Despacito started brilliantly and stormed home to claim the $47,000 winner’s cheque in the TAB Great Chase Grand Final at The Meadows today.
The Premier Daniel Andrews and Racing Minister Martin Pakula were in the winners’ circle to deliver the TAB Great Chase Cup to the Pearcedale based trainer Seona Thompson.
Despacito (Black Magic Opal – El Brooklyn) wasn’t the only winner on the day – Autism Plus from Melton took home a $10,000 cheque to bolster programs and activities for clients. The group was one of 45 disability and aged care organisations invited to The Meadows to enjoy an afternoon of racing, hospitality, and the chance to share in $24,000 cash prizes.
Disability support worker Carmel Grogan, said the prize made a huge difference to the organisation.
“It’s better than Christmas. It means we’ll be able to provide so many more programs, go out on more outings. It will be so beneficial for our guys,” Ms Grogan said.
“Thank you so much, we’ve enjoyed the day, even if we hadn’t won anything it still would have been great. It’s so nice to feel so welcomed, to be embraced like we have.”
Mr Andrews personally thanked GRV CEO Alan Clayton and the Board for the work they have done with participants on a journey of reform over the past two years. He announced a $43,000 grant for shade sails at The Meadows, which will be matched by GRV.
“Our government supports greyhound racing,” Mr Andrews said. “Our position will not change.”
He said the sport was about enjoyment, jobs and prosperity and the community was “very much focused on animal welfare.”
Mr Pakula said it was wonderful the way the TAB Great Chase combined with the disability community raise funds.
“Our community benefits greatly,” he said.
The Grand Final wraps up this unique combination of racing and community events which began in August. The series was spread across 13 Victorian racing clubs.
This year 1440 guests from 135 organisations have attended the series to enjoy a great day at the races, entertainment, meals and giveaways and to share in cash prizes. Since 2003, GRV has donated more than $500,000 to participating organisations through the series, which is organised in partnership with Tabcorp.
Mr Alan Clayton congratulated Ms Thompson and Autism Plus.
“The TAB Great Chase is a quality racing series and it is also an opportunity for GRV and local clubs to connect with our communities and help those who might need a helping hand,” Mr Clayton said.
“Many of the groups have been coming back for 14 years. They tell us how much they love it and the racing clubs get behind it year after year. We’re very happy and proud to be part of it.”
TAB Chief Tabcorp Operating Officer, Wagering and Media Adam Rytenskild said: “Tabcorp has been a proud supporter of the TAB Great Chase for the last decade. It’s a fantastic initiative and we’re pleased to partner with Greyhound Racing Victoria to help contribute funds to community groups and to bring communities together to share in the joy of greyhound racing.”
Despacito, who was also bred by Seona Thompson, made it four wins from six starts when scoring by a length over Hasten Slowly and Nike Viper in 30.06sec.
The winner is owned by the Unique Syndicate, which comprises Thompson and Julie Stockdale.