Sport

Gunbower Gold Cup to go ahead, for now

By Brayden May

THE Gunbower Gold Cup – one of the region’s most popular bush picnic race meetings – has the starting line in sight.

Scheduled for Saturday, October 3, Gunbower Racing Club president Mick Farrant said it was all systems go for the big day.

And Country Racing Victoria (CRV) agrees with him.

“The latest update is we will be running our meeting on the scheduled date, but that could all change very quickly,” Farrant said on Friday.

“We’re in constant discussions with CRV, who are also working very closely with the state government.

“I’d like to thank (CRV chief executive) Scott Whiteman and his team, they’ve been terrific throughout this entire process. They care a lot for us even though we are a once-a-year racing club.

“Martin Pakula (who is the minister for racing in Victoria) has been fantastic to work with as well.

“It now looks like the final decision could be made as late as the first week of August.”

But just how a possible race day looks remains to be seen, with Farrant admitting it will most likely have a different structure to previous years.

“Any crowd decision will be based on the restrictions that are in place at the time,” he said.

“(Premier) Daniel Andrews has hinted at easing restrictions in regional towns so that would be a big win for us if that was to occur.

“There is a possibility that we do just have a walk-up crowd which means we wouldn’t be able to offer packages as we have done in the past.

“All I know is that we will have the track and facilities ready to go if we are given the green light.

“The situation is changing daily and I hope it does improve quickly.

“If you had have asked me three weeks ago if we would be racing, I would have been very confident, although I’m feeling very different now.”

Farrant admitted a cancelled meeting would have a flow on effect to not just Gunbower businesses, but the surrounding region.

“It is one of the biggest events we have in town,” he said.

“Every community group gets something out of it, which is very important. Places like the pub do some of their best business of the year because there are so many people in town.

“We have people travel from right across Victoria and interstate – just this year we had a group of 34 from Adelaide register their interest.

“It would be a devastating blow to Gunbower if the meeting can’t go ahead.”

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