24.9°C 03:00 pm

Strong fields for St Pat's

Friday, 27th March, 2009

A big list of nominations has resulted in strong fields for this year's St Pat's races, with 85 starters confirmed after acceptances were finalised yesterday. The program of eight races has attracted a number of visiting trainers who will be looking for a share of the $118,000 prize money and trophies on offer. They will be joined by local trainers Frank Stacey, Barry Murray, Mick Wayman, Norm O'Donnell, Heidi Smith and Wayne Marsden, all of whom will be eager to get a win on their home track.

St Pat's Race Club Secretary/Manager Cheryl Krutli said the club was once again happy for the support of interstate and local trainers. "We're very happy, they're pretty good fields," she said. "We've got acceptances from three states - South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales - and we've had a few new trainers from NSW that we haven't had before which is also good." Ms Krutli said each new trainer added not only to the quality of the fields, but also to the atmosphere on the day. "Probably the most notable newcomer is Merv Rumble from Warren, and he's got four horses in," she said. "With four horses, when you think about him, his strapper, jockeys, people in the syndicates, owners that come, there could be somewhere between 15 to 20 people and that's just from that one trainer which is great.

"And we've got all our usual trainers, who are always fantastic supporters such as Trevor Day, David Page, Ron Campbell, David Halliday, Trevor Trenowden, and Mildura trainers Mick McGlynn and Ron Daniel." The influx of competitors and visitors would again give a big boost to the city, Ms Krutli said, with visitors arriving up to a week early to take in the city's many attractions. "One thing we've particularly noticed over the last four or five days is the number of visitors that are already in Broken Hill and staying for the races and coming and getting their tickets. "It's terriffic for tourism industry in Broken Hill because these people are taking in all the sites, spending their money around the town.

"Whether they're buying artwork, meals or merchandise locally, it's generating revenue for our economy at a time when everyone is struggling a bit." Ms Krutli said booked areas of the course had proven as popular as ever this year, while membership sales have risen in the last week. Those who took advantage of booked marquee tickets will have the benefit of the new Events Centre, after Council gave the building the green light on Wednesday. Although some minor works are still to be completed, Ms Krutli said the club was elated to have the new facilities available for race day. "What we found this year was that the pre-booked areas like the picnic sites and what was the marquees - now pavilion patrons - have had very enthusiastic and early booking.

"The pavilion is right to go, Council has been extremely supportive over the last few days considering the hurdles we've encountered along the way, and we're able to use it for St Pat's on Saturday. "They've given us some time to complete some smaller finer details. "The pavilion will be hosting Lion Nathan and the Thoroughbreds and Sprinters and Stayers patrons, there'll be about 650 people in the three groups. "It will be of great benefit to have (the pavilion), certainly better than setting up in a tent and being at the mercy of the weather. "Plus the pavilion is raised so it will give all the people in there a better view of the track, the racing and surrounding areas."

Those who didn't book a place in the new pavilion needn't fret however, with perfect conditions forecast for the weekend. "The weather forecast is fantastic for Saturday, so if the hard work of the committee and the pre-event planning all falls into place then it should be a fantastic day."

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