Hastings River Greyhound Club's Rex Nairn awaiting confirmation from Greyhound Racing NSW on track's TAB status

Waiting: Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club president Rex Nairn is still awaiting confirmation the Wauchope track will be upgraded to TAB status. Photo: Peter Daniels
Waiting: Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club president Rex Nairn is still awaiting confirmation the Wauchope track will be upgraded to TAB status. Photo: Peter Daniels

REX Nairn hopes a new financial year will bring confirmation of some long-awaited good news.

While almost everyone in the greyhound industry is expecting the Hastings track to be upgraded to TAB status, Mr Nairn said they still had not received an official green light.

That was despite Mr Nairn's claims they received word-of-mouth confirmation from Greyhound Racing NSW chief executive Tony Mestrov back in January.

But they had to wait a bit longer as Taree hosted their first TAB meeting a fortnight ago.

"If you haven't got it in writing, you haven't got much and we don't have it in writing yet," he said.

"There's been no official announcement yet that we're going to be a TAB track and yet everybody is coming here doing things.

"The fellas came from Sky Channel the other day and put their posts in for the head-on cameras."

Despite playing the waiting game, Mr Nairn was confident the track would be able to host its first official TAB meeting in September.

"It could be early, it could be mid or it could be late September," he said.

"We could be in the position that we've got everything ready and all we're waiting on is two boxes so when Grafton finishes, they flash the boxes down here and we're away."

"We got $30,000 from Tweed Heads to run what they called the Wauchope-Tweed Heads Challenge so we had a $20,000 race and they're going to give us another $20,000 on top of the TAB meetings," he said.

"Most of the TAB races are worth $900 for the winner of a maiden and the ordinary races are between $1500 and $1700, depending on the grade."

Taree Greyhound Club president Des McGeachie felt the size of his club was the main reason why GRNSW chose their track for TAB status first.

Its closeness to Newcastle was also an important factor.

"The reason we got it first is we have a good name with trainers from the Hunter a bit more than Wauchope and we are a lot more central than them," he said.

Any time now: Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club president Rex Nairn is still awaiting final confirmation the Wauchope track will be upgraded to TAB status.

Any time now: Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club president Rex Nairn is still awaiting final confirmation the Wauchope track will be upgraded to TAB status.

Races are set to be moved from Taree to Wauchope in October when the Manning track is upgraded.

Mr McGeachie said it was an "eye-opener" when they held their first TAB meeting earlier this month.

"You're under so much more scrutiny when it's a TAB meeting; you can't be late for a race, you can't be early and injuries can't be tolerated so your staff have to be on the job," he said.

"With non-TAB you can be casual and late for a race, but when you're being beamed all over the country, you've got to stay focused and stay on track."

He offered some advice to his Hastings counterpart to ensure their first meeting will run as smoothly as possible, whenever they receive confirmation.

"We hired a few staff from The Gardens down in Newcastle that run TAB meetings week in, week out because they're the ones that look after the dogs," he said.

"They're an important part of keeping things up and running and in check and it was a godsend they said yes.

"I couldn't imaging trying to run a TAB meeting with our old staff; you've got to have twice as many staff as a non-TAB meeting."

What else is happening in news?

Thank you for valuing local journalism with your subscription. While you're with us, you can also receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.