Barriers open for the July Carnival
By TONY WHITE
THE barriers will open today for the Clarence River Jockey Club's (CRJC) launch of the July Racing Carnival at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club, South Grafton.
A gathering of sponsors, local businessmen and media have been invited to attend the official opening of the 10-day Grafton carnival.
More than $780,000 in prizemoney will be distributed over five TAB race days.
The carnival kicks off next Thursday with the Westlawn Finance Prelude Day featuring the $12,000 Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude and $12,000 John Carlton Cup.
The South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club South Grafton Cup Day follows on Sunday, July 10 featuring the $45,000 South Grafton Cup.
At Grafton racecourse on Monday, the CRJC will host the official barrier drawn luncheon for the $125,000 Qantaslink Ramornie Hcp and XXXX Gold Grafton Cup.
South Australian-based tuna king Tony Santic, the owner of dual Melbourne Cup and Sydney Cup winner Makybe Diva and doyen of Sydney racing journalists Max Presnell will be guest speakers. Tickets are available through the CRJC.
The Listed Ramornie Hcp and $30,000 Sportsman Guineas highlight the Ramornie Day program on Wednesday, July 13, and on Thursday, July 14, the XXXX Gold Grafton Cup, won last year by Pacific Dancer, $25,000 Sir James Kirby Hcp and $22,500 Ten Network Plate, the major races.
The carnival rounds out with the Maclean Bowling Club Farewell Race Day on Sunday, July 17 featuring the $25,000 Maclean Bowling Club Maclean Cup.
Last year's carnival produced record turnover for the CRJC and chairman Bob Pavitt is hopeful the club can better the figures this year.
A host of owners and trainers from around NSW, Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand have already signalled their intentions to have runners over the popular carnival considered the 'springboard to excellence' and one that annually draws thousands of visitors to Grafton.