Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) and the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) have announced today that in a further initiative towards safer racing, commencing on August 1, trials using a double-arm lure, and preferred box draws will begin at selected NSW greyhound racing tracks.
Trialling of the double arm lure has been taking place at Dapto and Ladbrokes Gardens over the past six weeks, and those two tracks will commence using the double-arm lure at race meetings in the first week of August – Dapto from their August 3 meeting and Ladbrokes Gardens from their meeting on August 4.
Trials of the preferred box draw will be conducted over the 297m distance at Dapto for 5th grade greyhounds with two races per meeting set aside for this approach, and over the 520m distance at Wentworth Park for 5th grade greyhounds and 280m non-grade, at provincial graded meetings, with three races per meeting set aside for this approach.
Dapto will commence the trial from their meeting on August 3, however with the Nationals scheduled at Wentworth Park in the second week of August, their trial of the preferred box draw will not commence until their meeting on August 16.
“When GRNSW and GWIC hosted the Racing Injury Reduction Summit back in February, we developed a Race Injury Reduction Action Plan to be implemented across the sport for the benefit of racing greyhounds,” GRNSW Chief Executive Officer Mr Rob Macaulay said.
“Prominent on the list of key actions was the trial of both the double-arm lure and preferred box draws, with the latter having been proven to be successful in New Zealand in reducing interference and injuries.
“As we continually say, the welfare of our animals is paramount, and while we have been working on making all of our tracks even safer, we will continue look at all avenues to make racing safer for our greyhounds.”
GWIC Chief Commissioner, Mr Alby Taylor, says these trials will further enhance the NSW greyhound racing industry’s reputation as a global leader when it comes to greyhound welfare.
“We are resolute in our commitment to seeing a significant reduction in serious racing injuries in greyhound racing,” Mr Taylor said. “These are just two of the race injury reduction strategies agreed to at the summit in February, but we expect they will have a major impact based on the experience in racing overseas.
“The key purpose of these trials is to determine if double-arm lures can provide multiple focal points for greyhound engagement to encourage straight running, whilst in the case of preferred box draw, we hope the dogs will ‘stay in their lanes' resulting in a significant reduction in racetrack collisions.”
The commencement of the double-arm lure and preferred box draw trial follows GWIC’s Race Injury Reduction Pilot which commenced on May 1 at Richmond and Wentworth Park which sees a GWIC veterinarian and steward attending all trials, another initiative from the Summit’s action plan. The trials will continue until further notice.
While GRNSW will announce more specific details around the preferred dox draw (PBD) events in the coming weeks, how it will work is that a trainer will nominate directly into the PBD races and can still utilise the preference system for nominating.
Early running traits will be: Railer (R): dogs that do not angle right from box rise from inside draws; Straight (S): dogs that run straight from middle draws; and Wide (W): dogs that do not angle left at box rise from wide draws.
The make-up of fields will be determined based on the current grading policy rules.
Once a race field has been created the running traits of each greyhound in the field will be grouped and a manual box draw will be conducted. For example, in an eight-dog field, if five greyhounds are designated railers, then one greyhound as straight and two as wide, then starting boxes 1-5 will be drawn for railers, Box 6 will be allocated for straight dog and boxes 7 and 8 will be drawn as wide runners. No reserves will be graded into PBD races.
The manual box draw will be conducted by the grading office with oversight from GWIC Officials.
After the first nomination and subsequent race start, the early running trait of a greyhound will be reviewed and refined by the Stewards. The Stewards may amend the trait and then advise the relevant trainer. Unless amended following review by the Stewards, an application for an amended trait will not be considered for a period of at least three starts.