The Honorable Paul Toole MP, Minister for Lands and Forestry, and Minister for Racing today jointly announced with Greyhound Racing NSW CEO Tony Mestrov the creation of the world’s richest greyhound event, which will be staged across Regional NSW and Sydney.
The landmark event, culminating in a Grand Final worth $1million to the winner at Wentworth Park on October 20, will be known as the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase.
Supported by the NSW Government’s Community Development Fund, GRNSW and corporate sponsor Ladbrokes, the event will be staged from September 3-October 20, 2018, at 11 Regional NSW racetracks and Sydney’s Wentworth Park and carry total series prizemoney of $1.7million.
The GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase will promote GRNSW’s commitment to animal welfare and new re-homing initiatives as well as the quest to find the world’s champion greyhound.
"The Million Dollar Chase will generate new interest in the sport across NSW and will provide a welcome boost to the economy in regional centres," Mr Toole said.
"The Million Dollar Chase will demonstrate the importance of greyhound racing to regional NSW through its series of high-quality events for the whole community."
The GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase will highlight GRNSW’s target to raise $1million in donations for the Greyhounds as Pets (GAP) program designed to re-home dogs after they have retired from racing.
"It is an exciting announcement and highlights our commitment to improve animal welfare at the same time as improving the greyhound industry, which is key to our future," Mr Mestrov said.
"We thank the Minister and his Government for their support of this unique series for NSW and also thank our corporate event sponsor Ladbrokes for helping to create the world’s richest greyhound event."
Mr Mestrov added: "The format of the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase series has been designed to find the best eight greyhounds to contest the Grand Final worth $1million to the winner at Wentworth Park on October 20, but the series begins with Qualifying Finals (Heats) at Regional tracks on September 3 at Bathurst."
There will be 11 Regional Qualifying Finals across Regional NSW at the following tracks: Bathurst, Bulli, Dubbo, Grafton Ladbrokes Gardens (Newcastle), Lismore, Maitland, Nowra, Richmond, Temora and Wagga.
There will also be 14 City Qualifying Finals at Wentworth Park from September 22 to October 6, before the Semi-Finals (October 12) and Grand Final (October 20) at Wentworth Park.
The first two-placegetters in the Regional Qualifying Finals and the first three place-getters in the City Qualifying Finals will qualify (64 greyhounds in total) for the semi-finals of the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase.
All greyhounds in Australia are eligible to be nominated for the GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase, but a condition of entry is that all must be re-homed at the end of their racing career.
As a condition of entry, participants must agree to re-home their dog into the Greyhounds as Pets program (GAP) or and equivalent program after its racing career.
Mr Mestrov said that entry fees from every race in the event will include a donation to the GAP NSW program.
"We have set an ambitious target to raise $1 million in donations to the GAP NSW program," he said.
"We want to use the interest in the GRNSW Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase to help support the GAP program which is ensuring dogs are well-looked after when they finish their career."
Mr Mestrov said that GRNSW was finalising plans to further develop the GAP program.
"There has been some good work done, but we are determined to do more – the welfare of dogs is a high priority for GRNSW," he said.
Mr Mestrov said that GRNSW is rolling out other initiatives to improve the welfare of dogs, including a $30 million track upgrade program.
There have been major announcements on track work for Gosford and Gunnedah in recent weeks.
GRNSW is also developing design standards for its racecourses based on research by the University of Technology, Sydney, he said.
See the full GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase Draw here.
See all of the key dates here.
See full break down of GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase prizemoney here.