Carnival record will fall: Pavitt
By TONY WHITE
CLARENCE River Jockey Club chairman Bob Pavitt yesterday boldly predicted this year's Grafton July racing carnival would break all existing records.
Speaking at the official launch of the 10-day carnival at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club, before an audience of sponsors and media, Pavitt said early indicators suggested last year's record turnover figures would be bettered.
"Given decent weather we are very hopeful the records created last year will be broken," Pavitt said.
"All the indicators are there to suggest the carnival will be a huge success."
Pavitt and club directors were ecstatic the CRJC received 160 nominations for the opening day of the carnival next Thursday ? Westlawn Finance Prelude Day.
"Westlawn Day is one of the major indicators we work on to look at the overall carnival," Pavitt said.
"With a strong list of 160 nominations it looks like everything is coming together.
"There has been a lot of press talking about what interstate horses are coming to the carnival. That all helps create interest.
"And at the barrier draw luncheon next Monday nearly all the 250 seats available have been sold.
"We're all hoping this year's carnival is bigger and better than ever and so far all the indicators are extremely good."
A huge number of visitors are expected to converge on Grafton in the coming week and punters are expected to invest upwards of $12 million during the carnival.
The two main races on Thursday ? the $12,000 John Carlton Cup (1200m) and $12,000 Westlawn Finance Grafton Cup Prelude ? attracted 23 and 10 entries respectively.
Last year's John Carlton winner Sir Dan, who went on to run a gallant third to Takeover Target and Devil in the Ramornie Hcp, is again nominated.
Five-times Northern Rivers premier trainer John Shelton has also entered Lord Nediym and Rebelette.
Several other local horses notably, Diamond and Ice, trained by David Campbell, Murwillumbah Newmarket winner Umatrick, prepared by Felicity Firth and Phil McLeod's In Under There, will carry the local flag.
Leading local XXXX Gold Grafton Cup hope Concitare, trained by Bruce Swan and Aquatic Drive, trained by Terry Commerford, head the local chances in the Grafton Cup Prelude.
The Maclean Bowling Club July Carnival Farewell Race Day will be staged on Sunday, July 17, instead of its traditional Saturday, non-TAB date.
SOUTH Australian tuna king Tony Santic, owner of dual Melbourne Cup and Sydney Cup winner Makybe Diva, will be unavailable as guest speaker with leading Sydney journalist Max Presnell at the barrier draw luncheon on Monday week.
Santic has been called to Japan on business. Grafton's Olympic hockey hero Brent Livermore is being sought as a replacement.