There will be a bumper greyhound racing program in Bulli this Saturday night. However, the Bulli Racing Complex will virtually resemble a ghost town.
Twelve races will go ahead behind closed doors after Greyhound Racing NSW announced this week that 10 regional tracks - including at Bulli and Dapto - will remain open despite concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
GRNSW has closed 70 per cent of racing venues across the state while there will be strict measures enforced on each track, including no spectators at race meetings, no bar facilities and extra cleaning on site.
Bulli Greyhounds manager Darren Hull said he was pleased racing would continue at his venue, albeit under very strict measures.
"Naturally we are pretty pleased Bulli's part of the 10 venues they've kept open. Bulli is a bit of a specific track to everyone else. It's a one-track turn so it provides a different style of racing: that would have gone in our favour," Hull said.
"We all have to fit in with what's going on around at the moment. Basically there's been a lot of measures put in place that allows us to continue racing. These include no spectators on course and virtually only the trainers and handlers allowed into the place on race night.
"You've got to do what what you've got to do basically. What's being encouraged is to race and then go home... we're fitting in what whatever the government has announced."
Another aspect of GRNSW's new measures is trainers and handlers must race within their "specifically selected" zones. Bulli's zone takes in the South Coast and surrounding areas, including the Southern Highlands and Goulburn.
"It's to stop people from travelling and no interstate greyhounds can race on NSW tracks," Hull said.
"Greyhound trainers are probably the most resilient travelers: they usually drive from one end of the state to the other. They can race at Wagga one night and then Lismore the next."
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Hull has been based at the Bulli Racing Complex for six-and-a-half years. With most sports suspended due to the COVID-19 spread, Hull said he had "never seen anything like this" current situation.
"We went through the proposed [greyhound racing] government ban in 2016. That was pretty traumatic, but we came through it," Hull said.
"But this is something entirely different really, isn't it? I look at what's going on and I feel for a lot of people. Some people have spent their lifetimes building up their businesses and they've just got nothing at the moment - it's pretty devastating.
"Without jeopardising anyone's health, if you add up the employees in all three racing codes, the impact would be staggering. Look at everyone associated with it: you have video people for Sky, race stewards etc.
"We hold race meetings every Saturday night, including this Saturday. We've actually got 12 races, it's the first time we've had that many in my time here but will be behind closed doors.
"We're making a pretty big effort to make it happen."
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