TAB Melbourne Cup night will now carry more of a Gippsland flavour after sweeping changes to the format with $1 million in prize money up for grabs.
There will be three new events added to the Melbourne Cup program and prize money increased for seven more, including taking the prize money for the TAB Melbourne Cup to a record $630,000.
Among the new events to be added to TAB Melbourne Cup night is the Provincial Plate which will see two heats run at Traralgon as well as Cranbourne, Geelong and Bendigo, giving greyhounds around the state a chance to take part in the sport’s biggest night.
The winner of each heat of the Provincial Plate will progress to the $35,500 final. The series is open to Victorian bred greyhounds with no city wins.
Two other new races are the Super VICGREYS and the Cup Night Stayers.
Traralgon trainer Terri Morris is no stranger to Melbourne Cup night, after her greyhound Jesaulenko ran a close second in the 2016 final.
She said the introduction of the Provincial Plate would give regionally based participants valuable exposure to the biggest night in Australian greyhound racing.
“I think it’s a great idea. Normally it’s just the big-name trainers there on Cup night but this is an excellent way of getting people from right around the state involved,” Morris said.
“We’ve got a lot of very good trainers based in Gippsland and everyone’s aim is to have a dog run in the cup. The Provincial Plate gives them an opportunity to be on the big stage.”
As well as a prize money increase for the TAB Melbourne Cup, prize money for the group 1 Bold Trease and the Vic bred maiden series final has also been increased.
In all, there will be eight feature finals on the card, and all four of the remaining graded races will have its prize money increased to a minimum of $10,000.
The TAB Melbourne Cup will be run on Friday 23 November.
Paw note: In November 2017, Greyhound Racing Victoria announced a $4m annual increase in prize money. There will be over $47m in prize money available in Victoria in the 2018/19 season.
Greyhound racing’s first million dollar night – the changes to TAB Melbourne Cup night explained