Greyhound trainers and breeders 'have a future' in wake of ban backflip

Wollondilly greyhound breeders and trainers were “ecstatic” when they heard Mike Baird had “got it wrong” last Tuesday.

The NSW Premier announced he would ditch his plan to ban greyhound racing and instead proposed tougher penalties with a greater emphasis on animal welfare.

Following a trial session on Wednesday morning, Thirlmere Greyhound Trial Track manager Mick Player said the reversed decision drew smiles across 30 trainers’ faces.

“It was really good to hear him (Mike Baird) say he was wrong, we knew he was wrong,” he said.

“They (trainers) were all the same as me.

“They have a future now that they did not have a week go.

“It is not just about money. There is a social aspect to training and breeding. It is a massive industry.”

Mr Player, who is also president of the Camden Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association and on the Greyhound Racing Industry Consultative Group, called on the NSW government to give more control to industry experts.

“I want the (greyhound) industry given back to (greyhound) industry people,” he said.

“Greyhound racing has been nothing but a disaster for the past 15 years.”

Former NSW Premier Morris Iemma will be appointed chair of the oversight body that will draw up a new regulatory and governance framework for the industry.

Mr Player said he hoped the new committee contained industry people.

“All we’ve had is public servants and this is where we have ended up,” he said.

“Greyhound racing is a Parramatta-sport, not a Pitt Street-sport.”

Mr Player also recommended Wayne Billet should be made Greyhound Racing NSW CEO immediately. 

Thirlmere retired trainer and owner Ted McPhee said he was “quite elated” for the “good people” who were badly affected.

“It was unjust for the innocent people,” Mr McPhee said.

Mr McPhee said it was a flawed decision to act on the first recommendation of the Special Commission into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW without reviewing the rest.

“It was a cruel play and an ill-thought out plan,” he said.

Mr McPhee was also thankful that he and his wife could continue their social outings at the Thirlmere trial track.

“We have met a lot of people with similar interests, it has been a social atmosphere and to have that pulled away,” he said.

Pheasants Nest resident Shayne Fleming said he was proud that local residents, including the owners of retired dogs, rallied together to save their passion.

“We were jumping through hula hoops,” Mr Fleming said.

“We were glad it was reversed.”

The hobby trainer said the new breeding regulations were fair and that it was up to owners to be honest.

“I want it to be even … as long as it is fair for everybody, including us hobby trainers,” he said.

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