A plan to reopen a straight greyhound track near Wollongong has been bolstered by a new industry report, which has flagged the infrastructure change as one way to prevent dishlickers being killed or injured while racing.
A recently-released University of Technology Sydney (UTS) report into greyhound racetrack design has recommended tracks be made straight instead of oval, to eliminate injuries “directly associated with bends”.
The report, commissioned by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW), found dogs colliding on bends were a major source of injuries.
Location-specific data revealed most dogs hurt at Bulli, Dapto and Nowra race meetings last year sustained injuries while navigating a bend.
“It is strongly recommended that GRNSW and the Australian Greyhound Industry reconsider their aversion to straight tracks and consider developing purpose-built straight tracks,” the UTS report said.
“This may require the purchase of land specifically for the purpose of developing one or more ‘green-fields’ straight TAB tracks. It may also require running more races over shorter distances.”
Bulli Greyhounds operations manager Darren Hull was supportive of the move to straight tracks, but flagged the infrastructure changes couldn’t happen short-term.
“I’ve got no doubt there’s a need for a straight track in NSW, somewhere in this region,” Mr Hull said.
The Bulli track boss said the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association had applied to reopen an existing track at Appin as a TAB racing venue.
“It’s a straight track that runs up a bit of a hill. It’s quite a unique little set-up up there,” Mr Hull said, adding it was currently used for trials.
Reducing the number of dogs in each race from eight to six, progressively removing bend starts and increasing the height of starting box grilles were some of the report’s other suggestions.
Taking into account the number of races at each location, the report said the Bulli, Dapto and Nowra tracks were among those with the lowest death rates last year.
The Nowra and Dubbo tracks were among the worst in NSW for overall injuries.
To read the full UTS report, click here.