RIVERINA greyhound trainers are bracing themselves for the impact of reduced opportunities to race after Greyhound Racing NSW introduced strict new measures to address the coronavirus crisis.
Under the protocols trainers will only be allowed to race at their zoned region, with Wagga the only Riverina venue where racing will occur.
It is understood negotiations are continuing for Riverina dogs to be able to compete at Goulburn given there will only be two Wagga meetings in April.
Sunday's scheduled meeting at Temora has been scrapped, while racing will take place at Wagga on Sunday, April 12 and April 26.
"Trainers can't come in from different areas, and our area isn't allowed to race for three weeks," Wagga Greyhound Club president John Patton said.
"There's a new racing schedule and over the next few days trainers will work out where they can go.
"They've got to keep feeding them and if you're not racing, you don't have a chance to offset that with prizemoney.
"Whether you're a hobby trainer of a professional, they've still got to be fed and looked after."
Wagga's meeting on Sunday proceeded without any crowds, and from now on no more than 50 participants will be allowed at venues.
Racing at premier track Wentworth Park has also been suspended for the immediate future.
Other guidelines put in place include;
- No interstate greyhounds or trainers allowed to race in NSW;
- introduction of a new pre-race kennelling procedure with designated time for each race kennelling, including protocols of four square metres per person, and;
- Trials to continue at all tracks, but these must be booked.
Wagga trainer and owner John Hartley had planned to resume the lone dog in his kennel from injury at Temora on Sunday.
He said it would also affect the two star dogs he owns in Tennessee Tiger and Shanjo Prince, who are part of leading Sydney trainer Mark Gatt's kennel.
"Generally we have our meetings and you could also go to Goulburn or Temora, but now it's restricted down to two," he said.
"It's hard on trainers who have got a lot of dogs like Ben Talbot. There's some dogs that may not be able to run because they're all in a similar class or grade.
"If it shuts down we have to work out what to do with the dogs. Lucky I've only got one here and I'd send him straight back to the owner.
"My two dogs in Sydney can only run at Bulli or Dapto now and they're top grade dogs. With the number of dogs around they may not have enough to make a race."
Greyhound Racing NSW boss Tony Mestrov said it was crucial the industry finds ways to continue to race.
"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," he said.
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