Curraheen Park and Youghal greyhound tracks close in Coronavirus shutdown

Curraheen Park and Youghal greyhound tracks close in Coronavirus shutdown
Drive on Sadie (5 Orange), owned by Christy O'Donovan, Douglas, going on to win the Greyhounds Make Great Pets Unraced Final at Curraheen Park ahead of Lemon De Janerio (2) and Turbine Tailwind (6), last month. Picture: Mike English

THE governing body of the Irish greyhound industry announced measures to support trainers as tracks shut down.

Up until Tuesday, Curraheen Park and Youghal in Cork, along with other venues nationwide, had been hosting meets behind closed doors. 

However, the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) confirmed greyhound racing activity is now suspended to ensure full compliance with all directions of government and HSE protocols to battle Coronavirus.

That means Monday's racing in Youghal was the last on Leeside for the foreseeable future. It's another blow to the East Cork track, which had already been earmarked for closure as the IGB streamlined its operations.

A report last December 16 mooted shutting four loss-making stadia, including Youghal, which has run since 1948.

Curraheen Park was set to hold a meeting on Wednesday night, as well as the regular Friday and Saturday slots, but they have all now been called off.

Curraheen Park. Picture: Denis Minihane.
Curraheen Park. Picture: Denis Minihane.

The IGB's Covid-19 Greyhound Care Payment Scheme will provide a payment of €2 per day for each active greyhound currently registered, including dogs that have raced or had an official trial at any IGB licenced greyhound track in the previous 42 days.

The IGB explained: "The 42 days is part of the statutory racing regulation within which a greyhound is permitted to trial/race. The 10% remittance to public trainers will continue to apply with respect to the greyhound care payment.

"The scheme does not require any application by owners/trainers for the special payment as this will automatically be processed on a fortnightly basis similar to the current arrangements for prize money payments." 

It will come into effect from April 8 when the final prize money payments have been made. 

"The scheme will be reviewed after one month of operation and in the event that restrictions arising from the Covid 19 pandemic remain in place.

The IGB has also announced that following discussions with the Irish Coursing Club (ICC) that the fee for registering new litters of greyhounds within 14 days of whelping will be waived. The IGB will recoup to the ICC the cost of this measure. 

"This approach will ensure that an element of the costs associated with breeding activity will not apply during the current crisis. This will assist in ensuring the system for breeding and registering of greyhounds continues to be supported."

The IGB also confirmed its facilities and staff are available to assist, where required, in support of the national effort to combat Covid 19.

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