Regional NSW will be the strong focus in the TAB Million Dollar Chase after Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson, today jointly announced with Greyhound Racing NSW Chief Executive Officer Tony Mestrov details of the 2019 edition of the world’s richest greyhound event.
The Grand Final of the event – which this year has a new naming rights’ sponsor with Tabcorp on board – will be held at Wentworth Park on Friday October 18, and see the winner collect $1 million in prizemoney.
The biggest change to the event from its inaugural running in 2018, is the emphasis on the regional events.
A total of 14 regional centres will host heats and finals, and this year those events will supply 56 of the 64 semi-finalists. The other eight semi-final places will be decided from eight ‘last chance’ city qualifiers at Wentworth Park on October 5.
Total prizemoney across all heats, finals and supporting races throughout the series will be in excess of $2 million.
The NSW Minister responsible for racing, Kevin Anderson, said this is the direction of the new look greyhound racing industry which is earning public confidence.
“This is what the reforms were all about, improving the transparency and accountability of the greyhound industry in NSW so that it not only leads the nation, but sets a benchmark for the world,” Mr Anderson said.
“With the changes and additions which GRNSW have put in place for the series in 2019, the benefits to regional NSW – and particularly to the industry in those centres – will be even more significant.”
Mr Mestrov said one the learnings from the inaugural series was that there should be a greater focus on the grass roots of the sport, throughout regional NSW.
“I would firstly like to thank the Minister and his Government for their continued support of this unique series for NSW,” Mr Mestrov said.
“I particularly like to thank and welcome on board our new naming rights’ sponsor Tabcorp, and we have already begun working closely with them to maximise the benefits of this event, particularly in regional NSW.
“The increased focus on regional centres in 2019, and less city qualifiers, will see those regions attract interstate owners and trainers, and intrastate visitors, across all parts of NSW with the goal to generate economic benefit to many regions of NSW.
“Due to the uniqueness and magnitude of the event, significant Australian and worldwide interest was created last year, and GRNSW aims to build on that momentum in 2019.”
Once again, as the case was in its maiden year, there will be a key focus on welfare, with the event to promote GRNSW’s commitment to animal welfare and its re-homing initiatives.
“We want to again use the interest in the Million Dollar Chase to help support and raise funds for the Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) program which ensures dogs are well-looked after when they finish their racing careers,” Mr Mestrov said. “This is a key to our future.
“In 2018-2019, GAP NSW helped to re-home more than 700 greyhounds, which was a significant increase on the number re-homed the previous year, and a figure we plan to improve on in 2019-20.
“Again in 2019, 100% of all entry fees paid by owners and trainers into the Million Dollar Chase will go directly into the GAP NSW program.
“This event is an opportunity for us as an industry to deliver important messaging to participants and the public about the new culture of greyhound racing in NSW, one that encourages racing, while also embedding world-leading greyhound welfare initiatives as standard.”
The TAB Million Dollar Chase will begin on August 31 at Gunnedah, one of five new regional venues to join the event in 2019.
The Dapto, Goulburn, Gosford and Casino clubs will also host regional heats and finals this year, while Bathurst, Dubbo, Lismore, Nowra, Wagga, Maitland, The Gardens, Richmond, and Bulli return after hosting successful events in 2018.
In addition to the racing action, at five regional events – Gunnedah (August 31), Bathurst (September 7), Bulli (September 14), Dubbo (September 21), and Wagga (September 28) – GRNSW will also invest in additional promotion with festival-style entertainment, featuring the likes of entertainers such as Travis Collins and five-time ARIA Nominee Adam Harvey, who has sold over 500,000 records and won eight golden guitars at the Country Music Awards of Australia.
The first four placegetters in each of the regional finals, along with eight city qualifiers winners, will advance to the semi-finals at Wentworth Park on October 11, where the winners of those eight semi-finals will then race for $1 million the following Friday.
The Million Dollar Chase Grand Final night on October 18 will kick off a major weekend of racing in Sydney, with the world richest turf event the TAB Everest to be run at Randwick the following day.
The TAB Million Dollar Chase is being supported in part by the recently released, new TAB product, Odds And Evens.
Tabcorp’s Managing Director of Wagering and Media, Mr Adam Rytenskild said: “TAB is delighted to back the TAB Million Dollar Chase.
“Our business is closely linked to regional communities and the regional focus of the series with heats and finals hosted outside of Sydney is a great fit for us.
“TAB and Sky Racing have always been strong supporters of Greyhound Racing NSW and we’re thrilled to work closely with the industry on innovations.
“The race being held on the eve of the TAB Everest will make for an extremely exciting weekend of racing and wagering in NSW.”
While the regions are a strong focus, the city won’t miss out, with three consecutive nights of exciting, ‘no second chance’ racing at Wentworth Park in October.
Eight city qualifiers with the winners only advancing on October 5, followed by eight semi-finals on October 11, with again winners only progressing, and then the venue will host the biggest night of greyhound racing in the world, with the TAB Million Dollar Chase Grand Final, the time-honoured Group 1 Sydney Cup Final, the Masters Meteor, the Young Star, the Regional Reward and the MDC Consolation.