Ian Fortune

The GBGB yesterday announced that Irish runners would be given some dispensations ahead of the English Derby, although there are one or two sticking points that could yet need to be looked at in the coming weeks.

Amongst the dispensations announced yesterday is the fact that Irish raiders will need only one trial, be it over a sprint or standard trip. The current quarantine measures in place between Ireland and the UK mean that many Irish runners may need to be registered with UK trainers or a handler will need to stay with the dogs through the entire competition.

There is also an issue regarding the Greyhound Care Bond, which currently stands at £200. There is plenty of debate ongoing as regards the payment of this sum with many feeling it unfair that Irish raiders must stump up the cash ahead of an English Derby challenge.

With the majority of the Irish runners coming back to these shores after their English Derby adventure, it seems unfair that they must pay the bond which applies to British trained greyhounds. This may well change in the coming weeks and we’ll keep you informed. For the moment, you can read the full GBGB statement below:

The GBGB statement reads:

GBGB has today announced that, following a meeting of the GRB, it will be granting a rule dispensation for the English Greyhound Derby to support international entries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The dispensation seeks to lessen some of the difficulties facing Irish trainers and owners who wish to compete in the competition due to the severe travel restrictions currently in place in the Republic of Ireland. At the moment, these measures require those returning from England to quarantine for two weeks upon their arrival back.

To avoid the need to travel and face these quarantine restrictions, GBGB recognises that an international trainer or owner may wish to send their greyhound to a GBGB licensed trainer for participation in the event. As such, on this occasion it has been agreed that the registration and trialling requirements for international entries to the Derby would be simplified – reducing to one trial.

This means that, for international trainers or owners sending a greyhound to a GBGB licensed trainer for participation:

The greyhound must have successfully completed at least one trial or race at a GBGB licensed racecourse, or racecourse recognised by GBGB on or after 12th September 2020 (within 22 days of the first round) but before 24th September 2020 (the closing date).

This trial can be completed over any distance and can be solo or mixed.

The greyhound must be registered with GBGB in the normal way to include a Point of Registration sample and payment to the Greyhound Retirement Scheme.

 Paul Illingworth, Senior Stipendiary Steward at GBGB, said:

“With the Irish Greyhound Derby well underway and trainers beginning to turn their attention to the English Derby, we have been working at ways we can support international entries whilst the COVID-19 travel restrictions remain in place.

“Unfortunately, I know that for some Irish trainers, particularly those with much smaller kennels, entering a greyhound in the English Derby may not be a viable option at the moment because of the need to quarantine on their return – particularly if they would tend to commute each week rather than stay in England for the duration of the competition.

“As such, the dispensation to the qualification rules that we have announced – whilst obviously not a perfect solution given the realities of the current pandemic – aims to support international entries as much as possible.

“The English Derby has seen some stunning competition and winners in the past from Irish greyhounds and we want to ensure that, wherever we can, we help this continue whilst upholding the highest integrity and welfare measures.”