Casino and Lismore greyhound tracks close
NORTHERN Rivers greyhound trainers have been forced to continue operating at Grafton with racing at Casino and Lismore suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Greyhound Racing NSW has announced a temporary closure of 70 per cent of racing venues across the State.
They have zoned seven regions outside of Sydney in a move to continue racing in the safest possible environment.
A lot of local trainers already make the trip to Grafton including Brian Stephens.
He had Mia Beryl May win at Casino last Friday and has since raced the dog at Grafton.
Stephens, who lives at Rileys Hill, mainly races out of Casino, Grafton, Ipswich and Lismore.
“The dogs give me a reason to get up every day,” Stephens said after his latest win.
“Each day I am greeted by the dogs it keeps him fit in body and mind.”
Greyhound Racing NSW chief executive Tony Mestrov said continuing to race would protect the income and livelihood of its participants.
“Like every business across the country, we have had to be decisive and do everything possible to continue operations while protecting the safety of all concerned,” Mestrov said.
“We feel the plan we are putting in place serves two very important purposes.
“Firstly, it strengthens our biosecurity measures significantly, in the battle to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“Right throughout this worrying time for everyone, our number one priority and focus has been the health and safety of our participants and staff.
“Secondly this allows our participants to continue to race, which means they can continue to work.
“For many, if not most of our thousands of participants, this is their livelihood and only form of income.
“We cannot underestimate how critical it is for both the livelihoods of our participants, and the economies of regional NSW, that we work out a way to continue to race.
“Another important part of being able to continue racing operations is the ability to support our commitment to re-homing programs, which is vital.
“The tracks we have chosen for our contingency plan have been strategically selected so that we can cater for the participants in those regions, and they must race in their region to limit the amount of travel our participants need to do.”