The new Gippsland Carnival will come as much-needed lift for a community that has suffered after the announcement of the Hazelwood Power Station closure.
Each year Greyhound Racing provides $40 million dollars into the Gippsland Region alone.
“I think for a community that is feeling the brunt of a couple big power stations and an unstable economy – a chance to have a night out that won’t break the budget is a positive for the community,” Hazelwood greyhound trainer Gavin Burke (pictured) explained.
“It is a time to celebrate and enjoy greyhound racing. Greyhound Racing Victoria are putting over $800,000 in prize money into the racing side of the carnival – that kind of money is life changing and even if you take a small piece of the pie I’m sure it will go a long way to making the new year even better.”
Gavin Burke, who trains star sprinter Pantera Nera is taking advantage of the new incentive for both stayers and sprinters to compete throughout all four legs of the carnival. Each of the cup meetings incorporate heats and finals of both a sprint and a distance series. With the best performing greyhounds earning points towards bonus prize money of $20,000 in the sprint and $15,000 in the distance.
“I think it is important the stayers don’t get left behind because there is a lot of prize money up for grabs. It is great to encourage both stayers and sprinters to race on the same program, it puts a bit of interest around where people are going to place their dogs – you definitely have to be more strategic if you are any hope of the bonus prize money,” Gavin continued.
Pantera Nera is last year’s Traralgon Cup winner, and will be competing in the sprint side of the carnival in hope of winning back-to-back Traralgon Cups and becoming the Gippsland Sprint Champion.
The Gippsland region houses a strong community of greyhound trainers who are out to support each other and are hoping to hold the home track advantage over greyhound trainers across the state.
“There is a good support network throughout Gippsland, we do what we can to help each other.”
“We definitely want to try and keep the prize money from the Gippsland Carnival with us.”
Pantera Nera is a winner of 22 races from 44 starts, which includes multiple group victories accumulating more than $180,000 in prize money. He has drawn box seven in the third heat of the Gippsland Carnival Sprint, with the Watchdog tipping Pantera Nera to come away with a victory thanks to his early speed.
“I love absolutely everything about Pantera Nera, but I think that his tenacity and attitude make him the dog he is,” Gavin said.
GIPPSLAND CHAMPION SPRINT AND STAYERS POINT SYSTEM EXPLAINED