The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) is this week publishing amendments to its Rules of Racing as part of its ongoing commitment to maintaining the highest standards of welfare and integrity.

The key amendments have been led by GBGB’s Welfare and Veterinary Standing Committee (WVSC) which considered feedback from stakeholders across the sport as well as the latest scientific research.

The new Rules will come into force on Friday 6th May 2022.

GBGB has planned a series of training sessions with racing office staff across its licenced stadia to ensure the successful implementation of the changes. GBGB’s Stipendiary Steward field force will also support trainers as the new Rules come into place.

All licence holders are encouraged to read and become accustomed to the changes which will be available in this week’s GBGB Calendar:

Key amendments to the Rules of Racing include:

  • Rule 147 – Greyhound not to run more than once in a four-day period: This Rule now states that a greyhound shall not run (race or trial) more than once in a four-day period and shall only run a maximum of six times in any 28-day period. This means that, for example, a greyhound that runs on Monday can next run on Friday. Racecourses may apply for a dispensation to this rule for re-run races that are eliminating rounds of a competition.
  • Rule 146 – Re-run: Prevents a re-run taking place on the same day.
  • Rule 113 – Kennelling and weighing procedure: Kennels may only be used more than once at a meeting if they are disinfected and dried between use, and also introduces a minimum amount of water that must be provided in every kennel.
  • Rule 112 – Kennelling time: Allows for additional kennelling times at tracks, subject to there being a gap in trials and racing to allow the track to do their duties and sets a maximum time of five hours for greyhounds to be in track kennels before racing.
  • Rule 80 – Draw procedure: Previously, the allocation of vacant traps in a random draw as middles seeds caused middle seeds to run from trap 6 when trap 4 was drawn as vacant. The Rule now allocates the vacant traps as the last middle runners drawn thus not denying a middle runner the opportunity for a better draw.
  • Rule 90 – Dead heat for qualifying place: Removes the need for a run-off.

In addition to the Rule changes, standardised form has also been updated to include new classes of Open Races for racecards. This update will take immediate effect and Open Race classes will now be shown on the racecard as follows:

Minor Open – OR

Category Three (Heats/Final) – OR3

Category Two (Heats/Semis/Final) – OR2

Category One (First Round/Second Round/Quarter Finals/Semi Finals/Final) – OR1

Welcoming the Rule changes, Professor Madeleine Campbell, GBGB Independent Director and Chair of the GBGB Welfare and Veterinary Standing Committee, said:

“The WVSC agreed to review the scientific data currently available to us and, from that analysis, determine if there was a requirement to introduce an inter-race recovery period for racing greyhounds.

“We are thankful to Dr Richard Payne (Associate Professor of Veterinary Anatomy at the University of Nottingham) for his informative analysis of soft tissue recovery and glycogen restoration in racing greyhounds which formed part of this review.

“The committee concluded that a mandatory minimum rest period between runs should be introduced for all racing greyhounds. Taking a precautionary approach to allow for individual variation between dog and race, we proposed that this should be a four-day gap between runs, to ensure three clear rest days.

“As with all GBGB rules that are in place to protect the welfare of racing greyhounds this recommendation will stay under review as we continue to be guided by the latest scientific evidence.”

Discussing the implementation of the Rule amendments, Paul Illingworth, GBGB Senior Stipendiary Steward, said:

“We are fully aware that there is quite a lot to take in here, which is why we are reaching out to racing offices, in particular, to help make sure everyone understands the changes. Likewise, if any trainer has any questions they are advised to contact their Stipendiary Steward who will be more than happy to help.”