Lifestyle

‘It’s the biggest racing day’

by
November 04, 2017

Leigh Newton. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

AS THE nation stops to enjoy the 157th running of the Melbourne Cup, the Echuca Racing Club will be holding a party of its own with its traditional Tuesday race meet.

Nominations are huge and as strong as ever, with plenty of excitement both on and off the track to enjoy on the public holiday.

ERC chief executive officer Leigh Newton was excited gearing up for his club’s busiest day of the year.

‘‘Things are shaping up quite well, we’ve had a lot of prepaid admission which is good because we haven’t had a lot in past years,’’ he said.

‘‘Marquee and umbrella sales are looking good as well.

‘‘Nominations are out, and they’re strong. Prizemoney has jumped from $10,000 a race to between $18 and $22,000 and that’s reflected in nominations and I’m sure in acceptances as well.’’

The usual range of local trainers — the Archards, the Johnstones and Cornish-Gaskin to name a few — have horses nominated and are looking to break through for a win on the local track.

‘‘They always like to win on their home track, but especially on Melbourne Cup or Echuca Cup Day,’’ Newton said.

‘‘Last year we had a couple of local winners, and there’s quite a few nominated for Tuesday and hopefully one of them can find a winner.’’

But fashion will be just as big on the day, with a massive prize pool on offer for those best-dressed. And the entertainment doesn’t end there with plenty on offer including for kids.

‘‘There’s been a lot of interest, we’ve got entertainment going on with our Fashions on the Field and $7000 worth of prizes,’’ Newton said.’

‘‘We’ve got big screens too. Everyone’s looking forward to watching the race that stops the nation in the Melbourne Cup.

‘‘The Fashions precinct is a great area to enjoy the fashion but also to witness all the racing here and from Melbourne.’’

Crowds have varied in recent years, but one thing is for sure — Melbourne Cup Day is the ERC’s biggest day of the year.

‘‘It’s definitely our biggest day of the year. It’s ranged over the last 10 years from 3500 to 5000 people, and we’d be hoping for around 4000 at least this year,’’ Newton said.

‘‘Fingers crossed we get lucky with the weather, but we’ve had a lot of people purchasing memberships for access to the pavilion.

‘‘There’s a lot of racing on around Victoria, New South Wales and Australia in general.

‘‘There’s other Victorian races at Wangaratta and Cranbourne, but we’re lucky enough to be the number two Victorian meeting, which is good for being on Sky Racing One and for turnover.’’

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