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Thousands expected at races

Saturday, 19th March, 2011

PADDY NUMBER ONE: Doctor Gordon Ormandy was the first president of the St Patrick’s race club and its first life member, an honour which came with the gift of a Pro Hart painting from the grateful club. Turn to the middle pages to read Dr Ormandy’s account of how the race club came into being with the help of a priest, a miner who trained horses, a union leader and an SP bookie. PADDY NUMBER ONE: Doctor Gordon Ormandy was the first president of the St Patrick’s race club and its first life member, an honour which came with the gift of a Pro Hart painting from the grateful club. Turn to the middle pages to read Dr Ormandy’s account of how the race club came into being with the help of a priest, a miner who trained horses, a union leader and an SP bookie.

Not even the forecast of a light shower or rogue rumours sweeping Facebook last night can dampen the spirits of racegoers who are set to turn up today in their thousands for the biggest social event of year.

With gates opening a 10am, 6,000 locals, tourists and past residents are expected fill the lawns, marquees, picnic sites and grand stands for the races that stop the city.

Organising her 19th race meeting, Cheryl Krutli says the demand for memberships had been “frantic” since yesterday afternoon.

“They’ve been pretty busy,” Mrs Krutli told the BDT. “A lot of visitors’ cars are pulling up out the front.”

Mrs Krutli said the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, and a date change for the races will certainly affect numbers but organisers were still expecting more than 6,000 people to turn up today.

She wasn’t too concerned with the 1.8mm of rain which fell yesterday continuing through to today, and said the weather forecast was “perfect.”

The Weather Channel’s Dick Whittaker said early showers today will not hurt the races.

“It looks like a reasonable sort of day,” he told the BDT.

The Weather Channel has forecast a few morning and evening showers, with a maximum of 23 degrees and a low of 14.

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A club spokesman last night was bemused by statements on social networking site Facebook that the races would be canceled.

“It seems everyone and everything is going to be a victim of misleading social media at some stage and last night it was our turn,” the club spokesman said.

“We are looking forward to everyone enjoying the day.”

The fields were also looking good, there had been eight scratchings but most of then were dual acceptances, according to Mrs Krutli.

“The 900 metre Maiden dropped in numbers, which is surprising.”

St Pat’s organisers have also catered for the younger racegoer with the new Party HQ marquee.

Twenty-two bookmakers will also be out collecting bets and there will be several totes in a number of areas.

Mrs Krutli encouraged racegoers to leave their cars at home and opt for public transport, which will be leaving regularly from 10am from the Post Office.

If patrons do decide to take the car, parking will come at a cost of $5.

Police are reminding everyone who is going to the races and associated events to not overdo it with the drinking.

“If you are planning on attending either the races or a function, take advantage of the supplied public transport or use a designated driver or walk. Do not drink and drive,” a police spokesman said.  

There will be extra police on duty over the weekend who will be “targeting the hot spots” and other places where large crowds might gather, he said.  

“Barrier Local Area Command staff wish all those who may be attending to make sure that you have a good time and get home safely.”

 

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