THREE south-west community groups will have runners in the Greyhound Racing Victoria Great Chase semi-finals next week.
Southern Way Direct Care Service, Aspire and the Department of Human Services Portland each won a heat at the Warrnambool round yesterday.
The Great Chase series encourages intellectually and physically disabled community groups to experience greyhound racing.
Heat winners received $500 and the prize pool will double for semi-finals in Geelong and Warragul.
Southern Way Direct Care Service has been involved with the Great Chase since its inception 10 years ago.
CEO Graham Kemp said Fourth Choice’s heat one win in 25.466 was a great result.
Fourth Choice’s win was Southern Way Direct Care Service’s first heat win since 2007.
“It’s been a long time between drinks so everyone is excited,” Kemp said.
Kemp said the Great Chase initiative was a “really good social outing”.
“It is a sport and it gives clients and residents an interest in greyhounds and greyhound racing,” he said. “They don’t have a lot of money and are not big punters but all the guys had a couple of dollars on the dog.”
Fourth Choice trainer Norman Wynd said he was a strong supporter of the Great Chase.
“I think it is one of the greatest concepts going around,” the Lismore trainer said.
“It is magnificent.
‘‘They enjoy it and they appreciate it and the $500 they get for tonight is a big help to them.”
Warrnambool-based group Aspire won heat two with Slick Scooby winning in 25.046.
Aspire leader Carol Morton said it was the first time the group had had a Great Chase heat win.
“It’s really good. I think they are a bit excited,” she said.
Slick Scooby trainer John Toye was thrilled with his runner’s time.
“That sort of time — you don’t run quicker than that,” the Ararat trainer said.
“That was his fourth run.
‘‘He’s never been here before, never seen the track before.
“He is that fierce a chaser, he’d run through a brick wall.”
Whatta Brew won heat three for Camperdown trainer Raymond Brewer and Department of Human Services in Portland.