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Greyhound clubs unite to launch exciting ‘Western Festival of Racing’

Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) today launched its inaugural ‘Western Festival of Racing’, which will incorporate more than $700,000 in prize money across eight spectacular nights of racing in the west of the state from late February through to early May.

Set to attract the most talented greyhound athletes from all around Australia to country Victoria, the ‘Western Festival of Racing’ kicks off with heats of the Horsham Cup on Friday 26 February, with the final to be run on Saturday 6 March.

From there the Festival takes a twist, with the Ballarat and Geelong Cups – both traditionally held later in the calendar year – to instead be run throughout what is set to be a bumper month of April.

And the Western Festival will finish off in style with the popular Warrnambool Cup Final in early May, with that particular race meeting to be aired live on greyhound racing’s free-to-air television series, ‘Thrill of the Chase’ on 7TWO, drawing attention from tens of thousands of sports fans across Australia.

GRV Deputy Chair Greg Miller said the ‘Western Festival of Racing’ provided an important marketing opportunity as the sport continues to thrust its brand across the state in line with its ‘Metropolitan’ and ‘Gippsland’ Festivals of Racing.

2021 Western Festival of Racing – group races

Event Date Timeslot Distance First prize
G2 Horsham Cup Heats Friday 26 February Twilight 485m $5,280
G2 Horsham Cup Final Saturday 6 March Night 485m $47,000
G2 Ballarat Cup Heats Monday 5 April Twilight 450m $5,280
G2 Ballarat Cup Final Friday 9 April Night 450m $47,000
G2 Geelong Cup Heats Friday 16 April Night 520m $5,280
G2 Geelong Cup Final Friday 23 April Night 520m $47,000
G2 Warrnambool Cup Heats Thursday 29 April Night 450m $5,280
G2 Warrnambool Cup Final Wednesday 5 May Night 450m $47,000

“Greyhound racing’s first ever ‘Western Festival of Racing’ is set to bring enormous excitement and increased exposure to the sport western Victoria,” Mr Miller said at today’s Western Festival launch, which was held at the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club.

“Our four greyhound clubs in the west – Ballarat, Geelong, Horsham and Warrnambool – each has a rich history and are all integral to the fabric of our sport and to their local communities.”

“Many of the best greyhounds in the world hail from the west – from the immortal ‘Warrnambool Warrior’ Bold Trease through to present day champions like Shima Shine and Tiggerlong Tonk – and I have no doubt that the hundreds of trainers and breeders based in the west of the state will be determined to secure all four country cups on offer during the Festival.”

A family-oriented sport and pivotal economic pillar for local communities, greyhound racing is renowned for supporting local businesses, sporting clubs and disability organisations while investing millions annually into welfare initiatives such as track safety and finding loving homes for all greyhounds considered unsuitable for racing.

Western Victoria boasts almost 3,500 greyhound participants (breeders/owners/trainers), employs more than 660 people (full-time equivalent) and has around 300 volunteers, while generating $77 million annually in the western part of the state.

To read more about the ‘Western Festival of Racing’ please click here.

Photos by Clint Anderson

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