Monday 9th September 2019
1st – McCallum Social/Leisure – $1000
Tie for 2nd – Eureka Village and Riding for the Disabled Ballarat – $300 each
3rd – Villa Maria – $300
Last – Pinnacle View Point – $100
‘Unbridled enthusiasm’ is the enduring memory from Monday’s TAB Great Chase meeting at Ballarat GRC. More than 200 people from 14 community groups packed the Ballarat Function Centre, surrounded by balloons, face-painting and food, and really let it all hang out.
For many of the groups present it was a welcome return; some have been attending the Great Chase day since its inception in 2003, and more than one carer said it’s one of the residents’ favourite day out.
Debbie, a carer from last year’s winner and this year’s second-placegetter Eureka Village Hostel, has been looking forward to this Great Chase since the last one. “This has been a brilliant event every year. The residents are so keen we also bring them to a few meetings over summer so they can have dinner and watch the dogs run; they just love the dogs. One of our residents used to own a dog so he keeps everyone up to date and provides tips.”
Eureka Village has been accumulating their winnings – $500 last year and $300 this year – for a new pool table for the residents.
Karen, from this year’s winners McCallum Social/Leisure, echoed the enthusiasm for the program. “We’ve been here since day one and we’ll be back every year.” As the winner of $1000 at this event, the funds will be in the hands of the residents. “We’ll let them decide how we use it. I’m positive they have some great ideas.”
The word has clearly travelled; various McCallum units represented almost half of the crowd.
Even a cold Ballarat Monday wasn’t enough to dampen their spirits, as they lined the fence for each race and cheered their allocated dogs home. Inside, Nev the GAP dog (with owner Angelina) provided plenty of friendly first-hand contact for the guests and lapped up the attention.
Ballarat’s Riding for the Disabled Association tied for second, with Villa Maria in third and Pinnacle View Point in last place, but very happy with their $100 consolation prize.
Many of the groups have already indicated they’ll be putting their hands up to attend the Great Chase Final at The Meadows on 23 October, where without doubt they’ll be barracking loud and proud again.
Compiled by Phil Weir and Ben Pritchard.