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Change of pace

Friday, 4th October, 2019

A crowd at last year’s Pooncarie Cup. More are expected to hit the course this weekend. PICTURE: Samara Harris A crowd at last year’s Pooncarie Cup. More are expected to hit the course this weekend. PICTURE: Samara Harris

By Craig Brealey

Nearly every year the Pooncarie Cup meeting is run on the same day as the AFL Grand Final, but not this time, and organisers are expecting a big crowd and pleasant weather tomorrow.

The meeting in the little river village has always been one of the most popular events in the West Darling and last year’s attracted more than 1000 racegoers, said the president of the Pooncarie Race Club, Lyle Massey.  

“Acceptances are pretty strong - there’s 10 in the cup - and we’re expecting another good crowd,” Mr Massey said.

“It was going to be a bit hot but I see they’ve dropped it back to 33 degrees,” he said.

“Nine out of ten years our meeting clashes with the AFL Grand Final, but we don’t have to worry about that this time.

“When I became president last year I got 12 new TVs so people could watch the footy.

“I’m a Carlton supporter and I know if the Grand Final was on, I’d want to watch it.

“But the new TVs mean we can cover all the race meetings on Saturday, and we’ve got the on-course tote and we always have a strong bookies’ ring.

“I have had eight calls from Melbourne bookies wanting to field up here and I’ve had to knock them back.”

The smallest field of the day is six in race three and the horses are coming from as far away as Swan Hill, Adelaide, Murray Bridge and Cobar.

Pooncarie, like all the towns on the Darling, is suffering and this seemed to have inspired generous support for the meeting, which has been run since 1891, Mr Massey said.

Businesses in the Sunraysia came forward to offer sponsorship, he said, with the result that the prizemoney had risen by 25 per cent this year to about $65,000. The feature race has a purse of $16,000, including $9000 for the winner.

The Wentworth Shire Council is also supplying the town with truckloads of raw water every day, there’s filtered water for drinking and more water to keep the dust down on the track.

“We’ll have plenty of food and drink and a bar,” said Mr Massey, “Fashions on the Field gets bigger every year and there’s good prizes.

“After the races we’ve got a live band in the pub, and we have a major raffle.

“It’s looking pretty good.”

Gates open about 10.30 and there’s six races on the card.


WHAT: Pooncarie Cup

WHERE: Pooncarie Racecourse

WHEN: Saturday, gates open 10.30am

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