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Grafton pilgrimage makes it 53 straight years at carnival

FREQUENT VISITOR: Anne Munsie has travelled from Sydney to Grafton every year since 1962 for the July Racing Carnival.
FREQUENT VISITOR: Anne Munsie has travelled from Sydney to Grafton every year since 1962 for the July Racing Carnival.

ANNE Munsie hasn't missed a July Racing Carnival in Grafton for more than 50 years.

Her annual pilgrimage from Sydney began in 1962, alongside her late husband Norman Munsie - a career jockey who rode in Grafton every year until his retirement in 1990.

"On our first visit we had my son Glenn, then five months old, with us and the excitement must have had an effect on him ... he's now a media manager with SportsTAB for Tabcorp," Anne said.

Even after Norman gave up racing, the couple continued to make the journey to Grafton each year.

When he died in 2004, their daughter Michelle took his place to keep up the tradition.

There's been more than a few changes to the carnival since Anne's first visit.

Fashions change, hemlines rise and fall and crowd numbers do the same.

"Back then the carnival used to run over six weeks," she said.

"Grafton was one of the biggest country racing carnivals but times have changed ... in the last few years the numbers have been down so it's good to see them coming back up again," Anne said.

Despite spending a lot of time at the race track, Anne confessed she doesn't spend a lot with the bookies.

"I'm too busy catching up with people and sometimes I don't see the horse race," she said with a laugh.

"We've met so many lovely people and made good friends over the years, it's like a big reunion."

Norman began his apprenticeship as a jockey in the early 1950s aged 15.

While he didn't ride many of the big-name horses, Anne said he was known as a "money rider" or a jockey who excels in rich races.

Topics:  clarence river jockey club, july racing carnival 2014



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