There was a sense of dejavu surrounding today’s 2014 TAB Great Chase Grand Final at The Meadows.
Like last year, the winning greyhound was black in colour and it came from Box 8, and again it was Devon Meadows trainer Glenn Rounds who was victorious.
The TAB Great Chase is as much about the greyhounds as it is about the community groups they race for, and this year’s biggest winners were Frankston organisation Connecting Skills Australia, who were paired with All Strung Out at the beginning of the series three weeks ago.
As if being paired with Grand Finalist wasn’t enough excitement for the organisations cheering on their greyhound in the main event, a man named Craig Wilson, who has long been connected with greyhound racing, created another tremendous highlight on the day.
Craig, the son of former GRV Chairman, the late Jan Wilson, had a touch of Santa Claus about him when he announced that all 10 groups matched to the TAB Great Chase grand finalists would receive an extra $2,000 each courtesy of his parents’ estate.
Craig Wilson (right) presents the President of Riding Develops Ability in Warragul with a $2,000 cheque and a framed certificate. Pics Clint Anderson.
The day, however, belonged mostly to Connecting Skills Australia, a not-for-profit charitable organisation focused on the integration of adults with a disability into the workforce and the community.
On top of the $7,000 for their Grand Final win and $1,000 for winning a heat at Cranbourne earlier in the series, the group will also receive the equivalent of 10 per cent of All Strung Out’s prize money for the next 12 months.
“It’s a real honour to be a part of the TAB Great Chase every year,” said Jeff Don, of Connecting Skills Australia.
“This is the first time we’ve had a greyhound in the Grand Final and it was so exciting. We were all positioned just before the finish line and when our beautiful dog hit the lead I don’t think there was a bum on a seat. We were jumping and screaming and when he crossed the line in front we couldn’t believe our luck.”
“The $7,000 will go a long way. It will allow us to support our individual clients and assist with all the transitional work we do in getting our clients into the community.”
The 2014 TAB Great Chase was run across all of Victoria’s 12 operational greyhound tracks in recent weeks, where thousands of clients and carers from 150 groups that care for the intellectually and physically disabled have received free VIP treatment at the races.
All groups were randomly matched to greyhounds competing in the series, who raced to win them in excess of $50,000 in prize money.
The TAB Great Chase has distributed more than $370,000 into Victoria’s disability sector since it began in 2003.