Can’t get to the races? Club keeps Carnival vibe buzzing
WHILE the 2020 July Racing Carnival might be unlike any other without the usual massive crowds, one club in Grafton is determined to keep the racing fever vibe buzzing in Grafton.
The Grafton District Services Club will host a racing event on both the main days of the carnival, to cater for those unable to attend the races due to COVID-19 restrictions.
"With numbers limited out at the track, we thought we'd create something for our members and guests who can't get out there," GDSC chief executive officer Nathan Whiteside said.
"We're stoked the race club has been allowed to have a crowd out there. (Clarence River Jockey Club CEO) Michael Beattie and his team have done a fantastic job on organising what they can with the restrictions.
"We're going to offer something for those who can't get out there."
The event will be one of the first major events held at the club since restrictions lifted on July 1 and allowed events of this type.
The days, which start at 12pm for both Ramornie Day on Wednesday, and Grafton Cup Day on Thursday, will be hosted by former local race expert and caller Steve Hawkins, with noted broadcaster Chris Scholtz alongside.
"They usually come down to do the calcuttas for us, but because they're Queenslanders and unable to work out at the track they'll be here," Mr Whiteside said.
Mr Whiteside said they would give their expert tips and betting information throughout the day and before races.
Mr Hawkins would also do phantom calls of both the Ramornie Handicap and Grafton Cup, a popular prelude to the big races, and the club would have punters and trivia challenges as well as sweeps for those looking for a quieter investment.
"We've done some good presale tickets," Mr Whiteside said. "(July Carnival) won't be as big, but it'll still be a great week for everyone.
"There's still be a bit of a buzz around town, and we're hoping here at the club we can add to it."
The traditional Ramornie and Grafton Cup calcuttas will still proceed, with tickets to tonight's Ramornie event on sale from 5pm.