Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) chief executive officer Tony Mestrov has labelled it a “massive coup” for the Hunter.
Newcastle will host the world’s richest staying race after the state body unveiled a new feature event, The 715, where the winner takes home $500,000.
The prestigious showdown is set to be staged at Ladbrokes Gardens over the 715m distance in June next year.
It comes as GRNSW celebrates the success of the TAB Million Dollar Chase, a middle-distance discipline, and the recently-announced $125,000 Country Classic.
“This is a tremendous boost for the industry in NSW and its participants,” Mestrov said.
“It’s something we have been working on for some time.
“We all know about 75% of our participants are regionally-based.
“So, that was a key factor in our decision to stage this race at the Newcastle Greyhound Racing Club, at Birmingham Gardens, and not at the city track, Wentworth Park.
“With the Hunter Valley being a heartland for greyhound racing, we felt the region and its people were the perfect fit for an event of this stature.”
Mestrov admitted the Million Dollar Chase had become the premier event for sprinters not only in NSW but across the country.
He sees The 715 complementing that event as a showcase race on the calendar.
“We identified a real void in the NSW staying ranks a few years back,” he said.
“So, we decided to make a concerted effort to build that and make it viable for owners and trainers to race stayers in NSW.
“The introduction of the GRNSW Middle Distance Series was for the purpose of providing a stepping-stone for those dogs moving from the sprinting ranks, but not ready to step straight up to 700m.
“That series has also been a wonderful success and it was because of that we announced the new regional event, the Country Classic, which will be run at Dubbo in March.
“Next we wanted to look after our stayers and with this new event, The 715, we feel we have now made it very enticing for owners and trainers to look for staying dogs to race.”
The 715 is just another key feature of what should be an incredible three months of racing in NSW, from the Country Classic in March, the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg in April, the postponed 2020 TAB Million Dollar Chase in May, then The 715 in June.
“Why wouldn’t you want to get involved in greyhound racing,” Mestrov said.
“The 715 will slot into the calendar in June, but just for 2022 because of the postponed Million Dollar Chase.
“In the following years, it will move to a permanent slot in either April or May, and expand to a three-week series.”
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