On a day when only the smiles outshone the warm sun, the TAB Great Chase Grand Final at The Meadows was, in the words of GRV Chair Peita Duncan, “The best event we do all year.”
More than 500 people from 50 community groups made trips from all parts of Victoria and filled the venue, and an extra marquee, and lapped up the incredible variety of music, dancing, balloons, magic, face painting and food; but the real excitement was saved for the dogs.
For the past two months, each Victorian Greyhound club has hosted their own Great Chase where more than $15000 has been won by local community care groups, all of whom were invited to this Grand Final event; and by the looks of it, most of them took up the opportunity.
Eight groups were drawn for the main event, each allocated a dog and with it the chance to take home the $10,000 first prize.
This year, with help from their allocated dog Simon Told Helen, it was Rangeview Private Nursing Home, which provides aged and disability care in Wangaratta.
Donna Logan, who organised the team of eight, said they’ve attended all 17 finals, and this is their second win. “We love everything about the day. Not just for us but for everyone.”
How will the winnings be spent? “We have a committee the residents are involved with, so they will decide. It will all go towards the residents. We did think about a big night on the town or heading to the airport and running away for a while!”
It’s certainly an inclusive crowd that love the event; another passionate team, albeit a slightly younger age group, was the Kalianna School from Bendigo. The specialist school caters for children aged from five to eighteen. The group at the final consisted of 10 to 12-year-olds.
Josh, who arranged the team of 13 students in attendance, said Kalianna had been involved with the Great Chase for about ten years.
“The kids love the event, especially the balloons and face painting. It’s a great day out.”
They were also fairly keen on the presence of GRV ambassador Brent ‘Boomer’ Harvey, who handled a barrage of football questions and probably inspired a few champions of the future.
Although they went home without the cash, if the proliferation of balloon swords and painted faces was any indication the bus ride back to Bendigo would be a load of fun.
Second place, matched to Who Told Stevie, was The Bridge Connects group from Cranbourne, which provides services, information and resources to people with disability and their families. Also in the money was the winner of this year’s Warrnambool leg of the Great Chase, WDEA Socialisers.
TAB Great Chase Grand Final Donations
1st Simon Told Helen – Rangeview Private Nursing Home (Wangaratta) – $10,000
2nd Who Told Stevie – The Bridge Connects (Cranbourne) – $2,000
3rd I’m Easy Boys – WEDA Socialisers (Warrnambool) – $2,000
4th Curnow Keats – SCOPE (DeGille) – $2,000
5th Driftin’ Away – Carinya Society (Coburg) – $2,000
6th Allusion – SCOPE (Station Street) – $2,000
7th Aston Topaz – Frontier Academy (Reservoir) – $2,000
8th Security Code – Mana Gumms Nursery (Ararat) – $2,000
Molly Haines chats to David Burnett, trainer of the 2019 TAB Great Chase winner Simon Told Helen. Simon Told Helen also provided newcomer to the sport Martina Kirillidis her first Group race handle. What a spectacular day!