NSW greyhound ban lift to benefit dogs: Justin Brilliant

Conrad Winfield chats with Judy O'Neil with Vectis Seyarda at Horsham greyhound races. Picture: Paul Carracher

Conrad Winfield chats with Judy O'Neil with Vectis Seyarda at Horsham greyhound races. Picture: Paul Carracher

HORSHAM Greyhound Racing Club manager Justin Brilliant said a decision to halt a ban on the sport in NSW came down to common sense.

NSW Premier Mike Baird has performed an unexpected back-flip to halt a statewide ban on greyhound racing, due to start early next year. Premier Baird admitted last week that he had got the ruling wrong. 

The state will host fewer racing meets on fewer tracks and adopt a stronger greyhound welfare policy, focused on whole-of-life dog cycle management. There will also be a cap on the number of greyhounds permitted to be bred in the state. 

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Horsham Greyhound Racing Club manager Justin Brilliant said it was the right call by Mr Baird. 

“They can make changes in breeding numbers and the number of tracks. It will probably take a while, but it will help them breed better,” he said. 

The cap on the breeding of greyhounds is set at 2000 dogs a year, with a $1500 bond for every dog. 

It is unclear if the bond is only for racing dogs or every greyhound that is bred. 

Brilliant said there was no bond law in Victoria but the cap was good for the sport and the state. 

“It will help keep the number of racing dogs as limited as possible,” he said. 

“It will mean every dog gets the opportunity to race and keep sustained events.” 

Victoria has just 10 greyhound tracks compared to 34 in NSW, hosting picnic racing across the state every week. 

“Victoria is in a totally different situation at the moment. We are a long way along the lines where we have already made the industry the best in the nation,” Brilliant said.  

Greyhound breeders and trainers in NSW have embraced the announcement by Mr Baird.

Brilliant said the Horsham track would be closed for an estimated four months as it undergoes reconstruction. 

“No meetings will be missed. The meetings will be spread out over Warrnambool, Bendigo and Ballarat,” he said. 

“It’s important we do this. The track is almost 42 years old and is still the original infrastructure.

“We are looking to increase welfare outcomes and study the best track designs in the nation.” 

Once the club identify the best design, it will start redevelopments in a bid to make Horsham one of the leading tracks in the nation. 

The club has spent roughly $1 million on upgrades on the track in the past year. 

“People come here and tend to love the track. They like the shape, how safe the track is and the betting,” Brilliant said. Brilliant said he was happy that Victoria was a role model for other states in the greyhound industry. 

“Victoria has made changes. We are now the world leading state in greyhound welfare,” he said. 

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