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Gippsland Carnival: Sir Ian Botham on hand to launch Australia’s biggest regional racing series

The TRFM Gippsland Carnival is on once again, with one of the most recognisable sportsmen in the world set to launch it at Warragul this Thursday.

Former England cricket captain Ian Botham will be in attendance for the launch of the third iteration of greyhound racing’s biggest country carnival. He will be joined by AFL games record holder and Victorian greyhound racing ambassador Brent Harvey as well as greyhound racing caller and tipster James Van de Maat.

And all the action kicks off with the $75,000 GOLD FM Sale Cup on Boxing Day.

The Gippsland Carnival is Australia’s biggest regional racing series and consists of four country cups in Sale, Warragul, Traralgon and Cranbourne:

GOLD FM Sale Cup (650m) – 26 December (Boxing Day)
Sale Greyhound Club

Toyota Warragul Cup (460m) – 12 January
Logan Park

Spolly’s Syndications Traralgon Cup (525m) – 26 January (Australia Day)
Glenview Park

Spolly’s Syndications Cranbourne Cup (520m) – 9 February
Cranbourne Racing Centre

The series spans seven weeks and aims to increase competition and interest in the sport of greyhound racing in the Gippsland area.

Greyhound Racing Victoria CEO Alan Clayton said the Gippsland Carnival had quickly become a staple of Australian greyhound racing.

“Gippsland has long been a traditionally strong greyhound racing area and this carnival has seen the sport go to a new level in Victoria’s east,” Mr Clayton said.

“In just three short years the Gippsland Carnival has grown to be a prominent event on the Gippsland sporting calendar and we are thrilled to have it back once again.

Last year’s winner, Monster Fish, took home $14,000 in prizemoney by earning 66 points in six races throughout the Gippsland Carnival; this included two first place and three second place finishes.

The first leg of the carnival on Boxing Day incorporates the 2018 Sale Cup (650m) and the Gippsland Carnival Launch (440m); and the $75,000 to-the-winner cup will bring out an excellent field for the distance race.

This could include one of the best racing greyhounds in the country with superstar stayer Rippin’ Sam on target to return from injury in time for the Gippsland Carnival’s headline event.

Rippin’ Sam hasn’t raced since September, but the Group 1 winner returned to training in late November and trainer Robert Britton is optimistic he will make a timely comeback for the Sale Cup.

The Sale Cup promises to be a big event with local politicians, leaders and sports stars expected to attend on Boxing Day.

Star Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn will be cheering on the dogs trackside at the Trackside Party Paddock.

He will also be spinning the wheel for one lucky person to win $10,000 or a car.

The following Cups in Warragul, Traralgon and Cranbourne also have lucrative $47,000 purses, and former Collingwood champion and 2011 Brownlow medallist, Dane Swan, will be at the three sprint events.

All four of the Gippsland Carnival Cups have free admission and family entertainment.

WHO: Cricket legend Ian Botham and AFL games record holder Brent Harvey.

WHERE: Warragul Greyhound Racing Club – Logan Park.

WHEN: 6.30pm, Thursday, December 6.

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