In October 2018, the Greyhound Racing Ireland commenced a consultation process on suggested amendments to the existing process where novice (unraced) greyhounds compete at licensed stadia. Submissions received, in the main, were supportive of a structure that would facilitate novice greyhounds racing with each other for as long as possible before being graded with experienced raced greyhounds in the main racing pool.
The matter of novice greyhound racing was additionally discussed at a meeting of the National Greyhound Consultative Forum in September 2018.
Having considered the feedback and submissions received, Greyhound Racing Ireland wishes to advise that the National Grading System will be amended to reflect the aforementioned feedback and submissions received. A structure for racing all Novice greyhounds together, through the means of an Open Novice Sweepstake will be established at licensed Stadia. These sweepstakes will additionally feature an additional Sweepstake/Race for greyhounds eliminated in the first round of the Open Novice Sweepstake so, at the very least, all novice greyhounds will be raced with other similar greyhounds for an additional race.
The following stipulations will apply to the revised method of Novice Racing:
- There is no change on the qualification requirements (two trials) of a novice greyhound prior to racing.
- Novice greyhounds will be required to compete in an Open Novice Sweepstake prior to being accepted for racing with raced greyhounds except where such novice greyhounds are entered for Open Class Events.
- Having completed their first race in an Open Novice Sweepstake, eliminated greyhounds will be graded together for their next race.
- The current practice of racing novice greyhounds with graded raced greyhounds will be discontinued.
- Graded Novice Sweepstakes/Races (N1/N2/N3) will be discontinued.
Greyhound Racing Ireland will further promote the racing of inexperienced greyhounds, subsequent to their participation in the aforementioned Open Novice Sweepstakes, through the creation of Maiden Stakes or Maiden Races, where entry would be facilitated under the current grading rules for raced greyhounds but limited to greyhounds who have not raced more than 2 or 3 races.
Novice Races or Sweepstakes built or commenced prior to this date will be completed under the current grading provisions for racing novice greyhounds.