Thorsby Appointed Acting Chief Greyhound Steward In Queensland

Racing Queensland Limited today announced that they are yet to appoint the new chief stipendiary steward for both harness and greyhound racing.

In the interim, Mr John Hackett will act in the position of chief stipendiary steward (harness racing).

Ms Gail Thorsby, deputy chief stipendiary steward (greyhound racing) will assume responsibility for the greyhound panel of stewards until the appointment of the new chief steward.

The announcement follows on from efforts from Racing Queensland to make reform changes to enhance the long term viability of greyhound racing in Queensland.

Racing Queensland only recently met with key Queensland greyhound identities to discuss proposed changes to Queensland greyhound racing prizemoney and grading structures.

In addition to Racing Queensland management and board members the meeting was attended by QGBOTA president Stephanie Houghton, trainers Ron Ball, Michael Zammitt, Ray Burman, Dave Irwin, and club administrators Merv Page, Alec Stevens and Luke Gatehouse.

Although the group saw the merit in Racing Queensland’s proposal to combine grade 2 and 3 tracks, the broader group preferred to undertake a six month trial of altering a few conditions within the existing three tiered TAB grading system in South-East Queensland. This trial will coincide with the introduction of increased prizemoney from April 1, 2011.

The changes to the existing grading policy are listed below:

  • A greyhound achieving a higher grade on a higher class of track will be that grade when starting on a lower class of track;
  • No pre-grading (beating the grader);
  • Heat and Final wins will count as two wins.

Prominent greyhound identity Ray Burman said, “It is quite unique in Queensland greyhound racing to be consulted on these types of issues and afforded the opportunity to provide feedback with the knowledge that those empowered to make decisions are prepared to listen. The implementation of the agreed changes to the grading policy and the changes to the prizemoney structure will revitalise greyhound racing in this State and I’m excited by the fact that we can now look forward to the future with some certainty and direction”.

As the aforementioned changes will impact the previously announced prizemoney levels, the meeting agreed to adjust prizemoney levels as follows.

  • Grade 1 Meeting – 1 race at $8000, 9 races at $5000
  • Grade 2 Meeting – 10 races at $2000
  • Grade 3 Meeting – 10 races at $1400

The prizemoney increases already proposed for Townsville and the Non-TAB venues will remain as previously quoted.

These increases are in-keeping with the previously announced total prizemoney injection of $1.5m and will be introduced for a six month period, subsequent to which a further review of the grading system and prizemoney structure will be undertaken.

Additionally, it was also agreed at the meeting that the current process of conducting heats and finals be adjusted and that the following final schedule be developed in conjunction with the feature race schedule:

  • 1 monthly final of $10,000 at Grade 1 meetings
  • 1 monthly final of $4000 at each Grade 2 meeting
  • 1 monthly final of $2800 at each Grade 3 meeting

Leading trainer Ron Ball reiterated the comments of Ray Burman and added, “the increased prizemoney of $8000 for the ‘Best 8’ each week and the monthly $10,000 final at the Grade 1 meeting is most welcome and will encourage participants to consider purchasing or breeding a top quality greyhound to race in South-East Queensland”.

The chairman of Racing Queensland Bob Bentley said at the conclusion of the meeting, “I attended the meeting as an observer and was buoyed by the level of interaction and discussion topics that emanated from the meeting and the greyhound industry’s resolve to embrace the three code consolidated control body model. It’s extremely positive that this type of forum can deliver such strong outcomes and Racing Queensland looks forward to continuing this type of debate on strategic issues”.

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