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Phoenix News: Independent Panel Members Announced

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The three-member Independent Assessment Panel (IAP) for the inaugural Phoenix have been appointed, bringing with them an incredible wealth of knowledge to the process.

The Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA) is excited to welcome on board Dr Denis Napthine, Tara Hastings and Dean Kino, who have been tasked with analysing the slot holder applications and selecting the best eight.

14 applications have been received and are set to be carefully assessed by the panel to determine which eight applicants will be successful in gaining a slot in The Phoenix – a decision which will undoubtedly create much debate amongst the members given the exceptional standard of the applications received.

MGRA CEO Ashley Baker was grateful to all three panel members for lending their time to assist with what will form an integral part of shaping the race.

“As I’ve said before, it’s vital that we get this right in year one; get the processes right and give people faith in the execution of this new concept for greyhound racing.

I’m thrilled to have been able to assemble such an astute panel and I very much look forward to hearing which applications they select as our best eight.”


in addition to his esteemed political career which included a term as the 47th Premier of Victoria, Denis holds a Masters Degree in both Veterinary Science & Business Administration.

He received an Order of Australia in 2020 for ‘distinguished service to the people and Parliament of Victoria, particularly as Premier, to veterinary science, and to the community’.

A dedicated disability advocate throughout his career, Denis proudly signed off on the National Disability Insurance Scheme during his time in parliament.

Denis is a long-time supporter of the racing industry, having attended The Meadows on a number of occasions over the years.


Former General Counsel for Racing Queensland, Tara brings a terrific blend of legal expertise and racing knowledge to the table.

Currently working as a Lawyer and Commercial Counsel, Tara also brings a racing perspective to the team, currently sitting as a Director of the Gold Coast Turf Club.

Stints working for Netball Queensland and the Queensland Firebirds further add to her broad experience in elite sporting environments.


Former General Manager of Legal and Business Affairs at Cricket Australia and Governing Council of the Champions League Twenty20 Cricket, Dean is an experienced legal, corporate and strategic advisor.

Having spent a number of years working internationally as a lawyer, Dean’s extensive legal knowledge, particularly within the sporting landscape, lends him perfectly to a position on the IAP, ensuring that the integrity of the process remains paramount throughout.

A passionate sports fan, Dean understands the importance of promoting key, aspirational events and brings with him an innate understanding of blockbuster entertainment and fan engagement.


To be held on Saturday night 18 December 2021 at The Meadows, The Phoenix is a $1.145 million slot race for greyhounds, with a remarkable $750,000 to the winner.

Slot holders will each select the greyhound they wish to represent them in the race, negotiating private deals with greyhound owners and trainers if they don’t own their own potential contender.

For more information, please visit


Key Dates:

Slot Holders announced September (Date TBC)

Final Field announced Friday 10 December 2021

Box Draw Sunday 12 December 2021

Inaugural running of The Phoenix Saturday 18 December 2021

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