Heats of the ‘Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase’ are likely to be staged at Ladbrokes The Gardens greyhound racing circuit following the announcement today that Wentworth Park will hold the final of the world’s richest dog race in October.
NSW Racing Minister Paul Toole today announced a $500,000 cash injection for the code, which will be used to fund the million dollar race in Sydney later this year.
The fact that The Gardens (Newcastle Greyhound Racing Club) is ranked number two or three in NSW behind Wentworth Park, and maybe Richmond, almost assures that the local track will be considered part of the action for what is the biggest and best news to hit greyhound racing in this state since the then State Premier’s fateful greyhound racing ‘ban’ in July 2016.
The ‘Million Dollar Chase’, will be the the jewel in greyhound racing’s crown and feature the best dogs in NSW.
Mr Toole said the money would come from NSW’s Community Development Fund (CDV) — which is made up from unclaimed gaming cash.
Before the race at Wentworth Park, several semi-finals will be held in regional centres, and a spokesman for The Gardens told LakeMac Today that because of “our standing in this state there is every chance races will be staged on our track.”
“This is money that’s going to see a real boost in regional communities,” Mr Toole said.
“When you have a look at the economic boost that is provided by greyhound racing, you see the people that are turning up to these events, it provides a huge boost to those local towns.”
The funding from the State Government comes with certain conditions. Greyhound Racing NSW CEO, Tony Mestrov, said all dogs that competed in the race would have to be re-homed, or kept as pets. If the prize-winning dog is killed, the owner has to pay back the $1 million.”
“This is the biggest announcement the industry has had at least in the last 20 years,” Mr Mestrov said of the race.
“I think the important focus is not only on the race itself and the $1 million to the winner, but on the welfare.
“We’re been working extremely hard at Greyhound Racing NSW to increase animal welfare standards across the state.”
That public funds would be used to fund greyhound prizemoney has drawn the ire of NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley, who described it as a “very expensive sorry note”.
“This is nothing more than a very expensive sorry note from this government to the greyhound industry,” he said.
“Two years ago they tried to ban them off the face of the Earth, now they are trying to say sorry.”
Mr Foley would have trouble telling that to the thousands of people in this state who do the right thing with their greyhounds and have a passion for the industry.
A spokesperson for The Gardens made the point today that “the re-homing rate for racing dogs in NSW is now 90 percent; better than pet dogs.”