The sheer joy of Greyhound racing is never more proudly displayed than at the TAB Great Chase, held by GRV every year.
Since September, clubs have hosted more than 1500 of the most excited people ever to grace a track and distributed $15,000 of keenly sought funds to community care groups from all corners of the state.
Since 2003 GRV has donated more than $600,000 to community organisations who care for intellectually or physically disabled people, with co-sponsor TAB who has been involved since 2008.
This year, the seventeenth Great Chase will again culminate at The Meadows today, when more than 500 people from 50 community groups will gather for what many consider their ‘social event of the year’.
Over the past two months each Victorian greyhound racing club has held a Great Chase Community Day in which they invite local community organisations, who care for the intellectually or physically disabled people, to a day at the races.
These groups have been allocated runners in up to four races and won money that have helped them with everything from funding Christmas parties to buying equipment.
Every group that attends a TAB Great Chase community day is also invited to the Final, where eight organisations are randomly drawn a runner in the Grand Final race and a chance to share in an extra $24,000 prize money, including $10,000 to the group with the winning greyhound.
There’s also free lunch, roving entertainment, bands, balloons and the ever popular showbags for every guest.
“The Great Chase is about promoting inclusion and supporting local communities,” GRV Chair Peita Duncan said.
“We aim to provide an enjoyable, social day out for community care staff, their clients and families.”
“The race itself attracts a great number of promising young greyhounds, who can make the final through the heats, to vie for the ultimate $47,000 winner’s purse.
“As the heats start in regional clubs, it can be a good opportunity for less experienced dogs to make it through to a metro final.”
GRV CEO Alan Clayton said greyhound racing clubs had a long tradition of supporting community organisations, including sporting clubs, charities and emergency services, and the Great Chase was GRV’s biggest community event.
“This year looks to be our biggest yet; 1500 people, representing 150 organisations, have attended at all Victorian clubs, and each club does a tremendous job to ensure that their guests have a great day out,” Mr Clayton said.