Richmond Race Club has been announced as one of the venues to host a regional qualifying final of the inaugural running of the world’s richest greyhound race.
The new racing series will offer a million-dollar prize, and the showpiece event – the Million Dollar Chase – will take place at Wentworth Park on Saturday, October 20.
The Richmond club will host qualifying heats on September 19 followed by a final on September 28. The top two dogs from that race will represent Richmond in the 64-dog finals series at Wentworth Park, with the winner to receive $1 million.
The State Government provided $500,000 towards the new race and Hawkesbury MP and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet lauded the announcement as “great news” for Richmond.
It would also shine a spotlight on the state’s revitalised greyhound racing industry, he said.
“It will generate tremendous interest and attract new visitors, and I know the people of the Hawkesbury will get right behind the event,” Mr Perrotet said.
“I know the people of Richmond will get behind their champion dogs and cheer them home in the event finals.”
The 10 other regional qualifying finals will be held in Bathurst, Bulli, Dubbo, Grafton, Lismore, Maitland, Nowra, Temora, Wagga and Newcastle (Ladbrokes Gardens).
Every greyhound in Australia is eligible to enter the series, which will carry total prizemoney of $1.7 million and feature Masters, Young Stars and Country finals in addition to the main event.
Greyhound Racing NSW CEO Tony Mestrov said the Million Dollar Chase was also aimed at boosting industry participation levels and promoting greyhound welfare in NSW.
A key condition of entry for the series was that every participant must sign an agreement to re-home their dog or adopt their dog after its racing career, and entry fees from every race will include a donation to the GAP program, he said.
“There is no better way to encourage more interest and participation in greyhound racing and shore up the future of local clubs than by hosting the most prestigious event in the world,” Mr Mestrov said. “This is symbolic of GRNSW’s ongoing commitment to cultural change and improved animal welfare outcomes.”
Racing Minister Paul Toole said the event would attract worldwide interest as well as visitation to regional towns across NSW, thereby boosting regional economies.
The Gazette has contacted Richmond Race Club for comment on the announcement.