MORE than 300 members of the south-west disability community will converge on Wannon Park as part of an annual Greyhound Racing Victoria initiative.
GRV’s popular Great Chase series hits Warrnambool today and is the feature attraction at an 11-race twilight meeting.
The series, into its 12th year, gives disability support organisations the chance to win prizemoney by allocating them a dog in one of 15 heats across Victoria.
Eight dogs representing eight south-west organisations will contest the Warrnambool heat over 450 metres.
Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club general manager Mick Cottee said the Great Chase series was “a huge drawcard for a lot of organisations”.
“It’s a really important part of these guys’ social calendars. We’ve only got one heat but we’ve got 308 people turning up to view it,” Cottee said.
Among those who will be trackside today are members of The WDEA Socialisers, including Jesse Adams, a self-confessed greyhound racing fan.
The WDEA Socialisers, an arm of Western District Employment Access, have the Brian Fish-trained Boris Bekim representing them in the series.
Adams said he would be cheering loudly as Boris Bekim chased a berth in a semi-final, set for Geelong next Monday.
“It’s exciting to come and enjoy a feature greyhound meeting. I like dogs in general but I like the racing part of it,” he said.
Fish hopes Adams’ enthusiasm will rub off on Boris Bekim. The two-year-old has had 10 starts for two wins.
“I’ve had two other runners in it over the years. I got a third one year (in a heat) but I’ve never got any further,” he said.
“(The series) is a good thing. The guys come here and enjoy the night. If you win you can go and visit them and take the dog. It gives them a sense of satisfaction.” The Great Chase heats carry $500 prizemoney for the organisation, while there is $1000 up for grabs in the semi-final.
The grand final, at the Meadows on September 3, offers $5000 for the winner, $2000 for the runner-up and $1000 for third.
Heat line-up (dog, disability support organisation):
1. Whatta Brew, Karingal Community Living; 2. Boris Bekim, The WDEA Socialisers; 3. Southwood Pluto, Mpower; 4. Morson Senor, Riding for the Disabled — Warrnambool; 5. Filius Flitwick, Cooinda Terang; 6. Golden Girl Anna, Warrnambool Special Development School; 7. Classic Caper, Kyeema Support Services; 8. He’s No Jet, Southern Way Direct Care Services.