“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.”
“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.”
“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.”