The NT Racing Commission has launched an investigation into the Darwin Greyhound Association following a series of allegations made by current and former members and trainers.
- The Darwin Greyhound Association runs weekly race meetings
- Current and former members and trainers have made allegations against the association
- An independent legal firm has been appointed by the NT Racing Commission to investigate
The association, which receives hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from the NT Government, operates the NT’s only registered greyhound track at Winnellie, where weekly races are broadcast live on Sky Racing.
Racing Commission chairman Alastair Shields said an independent legal firm had been tasked with probing a broad range of allegations levelled against the association.
The allegations involved internal governance issues, tenancy matters relating to on-site trainers and building regulation issues associated with kennels being located inside decades-old sheds at Winnellie, Mr Shields said.
He said there was also an allegation incorrect declarations had been made about the identity of a greyhound owner.
“One of the allegations is that the person who’s been recorded as the owner of a greyhound wasn’t actually the owner of that particular greyhound,” Mr Shields said.
“And so I suppose that might lead to community expectations that prize money that’s been paid to an owner as recorded in the book actually sees the money being paid to somebody else who may have some particular reason for not having their name in the book.”
Mr Shields said there were also allegations some trainers or owners may have missed out on winning prize money because of the way race nominations were conducted.
The association’s president, Robbie Brennan, said he welcomed the investigation because the allegations were baseless.
“We’re open and transparent, we’ve got nothing to hide,” Mr Brennan said.
Greyhound owner and trainer Richard Smith, who was recently ordered by the association to vacate his trackside kennels and private accommodation, said he was concerned about the welfare of greyhounds kept in some of the structures at the racetrack.
“This particular [structure] where I train from doesn’t have any drainage, so there are concerns about the excrement and what happens with the urine and all that sort of stuff,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Brennan said it was up to individual trainers to manage the conditions of the kennels.
Mr Smith also said some trainers and members had been excluded from the association’s decision-making processes.
“They’ve changed some of the rules, which makes it difficult for the rest of us who train to have any sort of say in what goes on down here,” he said.
Another trainer, Graeme Ferns, who oversees dogs off track, said he was glad an investigation had been launched because he had concerns about the nomination process used to decide which dogs could run in races.
“If I’m totally wrong and the investigation shows it up, then I’m happy to live by the judge’s decision,” Mr Ferns said.
“[But] if there is something wrong it should be changed.”
Mr Shields said the investigation, which was being overseen in conjunction with the NT Consumer Affairs Commission, would take several weeks to complete.
“As the investigation proceeds, things might be ruled out at an early stage, or it might lead to further questions being raised,” Mr Shields said.