Armidale Jockey Club hopes Melbourne Cup fever continues when its meeting with the biggest prizemoney on offer begins on Sunday.
Ladies Day is set to hit the local racecourse in a Racing NSW Showcase meeting and with every race worth $30,000, the club’s secretary-manager Jim Dedes is expecting a bumper crowd.
“It's the most prizemoney that's ever been given away in Armidale, it's a quarter of a million dollar race day,” he said.
“We have fashions in the field and we have a flower wall, a big wall of flowers and people stand in front of it and get their photo taken and it's quite nice.
“There's a car display which is run by the Classic and Specialist Car Club of Northern NSW and it is quite a good display so it is worth coming over to have a look at that as well.”
Eight races beckon with some of country NSW’s top racehorses, including local horses and recent winners William Wain’s The Equinator and Paul Grills’ The Skrill.
“We ended up with 104 starters here so that is quite a big day for us, eight races,” Dedes said.
“The Showcase is really put on for the country trainers to get a chance of getting some good money so they are coming from all over country NSW to race.
“They are from Muswellbrook, Scone, Port Macquarie, Tamworth of course, we have got a couple from Texas.
“I think there is some from Dubbo. Greg McFarlane I think he trains at Wyong or Gosford and he is coming up here as well so they are coming from all over the place.
“Nearly all the Armidale trainers are represented there.”
With ladies receiving free entry and champagne on arrival, Dedes encouraged the community to come out and support the meet.
“There could be some local winners. It will be a tough day but that's what racing is all about,” he said.
“We just want people to come over and enjoy themselves.”
Armidale trainer Stirling Osland is one of the main local hopes with six starters at Sunday’s TAB meeting.
He’ll combine with leading regional rider Peter Graham for three strong contenders on the eight-race programme.
Exilia Miss will be one of those strong contenders in the Rapidclean Supermarket BM 60 1900-metre event.
She comes into the race off a last-start win in Tamworth’s Melbourne Cup meeting on Tuesday.
“She carried 59 kilos and it was a nice strong win, so dropping five kilos in better grade makes her hard to beat as she’s progressed,” Stirling enthused.
“We’ve only had her six weeks and she’s improved levels from her latest Victorian form.”