THE Muswellbrook Race Club (MRC) has received a massive boost just months before its showpiece event.
The minister for Public Service and Employee Relations granted a half-day public holiday (from noon onward) this week for the running of the organisation's 2020 Cup on Friday, March 27.
That meeting will follow the prestigious Country Championships Wild Card outing at Skellatar Park on Sunday, March 22.
And, it caps off a brilliant carnival for the club.
Muswellbrook Shire Council sought the community's views on whether the Muswellbrook Cup should be a half-day public holiday (from noon onward), a part-day public holiday (from noon to 6pm only) or a local event day.
"A half-day public holiday is a huge benefit to the organisation and hospitality businesses in town, in terms of locals supporting a long-term event," MRC general manager Duane Dowell said late last year.
"The Muswellbrook Cup attracts a lot of outside visitors to the shire.
"But, it's important it remains a strong local event as well.
"Thanks to Racing NSW's decision to boost our prizemoney, the Muswellbrook Cup will increase in prominence, too.
"That's largely due to Racing NSW partnering up with Destination NSW to help promote country cup meetings."
Bigger and better than ever after a successful move to the autumn date, the Muswellbrook Cup will boast a prize pool of $150,000.
The time-honoured Skellatar Sprint will also enjoy a financial rise to $75,000 which is sure to attract many top Sydney and Newcastle-based horses, trainers and jockeys.