Historic Free To Air TV deal for TAB Million Dollar Chase
The world’s richest greyhound event, the TAB Million Dollar Chase Grand Final, will create more history on October 18, with the announcement the race will be shown live on free-to-air television.
It will be the first time in Australian television history that a dedicated greyhound racing broadcast, will be shown live, nationally, with the event airing on 9Gem.
The one hour coverage will be hosted by leading Nine sports presenter Cameron Williams, and will air between 9pm-10pm, and feature three events including the Million Dollar Chase - where the winner will receive $1 million - and the Group 1 Sydney Cup.
Williams will be joined on the coverage by leading greyhound form experts, James Van De Maat, Liz Whelan and Dave Carlson.
“This is a tremendous and very significant announcement for greyhound racing, which will showcase our sport to a much wider audience,” Greyhound Racing NSW Chief Executive Officer Tony Mestrov said. “This historic telecast will mean that our race - the world’s richest greyhound race - can now be seen in the living rooms of all Australians.”
MDC Regionals Done and Dusted
After 44 races at 28 race meetings, across 14 venues around the State, the regional leg of the TAB Million Dollar Chase came to a conclusion on Sunday afternoon at Goulburn.
The final four greyhounds – Lightning Vision, Black Maxie, Immediate, and Tennessee Tiger - filled positions 53 to 56 of regional qualifiers who will advance to the semi-finals of the event on October 11. They will be joined on semi night by eight dogs who will win their way through out of Saturday’s City Qualifiers at Wentworth Park.
Lightning Vision (pictured) had attempted to qualify for the series in the heats at Dapto, but was checked out of the race on the first turn, and trainer Neil Staines admits he had some apprehension about putting his young sprinter back into the series.
Lightning Vision, at the time a veteran of just five starts - four of those wins – wasn’t expected to again compete in the series, but after some hesitation, Staines spoke with the owner, and decided to give it one more shot at his home track, Goulburn.
And, on Sunday afternoon, for the second year running, Staines had a qualifier for the Million Dollar Chase semi-finals, after Lightning Vision rung up win number five, charging home to take out the Goulburn Regional Final.
A year ago Staines qualified Bogan Doonie for the semi-finals and after leading most of the way, she was run down near the post by Victorian Azkaban. She also campaigned in this year’s series but couldn’t reach the semi-finals unlike her kennelmate.
Watch Lightning Vision take out the Goulburn Regional Final here
The champ takes a step towards defending her title
She may have left it late, but the defending champion Mystic Riot squeaked through into the semi-finals of the TAB Million Dollar Chase at The Gardens on Saturday night.
At the second last venue to host a Regional Final, Mystic Riot snuck through in the semis when finishing fourth behind Get It Gizmo, her own kennelmate Federal Lilly, and Miley Nismo.
“We’re tickled pick with both their runs,” trainer Peter Lagogiane said of his pair of qualifiers. ”When the series started we had six in the kennel and we’ve now got four through to the semi-finals.
“Mystic Riot began a bit moderately tonight and she made plenty of ground up. It was an enormous run by her.
“She’s raced some pretty good dogs in the last four or five months and she made four out of five group finals that we’ve contested, so were pretty happy with Mystic Riot at the moment.
“She got to get a draw in two weeks’ time and she’ll be up there.”
The win of Get It Gizmo was impressive, and trainer Jason Mackay was full of praise for the dog who he took over training of, for the series.
“He’s a good one this dog. He’s only young, and I don’t think the track, the circumference of this track at The Gardens, is his way of going. I think when we get to Wenty, a bit harder run and bit bigger circumference, he really might let go, but that was pretty impressive tonight,” Mackay said.
“He had no luck at all last week. Tonight once he got balanced up and got to go through his gears, he’s pretty special this dog.”
Watch Get It Gizmo win The Gardens Regional Final here
Bazza Flying into Million Dollar Calculations
Leading trainer Jason Mackay was wearing a wide smile at Maitland on Thursday when his smart young sprinter Flying Bazza took out the TAB Million Dollar Chase Regional Final.
Flying Bazza was one of four winners - from five starters - Mackay produced at Maitland on Thursday, but the one which counted was Flying Bazza, who stormed home to nab the leader Cee Jay’s Boy and post a 24.92s victory.
Ronny, and Maitland Gold Cup winner Black Forge were third and fourth and each now has a ticket to the Million Dollar Chase semi-finals at Wentworth Park on October 11.
The result was finally a swing in fortune for Mackay, who last week, following injury, had to retired his brilliant bitch, the Golden Easter Egg winner Zipping Bailey, and then earlier this week was forced to scratch the speedy Flynn from the Maitland Final after being injured in last week’s heats.
Flying Bazza - already a Wentworth Park winner in 29.85s - improved his record to six wins and five placings from 12 starts with the Maitland victory.
“The 450m, it’s a hard run, but he’s just warming up at the end of that, so the extra 70m when he gets to Wenty, if he can draw an inside lid, and get a bit of roll through, he’s a big chance,” Mackay said.
Watch Flying Bazza win the Maitland Regional Final here
Local too good for the Victorians
For Brian Smith, missing a start in the final of the South Australian Derby could not only have been a blessing in disguise, it may turn out to be a one million dollar result.
