems in time for the meeting.
It is normally GRSA’s policy to withhold stakemoney for any abandoned races within a meeting that hasn’t progressed beyond the half-way point. Under the circumstances, however, this would clearly not represent a reasonable outcome for participants.
GRSA has made the decision to allocate stakemoney for the abandoned meeting with prizemoney being distributed evenly between runners in all races for the meeting. Furthermore, an additional one-off special payment of $100 will be made to trainers who had to travel a significant distance to attend the meeting.
The payment will be premised upon the location of the registered kennels of any runner engaged for this meeting for trainers who had to travel 250 kilometres or more (round-trip) to compete. These payments are in addition to the normal travel rebate that would apply to Sunday racing at Strathalbyn.
The issues affecting the quality of the racing surface at Strathalbyn will be addressed as a high operational priority and participants will be updated accordingly once more is known about any impact on future trialling and racing dates. The events that contributed to this outcome will be thoroughly reviewed for future application.
GRSA regrets the inconvenience and frustration that this incident will have caused participants.