TRAINERS from Gippsland and kennel stars from across the state will compete for a share of more than $800,000 in prize money during the Gippsland Carnival, which begins at Sale on Monday night.
The opening running of the Gippsland Sprint will see Melbourne Cup runner-up Jesaulenko and Pantera Nera represent Gippsland in hope of becoming Gippsland sprint champion.
The Pakenham South-trained Dundee Osprey headlines the $107,250 group one Sale Cup field, which also includes Gippsland stars, including Zipping Kane, which is trained at Rosedale by Carolyn Jones.
Dundee Osprey, trained by Geoff Scott-Smith, is one of the fastest greyhounds of the modern era and is likely to start favourite over the testing 650 metres of the Sale Cup.
“It is great to be part of greyhound racing, especially when they are supporting our local Gippsland region,” Scott-Smith said.
Hazelwood North-based trainer Gavin Burke has Pantera Nera targeting the sprint side of the Gippsland Carnival, including attempting to make it back-to-back Traralgon Cup victories.
“It’s a time to celebrate greyhound racing- GRV are providing our struggling communities not only with funds through local businesses but putting on a carnival where people can enjoy a day out at the greyhounds without breaking the bank,” Burke said.
“The Gippsland Carnival can be life changing, especially with more than $800,000 up for grabs.
“It’s great to be a part of it and if you can take a small piece of the pie I’m sure it will go a long way to making the new year even better.
“It’s good to have the sprinters and the stayers running in the same atmosphere and the same point system with both type of greyhounds being given a chance to hold the Champion Stayer or Sprinter title.”
Western Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy, who was born and bred in Warragul, is the ambassador for the carnival.
“The carnival brings Gippsland together, shines a light on the region and is going to be a good thing for all Gippslanders and visitors,” he said.
The Gippsland Carnival is a regional Australian-first, connecting four country cups from Sale, through Warragul and Cranbourne to Traralgon.
A sprint and distance series will link all four legs with a Gippsland champion sprinter and stayer crowned at the end of the carnival.
The Sale Cup will begin the carnival with its traditional Boxing Day race meeting, while Traralgon will wrap it up on March 25. Warragul’s feature night will be held January 28 with Cranbourne taking centre stage February 11.
Families can also go in the draw to win a trip to Disneyland, by getting their ‘passport’ stamped at two of the four cups.
With an underlying theme of ‘flying colours’, Colours on Course will give everyone a chance to win a prize for best dressed.