The IGB’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022 targets ensuring that older, ‘veteran’ dogs become a recognised part of the greyhound racing fraternity.
Historically, a focus has been put on greyhounds between the ages of 18 and 48 months, i.e. when they hit their peak speed. The IGB recognises that extending the racing life of greyhounds to 72 months will ensure that less dogs are required in pools and that the racing careers of dogs is extended. This helps improve the welfare of racing greyhounds, as well as ensuring breeders, owners and trainers gain further economic benefit from the industry.
Nine veteran races were held nationwide throughout 2017, with that number having increased to 23 held in 2018.
As of December 2018, 51 greyhounds over the age of five, i.e. whelped on or before the January 10, 2014, were in the national graded entry pools. All racing managers at each of the 16 IGB-licensed tracks nationwide have been informed of the veterans that are entered at their track, so that qualifying veteran greyhounds can be identified.
In December 2018, four greyhounds that were whelped during or before March 2015 were in the national graded entry pools at either AAO or AO grade. Two of these greyhounds are now A1 grade having been back graded from AO to A1 since December.
Greyhounds of up to 54 months competed in Classic finals in 2018, proving that in certain cases, ‘senior’ dogs are capable of competing with their younger counterparts at a high level.
IGB CEO, Gerard Dollard, commented: “Ensuring that the racing career of dogs is longer is a key component of continuing to prioritise greyhound welfare in the industry, while developing a ‘whole of life approach’ to the racing greyhound.”
The proposal of having at least one ‘veteran’ race (and one specific event for bitches) was contained in the IGB’s Strategic Plan and will continue to be examined in terms of viability and in conjunction with the industry.