Ennis: Time To Be United During COVID-19 Crisis

LEADING Victorian trainer Jamie Ennis has called on all trainers and racing authorities to do their bit to ensure greyhound racing continues in Victoria.

Mick Floyd

25 March 2020

LEADING conditioner Jamie Ennis has called on all trainers and racing authorities to do their bit to ensure greyhound racing continues in Victoria amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking following the cancellation of the Launching Pad, Ennis said that as long as trainers follow government advice and adhere to the strict race day protocols put in place by Greyhound Racing Victoria and its clubs, there was no reason the sport can’t continue through the current COVID-19 crisis.

“It’s a shame to lose it (the Launching Pad), I reckon Jim Zarr Dashian could have won it. But in the bigger scheme of things the series really doesn’t matter,” Ennis said.

“The most important thing is for us as an industry to keep racing so that trainers can still receive an income and ensure our greyhounds are well looked after. Racing isn’t like other sports – the greyhounds still need to be fed and exercised and seen to by vets. Without racing there’ll be a lot of people, and not just the trainers, who will struggle to pay the bills.

“The protocols imposed by GRV are there to make sure we follow government advice around social distancing and hygiene, and they’re important because the health and safety of the people at the track is absolutely crucial. With those measures in place we can continue to race safely and there’s no reason we shouldn’t.

“I’ve got no doubt trainers will do the right thing because the alternative is we sit at home and the dogs don’t race. We talk a lot about being world leaders in animal welfare, and we should because our dogs are better looked after and better prepared than anywhere else in the world. We have to maintain those standards even in times like these and make sure that our dogs and our people are well looked after.”

Ennis also believes participants need to accept that even if racing continues, prize money may take a hit as a result of reduced racing and wagering turnover. While any cuts may be painful in the short term, the long term health of the entire industry is paramount.

“The prize money in the sport is amazing, but the reality is there are a lot of people who are going to lose their jobs as a result of this virus.

“If some group races have to go or have their prize money reduced in the short term then so be it. We need to keep as many people in the sport as we can and for people to keep their jobs – trainers, track and club staff – so that when we get through this we’re in a position to grow the sport again.”