A BUMPER crowd of 8500 enjoyed the Dunkeld races on Saturday with Pennon claiming a hat-trick of country cups taking out the $25,000 Royal Mail Hotel William Thomson Dunkeld Cup (1800m).
Dunkeld Racing Club chief executive officer Karen Van Kempen said the well behaved crowd was up about 1000 on last year with racegoers enjoying an almost perfect afternoon at the picturesque venue.
“The afternoon was almost perfect and the cup a very exciting race with the Andrew Payne-trainer Pennon taking out a hat-trick of cups after wins in the St Arnaud and Mortlake cups. It was a tightly contested race,” she said.
Ms Van Kempen said about 150 women entered fashions on the field.
“It took three or four hours to go through that process. Former apprentice jockey Joanne Price, who works with Hamilton trainer Allan Clark, won fashions on the field. She’s become a bit of a fashionista and some of the ladies take it very seriously,” she said.
“Judges Sally Robertson, Tony Cavanagh and Myra Howard had a very tough job. There was generally a great atmosphere at the races and some of the Racing Victoria chiefs were in attendance including the incoming CEO Bernard Saundry.”
Ms Van Kempen said the racing officials were impressed by the marquee event.“It’s obviously chalk and cheese when compared to the Melbourne spring carnival. Dunkeld is real grassroots racing, about families and friends getting together and catching up,” she said.
“We had lots of girls on netball trips, Christmas parties, bucks days. Everyone was well behaved and just wanted to enjoy themselves. Our main objective is to now maintain that high level, debrief after each year and tweak what needs to be tweaked. It’s a fairly successful formula and we’ll try and keep on top of it,” she said.
Hamilton police reported that the crowd at the Dunkeld races was almost incident-free both at the track and afterwards in Dunkeld and Hamilton.
Sergeant Rex Habel said a large crowd attended the races. “We only had two people arrested for being drunk, one person at the races and one afterwards,” he said.