As GBGB licensed racecourses gear up for Monday’s return to behind closed doors racing, a handful of updates have been added to the GBGB COVID-19 Operational Policy.

These updates – which follow a successful fortnight of trials across most tracks – directly follow feedback from key stakeholders within the sport on implementation during Phase One. The latest version of the Operational Policy, as of 29th May, seeks to address questions that have arisen so far and clarify and strengthen procedures where necessary.

The most important of the updates now requires licensed personnel to use a face-covering and hand sanitiser at the pick-up. This is to ensure that – even in emergency situations where someone may have cause to handle a greyhound that is not their own – they are taking every reasonable hygiene precaution.

Reasonable adjustments have been added to the specified race timings, to allow for a delay of up to 3 minutes to a race before impacting on the off time of the following race. This is to minimise the impact of cumulative delays throughout the day and the subsequent length of time spent in kennels for greyhounds.

On the issue of qualification, the Policy now also makes clear that a greyhound is eligible to run in a race over any of the distances it ran in a trial – not just its second trial. For example, where a greyhound has completed a sprint and then a four-bend trial, it is still allowed to run in a sprint race going forward.

Commenting on the revised version of the Policy, GBGB Senior Stipendiary Steward Paul Illingworth said:

“Centrally at GBGB and through our field force of stipes, we have been listening and responding to feedback from racecourse staff, trainers, vets and kennel staff in particular as the trials process has taken shape.

“It has been fantastic to see that – on the whole – the Policy is fit for purpose and enables racecourses to remain ‘COVID-secure’ and safe for all those in attendance. But likewise, we wanted to use this opportunity before Phase Two begins to make clarifications and updates that will improve the running of our sport going forward.

“We continue to be immensely grateful for the support of all involved at our tracks – as well as those owners and fans who are keeping their distance until it is safe for them to return as well.

“Whilst much of the Policy remains the same, we would urge those licensed personnel that will be attending a racecourse to familiarise themselves with these updates ahead of next week.”

The GBGB COVID-19 Operational Policy as of 29th May can be found here.