Smith’s greyhound Ultimate Speed finished third in the heats of the Group event in Adelaide, but missed the final and was drawn as the first reserve. He didn’t a get a start, and that is now a blessing.
“Had he got a start in that race last Thursday week, then I would have gone to Adelaide for the race,” Smith said. “But he didn’t not surprisingly, so we raced on the Friday in the heats of the Million Dollar Chase here at Wagga.”
Ultimate Speed didn’t just race, he won his heat, then on Saturday night, he upstaged his higher profile opponents, and proved that win was far from a fluke, winning the Regional Final of the TAB Million Dollar Chase, and booking a berth in the semi-finals.
We continually heard how the Victorians would target the Wagga leg of the Million Dollar Chase, and while they came, and made a huge impression in the heats, it was ultimately the local who claimed the main prize.
After breaking the track record last week in the heats, Deliver was expected to be dominant in the final, and his kennelmate, the brilliant Black Opium, with the benefit of a look at Wagga last week in the heats, was also expected to be in the major mix, and was backed into odds-on favouritism just before jump.
And things looked like they were going to script when both of Jason Thompson’s pair, Deliver and Black Opium, charged out of the boxes and were one-two passing the post the first time.
But just as Deliver looked like landing on the lure again in front, he went amiss and ran wide on the track, checking Black Opium, and allowing Ultimate Speed to rail through and lead, and the local refused to be caught, clocking 29.93s.
Black Opium was 1¼ lengths away second, with There’s A Catch a further five lengths adrift, just ahead of Perfect Marshall. That trio all join Ultimate Speed in the semi-finals at Wentworth Park on October 11.
Watch Ultimate Speed win the Wagga Regional Final here
Another Local upstages the visitors
For Woodview trainer Robert Cooke, Smooth Act’s position along the back straight at Lismore on Friday night did not waiver his confidence; he always believed.
And he was not wrong, as Smooth Act flew home from wide out to claim the Regional Final of the TAB Million Dollar Chase in a time of 29.69s.
The Evelyn Harris-trained Bad Neighbour, saw the best of the early running, finding the lead into the first turn and holding on into the back straight. Dam Slippery was hot on her heels, and looked to make a move heading into the top corner but far from done, Smooth Act produced a booming run into the turn for home. In blistering fashion, Smooth Act edged out Harris’ bitch by a length and left Dam Slippery in his wake. Fourth and a spot in the semis went to Joanne Price-trained Infrared Lad.
“He is a very strong dog and that’s the best part of his run; the finish,” Cooke said. “When he went down the back I just knew he’d win from there because many others can’t run home in the times that he can. His runs home are unbelievable.”
Watch Smooth Act winning the Lismore Regional Final here
The Feral back in town and back being a winner
Leading TAB Million Dollar Chase candidates Feral Franky and Shima Shine did their prospects in the big race no harm at Wentworth Park on Saturday night with each recording outstanding wins.
Feral Franky had to post the fastest 520m time of the night of 29.74s to run down Paws Of Thunder winner Buck's Future by a neck in the Free-For-All, while Victoria's Shima Shine, from the all conquering Angela Dailly kennel, overcame a mediocre getaway to win his 520m fifth grade in a slick 29.93s.
Shima Shine had lowered the colours of local star Pindari Express in the Bulli Regional Final of the Million Dollar Chase and had trialled 29.81s in a solo gallop at his first look at Wentworth Park on September 21.
He had to work hard to reach the lead on the back straight on Saturday night but gripped on gallantly to win clearly from noted strong finisher Electric Silk.
Trainer Syd Swain has always considered Buck's Future close to unbeatable from box one at Wentworth Park and when his dog began brilliantly and made the pace in Saturday's top grade it was no surprise to see Feral Franky having to pull out all stops to overhaul him by a neck.
After the race Feral Franky's trainer Jack Smith said: "When Syd's dog led clearly I knew it was going to be tough and Franky appeared to be leaning in on Buck's Future when he was trying to get around him in the home straight.
"They came together and bumped not far from the finish.''
Watch Feral Franky win at Wentworth Park on Saturday
Important Notice for Participants
Important notice to all participants. The closing time for nominations for the Group 1 Sydney Cup heats at Wentworth Park, has been moved from Tuesday October 8, to Friday October 4 at 12pm.
The move has been made to allow for the Wentworth Park October 11 meeting which will contain the eight semi-finals of the TAB Million Dollar Chase, plus the heats of the Sydney Cup, to be drawn over the long weekend, on Sunday October 6.
Please update your calendar to amend the nomination closing time.
Any queries please contact the GRNSW grading department on 1300-664-565.
Coonamble Carnival this weekend
It’s an event on the bucket list of many in the industry and this long weekend will see the running of the annual carnival at Coonamble.
The Carnival kicks off on Friday with a 20 race card, consisting of 10 in the afternoon and 10 at night.
The following day there is another 19 races, nine in the morning session and another 10 in the afternoon.
Sunday is a ‘rest’ day but on Monday there will be 28 races, 14 in the morning and another 14 in the afternoon.
So in total 67 races across four days. A greyhound enthusiast’s dream.