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Perfect day for premier event

Monday, 30th March, 2009

Saturday's perfect racing conditions saw thousands turn up for the city's premier social event of the year, the St Pat's Races. History was made when race favourite, Adelaide galloper Nozi collected a hat-trick of Outback Cups, while locals collected big in the fashion stakes. Hundreds of hours of volunteer time ensured the race course and grounds were immaculate as the hordes of visitors and locals enjoyed the racing, fashions and social atmosphere.

The 44th annual event went off without a hiccup, and with Equine Influenza all but a distant memory. President of the St Patrick's Race Club Cheryl Krutli said the club could not have asked for better. "It's probably the most perfect day for racing in five years," Ms Krutli said.

"Obviously we've not had a chance to tally up tickets through the gates and revenue taken through general admission and membership, but what we did particularly notice was that prepaid was very popular for a lot of our patrons. "We will equal 2007 if not more which was about 8,700." The club said this year's racing field of 87 was 'outstanding' compared to last year when EI saw the field cut back by more than 40 horses. While there are no official figures, Dubbo bookmaker Barry Brebner, who has been attending Broken Hill's St Pat's races for around 30 years, said punters were out in force but with mixed luck. "It's very good, very good weekend, we're very busy, it's a beautiful day with lots of horses and good racing," he said.

"Business is good, no complaints, it's been a mixed day with some winning and some losing. "I think it's a better day for racing today than last year and it's a bigger crowd."Fashions of the Field was again popular with close to 200 fashionistas entering for their share in $16,000 worth of prizes. Prints were back as were autumnal colours and hats, but according to judge Kate Freebairn, there was still room for the classics. "I think there's a lot of nice classic pieces which always look nice for the races, but then some standout colourful and unusual outfits which really grab the attention."

she said. "And I'd say this year's fashions are probably of a higher standard than the last couple of years. "It was hard to narrow them down but when it came to picking a winner there was mostly one real standout." Former Broken Hill now Adelaide resident Jayd Foote was crowned Colleen of the Course in an above the knee black shift dress with a multi coloured circle print of orange and silver and matching orange hat. Local George Cole, who celebrates his 80th birthday this week, was named Most Debonair Gent in a fawn coloured suit with brown tie, brown and gold coloured pocket handkerchief and camel hat.

Police said they were happy with the crowd attributing the lack of full strength beer, spirits and some wines to the good behaviour. The club will hold a review meeting on Thursday night.

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