Sunday, 17 April 2005
: Albury Racing Club is the envy of country race clubs around Australia after another record-breaking CooperTools Albury Gold Cup carnival.
Since 1997 crowds at the Albury Cup meeting have increased by almost 400 percent to make the race day one of the biggest country racing events in Australia and the most popular in NSW by attendance.
Crowds at the Albury Cup rarely rose above 4000 until 1998 when Albury was granted half-day holiday for the Cup meeting.
Last Friday the attendance reached 18,637 - a 3000 increase on 2004 - for what has become the biggest sporting and social event in southern NSW.
ARC officials are now setting their sights on attracting 25,000 to the Cup meeting within three years while prizemoney for the Albury Gold Cup is all but guaranteed to rise from this year’s $65,000 to $100,000 in 2006.
Gate and bar takings from the Cup meeting amounted to more than half a million dollars on top of profit from record TAB betting of almost $2 million.
A delighted ARC chief executive John Miller, presiding over his first Albury Gold Cup carnival, said it was 95 per cent certain the Cup prizemoney would reach the six-figure mark for the first time next year as part of an overall upgrade of stakes and racecourse facilities.
“We are going to direct some of the revenue into the races and into improving the facilities,” Miller said.
“We want to put it back into the facilities to make it more comfortable and more enjoyable for people to ensure it is the number one carnival in NSW.
“We had more than 80 corporate marquees at this year’s carnival and we are fortunate that we have the space on our racecourse to increase that and cater for even bigger crowds.”
Destination Albury Wodonga general manager Steve Cooper said the Albury Gold Cup would directly inject at least $1.5 million into the local economy.
“That figure is a baseline figure and will substantially increase, probably into the multi-millions,” he said.