TWO weeks without greyhound racing is a very long time.
Tralee and Shelbourne Park the last two Irish tracks to race. However, there will come a time when the sport will restart, in all likelihood behind closed doors.
Prior to racing coming to a halt, all Irish tracks were racing behind closed doors and it seemed to work well.
Obviously, it isn't ideal but it was keeping people in work and providing it's safe to do so, then it can only be a good thing. Businesses and livelihoods depend on a return but for now, it's all about keeping safe.
Owners and trainers will continue to keep their greyhounds as fit as possible because when racing will return, they will need to be racing fit to compete.
One would imagine that prior to racing returning, there would be a week or two-week trial session. However, that is for another day and time will tell what exactly will happen.
Last week in the Echo, I shared one of my moments of 2019 and that, of course, was Rockybay Foley winning the Irish Greyhound Laurels for the second consecutive year.
As Curraheen Park Greyhound Stadium approach their 20th birthday, they’ve posed the question to their social media followers: What is your favourite racing memory of the last 20 years?
Talking Dogs said: "It got us thinking that we should open it up across the country. So what is your favourite memory? Maybe it’s Rockybay Foley winning the Laurels, or the local crowd cheering home Sevenheads Bay in the same competition in 2009.
"Perhaps it’s Cool Performance in the 2001 Derby or the unforgettable College Causeway storming home across the finish line. Or maybe it’s something local that didn’t take the national stage but to you is equally as impressive.
"Whatever it is, we want to hear it. Join in the conversation on social media or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to tell us why, your story will help to build the memories. If you’ve got a photo to accompany it, even better".
The Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) has confirmed that it has offered all its facilities including its stadia, staff, sales and reservation centre and National Greyhound Laboratory to the national effort to combat COVID 19. This offer was made on March 19 last and reiterated on a number of occasions and again recently.
In relation to the potential use of the National Greyhound Laboratory, the IGB understands that as the laboratory is accredited and structured for chemical analysis it is unlikely to be suitable for microbiological/virological analysis which is the competency required during the present crisis.
The IGB has also confirmed that its staff remain fully contactable during the current crisis and is extensively utilising its IT infrastructure to facilitate ongoing engagement on all work activities that can be progressed during the current crisis. Telephone, email and written correspondence will be responded to as normal. The Welfare Team will respond to any situations as is necessary.
The first payments under the recently announced COVID-19 Greyhound Care Payment Scheme will be made on April 9.