‘Unbridled enthusiasm’ is the enduring memory from last year’s TAB Great Chase community day at Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club. More than 200 people from 14 community groups packed the Ballarat Function Centre, surrounded by balloons, face-painting, and food.
For many of the groups present it was a welcome return; some have been attending the Great Chase days since they started in 2003, and more than one carer said it’s one of the resident’s favourite day out.
Debbie, a carer from 2018’s winner and 2019’s second-placegetter Eureka Village Hostel, looks forward to the Great chase in Ballarat every year.
“It’s 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 in 2018 and $300 in 2019 – for a new pool table for the residents.
Karen, from last year’s major winners McCallum Social/Leisure, echoed the enthusiasm for the program.
“We’ve been here since day one and we’ll be back again,” she said.
The recipient of $1000 in 2019 after being randomly matched to greyhounds who raced successfully on the day, spending of the funds was placed with the residents at McCallum.
“We’ll let them decide how we use it. I’m positive they have some great ideas,” Karen added.
The word about the fun of the Great Chase has clearly travelled as numerous McCallum units represented almost half of the crowd in attendance on the day.
Even a cold Ballarat Monday wasn’t enough to dampen their spirits, as they lined the fence for each race and cheered their allocated greyhounds 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.
Although The Great Chase 2020 community days are not going ahead due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, rest assured that all of us at GRV are already busy planning it’s return in 2021 and we can’t wait to see everyone back at the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club.
The TAB Great Chase is Victorian greyhound racing’s number one community event, distributing almost $650,000 to the disability sector since 2003.