Punters back the bookies
By TONY WHITE
WHILE TAB turnover was down slightly on last year, Clarence River Jockey Club chairman Bob Pavitt said Westlawn Finance Prelude Day on Thursday should not be judged purely on turnover figures.
Last year TAB punters wagered $1.39 million on the meeting, opposed to $1.26 million this year.
However, bookmaker turnover, crowds and bar figures increased.
"While overall turnover was down slightly, you can't expect to go up every year," Mr Pavitt said.
"Last year our turnover jumped enormously from about $1.2 million to $1.4 million.
"The TAB turnover was still much better than we were used to in previous years, certainly we're nowhere near the old levels.
"You have got to put it in perspective.
"Some race clubs don't even reach those type of figures for their major cup days.
"The crowd was certainly the biggest I've seen for Westlawn Day in many, many years. That in itself augurs well for the carnival.
"It's been a fantastic start with the people there, thanks to Westlawn and the effort they make to ensure it was a great family day out.
"That certainly worked, I've got no doubt.
"Everyone there was happy and appeared to be enjoying themselves.
"Really, the kick off to the carnival was tremendous."
Mr Pavitt remained upbeat that overall TAB turnover for the carnival would still surpass last year's figures.
Bookmaker turnover at Westlawn Day rose from $178,000 to $194,000.