THE launch of the third Gippsland Carnival, Australia’s biggest regional greyhound racing series, in Warragul on Thursday night attracted sporting royalty.
Former England cricket captain Sir Ian Botham captivated the crowd with stories of his cricketing career and the people he met along the way.
Sir Ian also spoke of his work through Beefy’s Charity Foundation, in which he hosts fundraising events to support cancer research and treatment for youth with health conditions.
AFL games record holder and greyhound racing ambassador Brent Harvey spoke of the secrets behind his longevity in footy and how he has fallen in love with greyhound racing since coming on board with Greyhound Racing Victoria.
The evening also included race caller and tipster James Van de Maat discussing his love of greyhound racing and the art of a call, stand-up comedian Marty Fields providing laughs throughout the evening, and a firework display. GRV chairman Bernie
Carolan said it was a wonderful feeling to have so many passionate supporters of greyhound racing in the one room.
“To have people of the calibre of Sir Ian Botham and Brent Harvey supporting our sport really shows the direction we are heading and I’m looking forward to a fantastic Gippsland Carnival,” he said.
The Gippsland Carnival begins with the $75,000 Sale Cup on Boxing Day, December 26. The Sale Cup also promises to be a big event with star Melbourne ruckman Max Gawn watching the races from the Trackside Party Paddock and spinning the wheel for one person to get a chance to win $10,000 or a car.
The carnival will continue with cups at Warragul (January 12), Traralgon (January 26) and Cranbourne (February 9), which will have lucrative purses of $47,000, and be attended by Collingwood champion and 2011 Brownlow medallist Dane Swan.
The Gippsland Carnival cups will have free admission and family entertainment.
The heats for the Sale Cup will be held this Sunday night.