Kick off for Gippsland greyhound festival

Sale general manager Peter Johnston (front), Warragul general manager Tony Mitchell (centre) and Traralgon general manager Steve Clarke (back) are looking forward to the Gippsland Festival of Racing. Photo: Supplied

Greyhound Racing Victoria has launched its fifth SEN Track Gippsland Festival of Racing at Sale Greyhound Racing Club.

Three major events will start with the Group 1 GOLD FM Sale Cup on Boxing Day followed by the Warragul Cup on Saturday, January 15 and culminating with the Traralgon Cup on Australia Day.

With more than $250,000 in cash and prizes to be won, the festival will see some of the best dogs in Australia competing.

GRV general manager of Strategic Communications Louise Martin said to see this festival grow as it has is a testament to the commitment of the Gippsland clubs and the support from the regional communities.

“As an industry, greyhound racing contributes more than $50 million into the region and employs nearly 500 people which is a significant injection into the community,” Martin said.

“Also, the Gippsland Festival is the perfect springboard for the other major GRV 2022 festivals – the Seaside Festival at Warrnambool and the Western Festival.”

Ticket sales for the Sale Cup, which boasts a $75,000 first prize, are on track to see a massive return to the track after two trying years.

Sale Greyhound Club general manager Peter Johnston, said the club was anticipating a crowd of up to 5000.

The Cup has attracted interest from some of the best greyhounds in the country.

The Cup heats will be run and won on Sunday night during an action-packed hour of racing from 7.16pm.

Local interest in the opening heat surrounds the Seaspray-trained Omega Tyson, who is racing in great fashion for Barry Harper.

The second heat is headlined by Invictus Rising, fresh from his last-start win in the Rotti Security Sale Distance Championship Final on December 12.

Invictus Rising, trained by Garry Selkrig, looks well-drawn in box one for his heat, which also contains the exciting McCooly’s Lad for the powerful Anthony Azzopardi team.

Heyfield chaser What Could Be carries local interest in that heat.

Heat three features the classy Mepunga Ruby, who is chasing her 15th win from just 25 career starts and Bobby The Brute, a smart performer from the Brendan Pursell kennel.

Gypsy Wyong and the talented Jarick Bale feature in a quality-laden fourth heat.

Gypsy Wyong, prepared by Andrea Dailly at Anakie, is in sparkling form, having won the Topgun Stayers Final and the Bold Trease Final at Group 1 level in November.

With the Warragul Cup meeting having gone from strength to strength over the past several years the club looking to deliver one of the most exciting night’s racing for many years.

Warragul Greyhound Club general manager Tony Mitchell said the $50,000 first prize would attract a class field.

“The event gives all of Gippsland the chance to witness some of Victoria’s best trainers and greyhounds in action,” he said.

With the festival concluding at Traralgon, some of Australia’s best greyhounds will be on show at the club’s new J-Curve track.

The $6 million venue will see a return to racing at Traralgon after an 18-month closure for construction of the world-first track.

Traralgon Greyhound Club general manager Steve Clarke said the day would usher in a new start for greyhound racing in the region.

“As a club we cannot wait to showcase what we’ve built at Traralgon,” he said.

“It’s state of the art that ensures safety for the greyhounds, state of the art facilities for our guests and importantly an opportunity for our club to contribute back to the community.”