TONY Mestrov says he is excited about getting out and meeting greyhound racing participants at a series of meet and greet sessions planned across the state.
The CEO of Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) – who started in the role in November – will be travelling to different tracks with Deputy CEO Dayle Brown throughout January to meet and listen to racing participants, club officials and other industry stakeholders.
Speaking with Australian Racing Greyhound last month, Mestrov said engaging with participants was one key aspect he wanted to achieve as the new leader of GRNSW.
“I am looking forward to the new year and getting out on the regional tour to interact more with participants and hear their thoughts,” he said.
“The one thing I have quickly learned is the knowledge of the greyhound community. There have been views put forward on a range of topics and particularly the trainers have come forward and they have been quite knowledgeable about where the industry needs to go.
“One change I want to bring is that I want to consult and communicate with the industry the whole way – if there are any changes coming, people will know about it.
“I think there is a readiness for change – people are prepared for change in order to better the industry.”
Mestrov said there are a range of issues facing the industry, the biggest being revenue and the financial viability of the sport.
“A lot of the issues we’ve heard from trainers and owners concerns prize money – so we need to work on how we can build a commercial model that increases revenue as a whole to the industry,” he said.
“That has a huge impact on everything we are doing and it will be my role to help find new, commercial revenue streams and clubs will also have to explore that moving forward.
“We need to keep more owners and trainers in the industry and to keep dogs racing for longer – increasing prize money will assist with that, which makes it a definite goal in the future.”
The former Chief Operating Officer of the Gold Coast Titans also said extensive work needs to be undertaken with the clubs across the state to tackle a range of issues including the preparation of safe racing tracks.
“There needs to be a lot of work done with our clubs – we really have to assist them regarding tracks, revenue and other areas to help them move forward.
“I think we need to start a new business unit internally to work with clubs in all kinds of areas to improve their revenue and their governance and to really help them get to the next level.”
As a whole, Mestrov says he is enjoying his new role and says one thing he wants to bring to the industry is positivity that greyhound racing has a bright future in NSW.
“You are never going to have everyone agree with your appointment for varied reasons, but as a whole I have felt very welcomed.
“However there is a real perception out there that the industry is going to close – there is a lot of doom and gloom from participants.
“But I believe the government is truly supportive of the industry and I want to give the industry some confidence back.
“We are not always going to agree, but I am here to give greyhound racing a sustainable future – that’s the job.”
The dates and locations for the meet and greet sessions are as follows:
- Tuesday, January 9: Bathurst Greyhound Club, 3:30pm – 6:30pm
- Wednesday, January 10: Richmond Race Club, 3pm – 6pm
- Thursday, January 11: Lismore Greyhound Club, 5pm – 8pm
- Tuesday, January 16: Tamworth Greyhound Club, 5pm – 8pm
- Thursday, January 18: Wagga Greyhound Club, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
- Tuesday, January 23: Goulburn Greyhound Club, 12pm – 3pm
- Thursday, January 25: Dapto Greyhound Club, 12:30pm – 3:30pm
- Tuesday, January 30: Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
- Wednesday, January 31: The Gardens Newcastle Greyhounds, 3:30pm – 6:30pm