Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt today said that he is thrilled with the news that race meetings to be held by the Cairns Greyhound Racing Club at Cannon Park will not only continue but will increase.

Mr Pitt said it was confirmed yesterday that the Cairns club’s appeal before the Racing Appeals Tribunal will see the number of race meetings on the 2009-10 calendar increase from 24 to 33.

“This is great news for Cairns and a big win for the sport. Greyhound racing is a terrific experience for the many families that are involved, either as spectators or as trainers,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Cairns Greyhound Club now has a degree of certainty.  Now that the dates are set, the sport can be promoted and owners and trainers can prepare.”

Cairns Greyhound Club President Emma O’Connor thanked Mr Pitt for his support and said she was pleased that the control body for greyhound racing in Queensland has listened.

“During negotiations Greyhounds Queensland offered 29 but we stuck to our figure of 40, the number of meetings that the club used to hold each year,” Ms O’Connor said.

“After some discussion both parties finally settled on 33, which means there are 30 meetings remaining on the calendar this year.

“Even though it did not go to the full appeal in the end, the Club would have appealed all the way through the court system.”

Mr Pitt is a strong supporter of the club and is proud to be sponsoring one of the race meetings later this year.

“This decision might call for one of the races on the night to be named to mark the occasion. We’re thinking of calling it ‘The Little Guy Sometimes Wins High Stakes’,” Mr Pitt said.

“I hope that this reconsideration by the GRA of greyhound racing activities in Cairns means that the body might take a more positive approach and work with smaller clubs in order to improve their performance.

“Small clubs like Cairns play an important role in the industry and they should be allowed to continue for the enjoyment and benefit of those in the local area. Larger clubs need them to ensure the longer term viability of greyhound racing across the state.”

The next race meeting is at Cannon Park on Saturday 15 August, with the first race at 6.30pm.