By Ben Pritchard
The TAB Great Chase would normally be rolling out in Warrnambool and other greyhound racetracks around the state at this time of year, however because of the COVID-19 pandemic all Great Chase community days have been postponed until 2021.
This means the regular fanatics from Warrnambool’s community groups will not be on course for the patented Rotary BBQ and race night that is a staple on the local events calendar.
Rewind the clock to Warrnambool’s 2019 event and around 250 people from 15 south-west community groups that care for the intellectually and physically disabled met with their eyes on the prize.
Groups were randomly partnered with greyhounds competing on the day, with the better performing dogs amassing prize money for the organisations.
The loudest and most enthused group was also one of the largest in the Great Chase series; the 65-strong team from WDEA ‘Socialisers’ repeated their 2018 success in taking home first place and a winner’s cheque for $1000.
Jodie, the coordinator for this well represented group, said their big team wasn’t even at full strength.
“The Socialisers is a group of 90 to 100 people when we’re all together. We’re a social group for people of all different abilities,” she said.
“We’ve been coming to the Great Chase for many years, and for the past two years we’ve won the first prize, so it’s very exciting.”
“This is just brilliant. They look forward to this event every year, even if we don’t win the money.”
“They love the meal, they love the socialisation side of the event and they love getting out and cheering on their dogs. The whole atmosphere, being together and meeting up with friends from the different organisations; it’s always a great night.”
The Socialisers will be back in 2021 hoping to back up their winning streak.
The Great Chase is Victorian greyhound racing’s number one community event, distributing almost $650,000 to the disability sector since 2003.