Spring race day set to be hot on and off the track
SPRING racing is in full swing and what better way to celebrate it tomorrow than to be at Gladstone's well-appointed Ferguson Park racecourse where the meeting coincides with the running of the $3 million Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in Melbourne.
From all reports it seems that Gladstonites and folk from the surrounding distict are thinking likewise as indications are that a bumper crowd will flock into Ferguson Park, which will be the venue for a well-supported five-race card.
With the mercury tipped to climb to 31C on Saturday, undoubtedly racing could play second fiddle to fashion as Gladstone's feminine set will be frocked-up for the occasion, enhancing their reputation which already has them high-placed in the fashion stakes.
According to Gladstone Turf Club president David Weinert, who is himself something of a fashion buff, the response to Saturday's gala race day has been nothing short of staggering.
"It's quite amazing really as we have been taking bookings for a number of months now," Weinert said.
"We are sold out of the popular marquees on the grounds with 20 fully booked and no room for any more.
"This concept, where groups and corporate sponsors party and entertain under the marquees which overlook the racing action on track, has been a real winner for the club. It provides a fabulous atmosphere for all concerned."
He said the reason for the early sell-out of the marquees and similarly for the table-setting bookings under the betting auditorium was because Gladstone people were racing starved.
"We haven't had a meeting programmed at Ferguson Park since August and the locals are race starved," he said.
"They love their racing in Gladstone and both the men and women enjoy dressing up for the occasion to celebrate horse racing which is an institution in Australia.
"Cox Plate Day on Saturday is one of the biggest for Australian racing and it is also one of our club's best meetings. Bring it on."
He urged racegoers to get out to Ferguson Park early to avoid any delays at the entry point.
Weinert himself hopes to be part of the "winners are grinners" brigade tomorrow as his favourite horse, Master Greig, who he races with friends in a syndicate, is engaged in the BM 75 Handicap (1000m) at Ferguson Park.
"He is a very smart horse on his day and does handle the sand conditions well at Ferguson Park. I hope he can win and really expect him to be hard to beat", he said.