Welcome to our Question and Answer column which runs each week on thedogs.com.au and GRNSW websites.

We are almost eight weeks into dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and I want to commend all participants, race club staff, GWIC and GRNSW staff for their work during these difficult times in keeping everyone safe and the industry still racing.

As I have repeatedly said, while we do not know when the current situation will end, with each day we are one day closer to coming out the other side.

I also want to reiterate that our first and foremost concern is for the health and safety of our participants and staff.

I hope that this Q & A column has been beneficial to all participants, not just those who have emailed questions.

These Q & As began because I believe it was crucial to keep all participants up to date on all news involving the industry, and I encourage everyone to keep sending in their questions pertaining to the COVID-19 situation.

If you have any questions, please email them to the following address: update@grnsw.com.au

As the case has been with any important announcements or developments, we will publish those across our GRNSW network as required.

Here’s the latest round of questions sent in to GRNSW.

1. Q: We seriously need to change the way dogs are boxed. The one and the five are in the boxes on average for over 90 seconds. It is a massive disadvantage. The curve has flattened and there is no reason that dogs can’t be better boxed even if it’s 3, 3 then 2. You said there will be penalties for people taking time and playing games when boxing but there have been none!!!

A: The curve has flattened yes but it has been due to things like social distancing, and while some restrictions have been relaxed in NSW, the Premier was still very clear that even when visiting now, we must continue to social distance. The boxing protocol was put in place from a social distancing perspective, and all other jurisdictions are continuing with it. We will also do so for the time being. GRNSW and GWIC will continue to work with clubs to ensure starters perform this role as efficiently as possible.

2. Q: Tony, you have spoken about Wentworth Park returning and I heard you on the radio the other day talking about an announcement soon. When it does return, will it be only for people in the metropolitan region, in line with only being able to race in your designated region?

A: This is one of the factors we are looking at closely at the moment. We have sought advice to determine whether it will be feasible and acceptable for people to travel to Wentworth Park under the strict biosecurity measures. As I have said, we will continue to work on a solution and let everyone know when we come to a decision.

3. Q: Hi Tony, just looking at nominations at The Gardens it looks like the Ladbrokes Series is very popular with the trainers especially the maidens, will this be a continuous thing each months even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over?

A: The Ladbrokes Maiden and Super Series have proven extremely popular at both Dubbo last week and as you said at Ladbrokes Garden this week. We are very grateful for Ladbrokes coming on board to sponsor this series. Like everything which is happening during this period, be it from kennelling procedures to biosecurity and safety measures, to racing programs, all will be looked at closely and if there are things which have been done and should remain for the betterment of the industry, then we will consider implementing those things.

4. Q: Will Gosford now permanently replace Maitland in the Hunter zone?

A: Gosford has been temporarily added to the Hunter region while maintenance is being conducted at the Maitland racetrack. When racing is able to conducted at Maitland again, racing will resume there.

Congratulations to those who have had success over the past few days, and I wish everyone racing at Grafton, Gunnedah and Richmond today, the very best of luck.

I have noticed that I’m not receiving as many questions as I have previously had, which I think is a good thing as we all have settled into racing during the COVID-19 restrictions that have been put in place. I will now publish the Q & A column once a week, but of course if there are any announcement to be made, these will be done on all our media and social platforms.

I have regularly mentioned in this column these are tough times and we are as an industry all in it together, so I urge you to pick up the phone and call a fellow participant to make sure they are doing ok as well.

Do not forget if there is anyone who may be struggling at the moment and wanting somebody to talk to, you can do something about that. If you do feel the need to talk to someone about your situation, please do not hesitate to call. You can speak with a qualified counsellor at any time by calling 1300 687 327.

Keep yourselves and your families safe, and importantly be vigilant in these difficult times.

Tony Mestrov.