Greyhound racing in Australia has largely gone on unimpeded over the last two years, despite the pandemic raging around the world.
The Melbourne Cup is the showpiece of the Greyhound Racing Victoria calendar and the Daniel Andrews Labor Government has allocated more than $20,000 from the Victorian Racing Industry Fund to Sandown to help support the event.
Victorian Racing Minister Martin Pakula said the event had the full backing of Government.
“Sandown’s Melbourne Cup meeting is always a great night of racing and I’m sure greyhound fans will enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to be back on track,” he said.
“We’re proud to help clubs like Sandown put on these showcase events.”
Part of these funds will undoubtedly go towards keeping the event COVID-safe with a decent crowd expected on course for the meeting.
Sandown Greyhound Club is contributing more than $60,000 to support the event which is the culmination of three weeks of elite greyhound racing that has produced a final field of eight dogs, with the winner on Friday taking home $500,000.
The Cup has been won by some of the sport’s greatest dogs in its 65-year history, including El Grand Senor, Bombastic Shiraz and Dyna Double One.
This year’s Melbourne Cup meeting will include eight feature finals on a 12-race card. Alongside the racing, there will be live music, free race books and giveaways.
The meeting will be held in COVIDSafe settings with everyone on course required to be double-vaccinated. Extra staff will be on hand to help patrons comply with COVIDSafe requirements.
Since December 2014 the Victorian Government has approved almost $2 million to support 35 racing events and four infrastructure project at Sandown.
Sandown Greyhound Racing Club CEO Adrian Scott, who took over the role in March 2020 after a long stint as the boss of Warragul Greyhound Racing Club, said the return of crowds to the track would add to the excitement.
“We’re very grateful for the Government’s support this year, and we can’t wait to welcome back a good crowd at Sandown for what promises to be an outstanding edition of the Cup,” he said.
The greyhound racing industry in Victoria generates $500 million for the economy and helps sustain 4,300 full-time-equivalent jobs.