Live action racing back on track in Chch today

The greyhound racing industry of New South Wales has been granted one last chance to reform....
Photo: ODT files
Every journey must start with a single step.

Now it may not be a huge leap, more of a shuffle really, but the trip back to live sport in New Zealand will begin today.

It is not the most glamorous of sporting codes and it will take place in front of about one man and a dog — actually, make that plenty of dogs.

But a live sporting contest — in which no-one knows who will win — will take place this afternoon. And there will not be a computer involved nor competitors sitting in chairs.

Greyhound racing is back in business and, with it, an opportunity to put on a wager on to pick a winner. Traditionally, greyhounds do not attract much betting but the code may attract more interest today.

Meetings in Christchurch and Whangaui will take place as racing finally resumes after being out of action since March 23.

Each meeting will feature 12 races. Christchurch will have its first race at noon while Whanganui starts a few minutes later.

The meetings had originally been scheduled for Christchurch and Invercargill but meeting locations have been changed to be nearer dog populations.

All 24 races will be raced over about 300m and the meetings will be all over in just over three hours.

The greyhounds are the first of the three racing codes as dogs can be kept fit relatively easily, the logistics of getting the dogs to the races is not too cumbersome and dogs have the ability to bounce back easily from races. The short races also means the endurance fitness of the dogs will not be tested.

The meetings are closed to the public as will be the case with all race meetings for some time to come. They will be broadcast though.

Harness racing code is set to start at the end of the month while thoroughbred racing is due to start on July 1.

Horse racing has continued across the Tasman — just under 20 meetings are taking place in Australia today.

The rest of sport in New Zealand though remains up in the air. At Level 3, nothing can be played while at Level 2 physical distancing of 1m must continue so that rules out many sports.

Professional competitions such as Super Rugby and the ANZ Premiership netball competition may be allowed under Level 2 as they could be controlled and players tested. A move to Level 1 would allow all sport to be played as there are no limits on physical distancing.




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