It was a chaser of three and a half years from the North Coast that won in 2007. In 2008, a veteran of five and a half years traversed the state, visiting 16 tracks and clocked up over 15,000 kilometres, to win the title. Who will it be this year that takes out the ultimate prize in NSW Country greyhound racing in the 2008/09 Greyhound Racing NSW Country Challenge?
More than 400 greyhounds have competed in the first two years of the series and this year expectation is reaching fever pitch as not only greyhounds from country areas but those from metropolitan regions are jockeying to become the Country Challenge Champion.
The Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) Country Challenge is conducted across 28 tracks statewide with each hosting a leg of the series. Greyhounds accumulate points based on their finishing position in the finals. The highest point scoring greyhound at the end of the 28 track series is crowned GRNSW Country Challenge Champion and the connections take home a $10,000 bonus.
GRNSW has so far given away more than $300,000 in prizemoney over the first two years of the series and this year will once again provide $170,000 for the series and the associated Showdown event held in Sydney in July 2009.
GRNSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan said the Country Challenge Series is going from strength to strength and is providing a real incentive for trainers and owners to take their greyhounds across the state and to visit places they may never have been before.
“It was illustrated towards the end of last years series when places in the final Showdown field were up for grabs. Meetings in places such as Broken Hill became very popular, their numbers swelled and some of the state’s better greyhounds chased points and prizemoney.” Mr Hogan said.
“GRNSW is committed to promoting greyhound racing widely so it grows attendances and also improves wagering on our product throughout the state.
“This commitment will continue to see the Country Challenge series grow and I am looking forward to watching some of the better greyhounds in the state once again supporting the concept and providing a real close tussle like we had last year.”
The highly successful Country Challenge Showdown event will be conducted again in July next year at Wentworth Park in Sydney. The top eight points scorers in the Country Challenge series will be invited to compete in the Showdown and race for prizemoney totaling $20,000.
The 2008/09 GRNSW Country Challenge kicks off at Muswellbrook. The heats will be conducted on Sunday 21st September with the final a week later on the 28th. This will be followed by legs in Taree, Cowra and Dapto.
Click here to see the entire 2008/09 Country Challenge Calendar.