Queensland Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association (QGBOTA) Stephen Lennon has fired back at Racing Queensland’s (RQ) decision to closedown Cairns greyhound track releasing a statement through the QGBOTA website.
Lennon called the decision “sad news for the industry” and called out the inconsistent approach of closing greyhound tracks due to “financial viability” issues, when thoroughbred tracks exposed to the same financial issues continue to receive RQ support. Lennon said the Cairn’s decision was further proof that RQ’s “We Run As One” brand was nothing more than words.
The QGBOTA President also put a shot over the bow for other greyhound racing participants outside of Queensland, who will soon be subject to the same or similar rigorous education and accreditation requirements to acquire and renew greyhound trainer’s licenses, saying “Under RQ and post 2015, trainers have been leaving the industry at around 20% year to year. As trainers aged, there has been little to zero action by RQ to fill this void with new trainers.’
“The current package took far too long to achieve. It was expensive, and the opportunities to complete the required course in a suitable time frame, proved all but impossible.”
“The proposed scheme is infinitely worse, and will drive away any new interested parties.”
“There seems to be no urgency to rectify this on RQ’s part. Soon this will impact on other tracks” Lennon said.
Lennon addressed some of the issues surrounding Cairns greyhound racing club in the past few months and said that a proposal put together by Cairns club President Emma Bryant was not shown to an RQ advisory group who were discussing the Cairns situation.
“Over the past year, the President of Cairns club, Ms.Emma Bryant, has suffered ill health. Emma provides the bulk of greyhounds week in and out for these meetings. With her absence the club was unable to field meetings, and as such I believe 13 have been abandoned. RQ has decided that it is no longer financially viable to continue supporting Cairns.
Emma Bryant sent me a letter on 20/11/2018 outlining a proposal from trainers in that region. She asked if I could present it for discussion with RQ and members of the Advisory Panel at the December 5 meeting.
As I had been informed that the QGBOTA was to be removed from the panel, I met with another panel member, and asked if he could present this for me. It would appear that, disappointingly, this has not occurred. The original presentation was not used, however the requested member did speak up for the Cairns track.
If you wish to know whether the panel supported the closing of Cairns, you will have to ask those involved” Lennon said.
Lennon is referring to the RQ “Advisory Panel – Greyhounds”. The RQ website lists the panel members as:
Racing Queensland Advisory Panel – Greyhounds
- Dale Cartwright – Panel Chair (RQ)
- Les Bein – Club
- Emma Bryant – Breeder/Owner/Trainer
- Gary Heath – Club
- Luke Gatehouse – Club
- Greg Sternberg – Veterinarian
- Casey Dargusch – Breeder/Owner/Trainer
- Ross Barnett – QRIC – Commissioner
- Steve Lennon – QGBOTA President