PREPARATIONS are well in hand at the picturesque Great Western Racecourse for the 140th running of the Seppelt Great Western Cup on Sunday, January 27.
The only meeting for the year hosted by the Great Western Racing Club, race day is a big family day out with plenty to see and do for patrons of all ages.
Last year’s races were hampered by the heat, but club manager Penny Penfold said excitement was building for a return to form in 2019.
“We are hoping for about 1500 people this year,” Penfold said.
“We didn’t have much luck last year with the weather, it was an extremely hot day. Start times were affected and that affects the crowd.
“We’ll be excited to get a good turn out this year.”
The grounds and track are looking good for race day.
“The rain we had just before Christmas was a great help for track preparations and the surrounds,” Penfold said.
“The track is in good condition, but we had to ensure we were pouring on the water in the last few weeks. The committee has done a great job to prepare it, led by the track manager (Carl Barry), who’s also the club president.”
A new pavilion has been constructed for about 100 patrons in the Bird Cage corporate area and 40 or 50 members on race day.
“It will be our first time racing with the new building in place,” Penfold said. “It is a covered area and will house our members and corporate guests. We’re pretty excited about that.”
Gates will open at 11am with the first race at 1pm. There will be seven races overall with the feature Seppelt Great Western Cup (race six) to jump just before 4pm.
A bus transfer will be provided for patrons, picking up from Stawell, Ararat and Halls Gap.
For those staying overnight, free camping on site will be available.
“You can come along for race day and stay on the racecourse reserve,” Penfold said. “There are powered and unpowered sites.”
There will also be glamping available - courtesy of an outside provider - set up just a short walk from the racecourse.
For further information and bookings for the corporate area, camping or glamping, contact -
- The club via its website: country.racing.com/great-western
- Club manager: Penny Penfold, 0418 124 289
On the day
There will be full catering and bar facilities on-course, as well as betting facilities for the TAB meeting, including seven bookmakers in the ring.
Fashions on the field will also be a drawcard. Patrons are encouraged to dress to impress with a big prize pool up for grabs across various categories.
Children will be catered for with the Kids Summer of Country Racing campaign, including the first 200 children through the gate receiving a backpack full of goodies. The Kelly Sports team will also be in attendance.
Penfold encouraged parents to bring the whole family.
“The kids can participate in supervised activities, play various games and sports activities,” she said. “There’s also craft activities and they can win giveaways throughout the day.”
Another highlight of race day is the Western Plumbing boat race, a foot race down the straight for teams of four in a man-made “land boat”.
“It’s a bit different and a bit of fun,” Penfold said. “There’s heats and finals with cash prizes of $1000 for first, $300 second and $200 for third, plus the best decorated boat gets $200.”
Having performed at the races for the last few years Jimmy Cupples will return to provide musical entertainment. He will be on stage between races later in the day, then into the evening after racing has finished.