ENTRIES for next week's TAB Warrnambool May Racing Carnival are 10 per cent down on last year's record but that won't stop officials programming 10 races on each of the three days.
By the noon deadline, 977 nominations were lodged for 27 races over the three days. Last year the number was 1086.
Warrnambool Racing Club chief executive officer John Green said he was pleased with the interest in the carnival.
Racing Victoria has left the door open for more entries, extending the deadline until Thursday at noon.
But Green is confident the club will divide several races on the first two days of the carnival, including the maiden hurdle on Tuesday, giving punters 30 races across the three days.
Green said the quality of entries was high and the club was coming off unprecedented numbers.
"With the change in the nomination format I think some of those figures from previous years was over-inflated," he said.
"Maybe we have had a settling with that, maybe people who are realistically coming down, they have put their horses in."
Green said that under the free nomination system, trainers in recent years had entered horses in every possible race to keep their options open.
"Last year the Lloyd Williams stable might have had 57 nominations and I don't think they brought a horse down."
Entries for the premier jumps races reflected the overall slip in numbers with next Tuesday's feature, the Brierly Steeplechase attracting 12 nominations, eight fewer than last year.
But it's a quality dozen who have entered with defending champion Cats Fun and last Saturday's Von Doussa Steeplechase winner Palmero heading the list.
Thursday's Grand Annual Steeplechase has attracted 11 nominations, down from 15 last year.
The timing of Easter and the Oakbank Carnival has left trainers with eight days between carnivals, limiting the number of horses backing up at Warrnambool.
The feature flat races have good numbers. The listed Warrnambool Cup has 31 entries while the Wangoom Handicap - the Newmarket of the Bush - has 37. A new addition to the program, the futurity race on the second day has attracted 45 nominations.