CLEAR your diary, save the date, the Sapphire Coast Turf Club is about to make history this weekend.
For the first time ever, the club will host a two-day race meet, the Bega Cup Carnival.
Turf club secretary/ manager Rob Tweedie said it will be the biggest race meet at Kalaru and hopes it can develop into an iconic annual event.
“It’s the first time it’s ever been done,” Tweedie said.
“We are working from the bottom with this being the first year, but we want to work with trainers and tourism to see it develop.
“We want to sell the trainers on the coast and show them what we have to offer here,” he said.
With 14 races over the two days including feature race the Bega Cheese Bega Cup on Sunday, the carnival will attract some of the toughest competition the coast has seen yet.
“Wagga Wagga and Albury run a two-day cup carnival, it’s quite a big event for the town so it’s something we wanted to do.”
Tweedie said the club had become synonymous for its large number of successful female jockeys and figured this meet would be no different.
“Yeah I think we’ll have a fair few female riders at the meeting again.”
The weekend is aiming to become a pinnacle event for the club and is being hailed as family friendly.
“On Sunday we will have The Great Zamboni, he’ll be here to entertain the kids.
“It’s the cup day, so it’s a great day out for the whole family,” he said.
Tweedie said a major draw card for trainers and riders was the cash prizes on offer with a whopping $200,000 up for grabs across the two-day card.
“The feature race run over 1600 metres is a $35,000 race,” Tweedie said.
“The Betta Electrical Bega Town Plate over 1200 metres, that’s a $23,000 race.”
Tweedie said trainers are expected to come from far and wide to compete and hopes it will have a beneficial effect for the entire community.
“We’ll see trainers coming from far away because of the increased prize money,
“We’d like the town to get behind the idea and come along to the track for some fun.
“If we really get behind it then it wil benefit the whole shire, things like accommodation and restaurants,” he said.
However, Tweedie said he was keeping his expectations of the event “realistic”.
“It’s the first year, it might not be gigantic, but as we work on it we hope it could become a big sporting event for the weekend.”
Tweedie is encouraging people across the shire to head along to the turf club on the weekend and join in the fun, as community support could see the event flourish.