Warrnambool Racing Club has appointed Carl Hufer as its interim CEO after the shock resignation of Tom O'Connor.
O'Connor, who has been in the job for more than three years handed in his resignation two weeks ago and leaves the role next week, only weeks out from the three-day May Racing Carnival.
The Standard understands three candidates were interviewed for the interim position with Hufer, who has an extensive background in racing positions with Country Racing and Racing Victoria, starting in the interim position on Monday, April 3.
"I am excited at the opportunity to assist the Warrnambool Racing Club at this time and in particular with delivery of the iconic May Carnival," Mr Hufer said.
Club chair Mark McNamara said it was "delighted to have Carl on board as interim CEO given his extensive racing industry knowledge and experience".
"Carl will be a great asset to the club in the delivery of the May Carnival. We thank Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria for releasing Mr Hufer to undertake the interim CEO role," he said.
Mr McNamara said ticket sales suggested patron numbers would likely surpass 30,000 at the iconic carnival.
"Pre-sales for key areas such as hospitality packages and club memberships are strong," Mr McNamara said.
"Sales are currently on par with the fantastic results the club was able to achieve in 2022.
"All indicators in the lead up to the carnival are extremely positive and continue to gather momentum."
Mr McNamara said the club continued to field inquiries from all over Australia about the carnival.
"As in previous years, the club has had inquiries from interested parties nation-wide," he said.
"The amount of interest shown from outside of the region indicates that the TAB May Racing Carnival is still very much on the bucket list for racing enthusiasts throughout Australia."
Mr McNamara said the partnership the club had established with Wilsons Real Estate's Warrnambool and District Holiday Rentals was giving race goers a chance to find accommodation for the week. "This has provided race goers an opportunity to explore more accommodation options for their visit to Warrnambool," Mr McNamara said.
He said there was a large number of employees who worked at the event each year, but the club was searching for additional staff.
"The Warrnambool Racing Club is currently advertising for additional casual staff to work at the TAB May Racing Carnival," he said.
"Staff numbers are strong but there are still opportunities for casual bar attendants and event staff.
"Those interested are encouraged to contact the club for further details."
On the weekend, Member for Wannon Dan Tehan launched the racing club's hall of fame at a dinner to celebrate the club's 150th anniversary.
"It was wonderful to celebrate 150 years of the Warrnambool Racing Club with a special function at the racecourse," Mr McNamara said.
"The club was honoured to have Ciaron Maher and Craig Durden present, along with connections of Gold Medals and numerous descendants of Tommy Corrigan, Jim Houlahan, Kevin Lafferty and Francis Tozer."
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