THE GUNNEDAH greyhound race track will be closed for at least two months after a routine inspection found it to be “compromised at some points” earlier this week.
The Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) track maintenance team met with Gunnedah members onsite on Sunday, where they ruled “all racing and trailing activity at the Gunnedah track will be suspended as a re-construction of the track is fully evaluated and undertaken”.
It comes after the Gunnedah track was converted from grass to sand in 2014.
“As is the case at a number of NSW tracks, the construction methodology applied to the track conversion is at odds with the demands of current track preparation standards, procedures and equipment use,” a Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) statement said.
Gunnedah-based GBOTA chair Geoff Rose welcomed the decision in the interest of animal welfare.
“At the time, we were running 15 to 16 meetings over a 12-month period, but since we’ve elected to have TAB races, that has doubled to 28 to 30 meetings a year,” Mr Rose told Fairfax on Wednesday.
“Since TAB and extra meetings… it’s (the track) is just not handling it.
“It’s about best possible practise, best possible animal welfare.”
There is no certain timeframe on how long the track will take to repair.
Mr Rose praised efforts made by the GRNSW track maintenance team to improve and standardise track preparation methodology through the use of sand profiles, penetrometers, and porosity testing are outstanding developments.
“But without dealing with the underlying construction weaknesses, surface preparation can only improve things so far,” he said.
“We’re waiting on a company to test how far you can go down to hit solid soil.
“THE V8 Supercars don’t run around on a gravel road.
“Mount Panorama is updated each year.
“The more use, the more work it gets. Greyhound racing is no different.”
The track is expected to be closed until late April.
The project is expected to cost about $200,000, which Mr Rose hopes can be funded under the state government’s $30 million commitment to reform the greyhound racing industry following the backflip of the sport’s ban in 2017.
Meetings planned for Gunnedah during the track’s closure are expected to be moved to either Armidale, Tamworth or Moree.
“I’ve asked that they stay in the local area,” Mr Rose said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.