Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) is delighted to announce the world’s richest greyhound race, the TAB Million Dollar Chase, will take place at Wentworth Park on October 16, 2020.
Now in its third year, as the case was in its inaugural year and again in 2019, the TAB Million Dollar Chase will focus heavily on the regional areas of NSW, with 2020 seeing another increase in venues outside of Sydney to host regional heats and finals.
In making the announcement, GRNSW Chief Executive Officer Mr Tony Mestrov also confirmed that the winner of the grand final would again collect a $1 million prize.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there had been some concerns whether the event would take place at all, or perhaps be held with limited venues and reduced prizemoney,” Mr Mestrov said.
“While our industry and GRNSW’s revenue streams have naturally been impacted during COVID-19, we have thankfully been able to continue racing during this time, and we felt being able to stage the TAB Million Dollar Chase was incredibly important to us as an industry, and for all our participants who I have been so proud of during the past four months.
“We had a few alternatives for the series, but after consultation with our board, and closely looking at our finances, we were delighted that it would be possible to stage a full series, and see the grand final winner join the connections of Mystic Riot (2018) and Good Odds Harada (2019), and walk away as an instant millionaire on that Friday night in October.”
In 2018 the event was taken to 11 regional venues, then last year 14 regional tracks hosted the event. This year 15 regional venues will be used, with Temora being added to the tracks used in 2019 to conduct heats and regional finals.
There will be new qualifying conditions however in 2020. The first three placegetters from each of the regional finals - 45 in total - will advance to the semi-finals which will be held at Wentworth Park on October 9.
The eight winners of the City Preludes at Wentworth Park on October 3 will join the 45 regional qualifiers, as will the four fastest second placegetters from the City Preludes.
The final seven semi-finalists will be made up of the winners of the State Championships which will be held on August 13 as well as the winner of the New Zealand Championship.
The eight winners of the semi-finals will race for the $1 million first prize on October 16, on a Friday night when more than $1.5 million in prizemoney will be on offer.
The series will commence with heats staged at Gosford on September 1, and crisscross the State throughout that month, with the final qualifiers from the regional events decided at Maitland on September 28.
“We saw last year with the increased focus on regional centres that those regions were able attract interstate owners and trainers, and intrastate visitors, across all parts of NSW which in turn generated economic benefit to many regions of NSW,” Mr Mestrov said.
“We don’t know what travel restrictions will be in place during September when the regional events are to be held, but hopefully again there can be an economic uplift to those regions as a result of the event.”
Welfare is again a key component of the TAB Million Dollar Chase in 2020, with 100 per cent of all entry fees paid by owners and trainers in the series going directly into the Greyhound As Pets (GAP) NSW program.
“Just as we have done in 2018 and again last year, we want to use the interest in the TAB Million Dollar Chase to help support and raise funds and awareness for the Greyhounds As Pets program, and continue to help ensure our greyhounds are well-looked after when they finish their racing careers,” Mr Mestrov said.
“We repeatedly say that welfare is at the forefront of everything we do, and while the TAB Million Dollar Chase is a tremendous event for the racing greyhounds, we can’t lose sight of the welfare side of the industry, and we want to continually draw attention to it.
“In 2019-2020, GAP NSW assisted in the rehoming of more than 1300 greyhounds, which was an incredibly substantial increase on the number of 729 re-homed the previous year, and while the latest figures are outstanding, our goal is always to continue to improve each year.
“We made a significant announcement recently that we have secured a property where we will build a world first farm-stay facility for retired greyhounds, and this event is another opportunity for us as an industry to deliver important messaging to participants and the public about the new culture of greyhound racing in NSW, one that encourages racing, while also embedding world-leading greyhound welfare initiatives as standard.”
Mr Mestrov thanked Tabcorp for again being the naming rights’ sponsor for the event, having come on board in 2019, adding that GRNSW would again be working closely with the wagering giant to maximise the benefits of the event, particularly in regional NSW.
The TAB Million Dollar Chase Grand Final will kick start a huge weekend of racing, with the TAB Everest to be run the following day at Randwick, just as it was in 2019.
The TAB Million Dollar Chase will begin with heats on September 1 at Gosford with that venue also hosting the first regional final, and providing the first semi-finalists, on September 8.
The other regional venues to stages heats and finals are: Dapto, Casino, Gunnedah, Goulburn, Temora, Bathurst, The Gardens, Bulli, Lismore, Wagga, Richmond, Dubbo, Nowra and Maitland. Wentworth Park will then stage a round of City Preludes on October 3.
Grand Final night will again be a bonanza of feature event racing, with the time-honoured Group 1 Sydney Cup Final, the $100,000 Masters Meteor, the Young Star, and the MDC Consolation all supporting the TAB Million Dollar Chase Grand Final.