Ramornie crisis

ONE of the premier races of the Grafton July Racing Carnival has been left without a sponsor as part of the fallout of the international financial crisis.

And the Clarence River Jockey Club (CRJC) has put out a rallying call to find a new one.

CRJC chairman Bob Pavitt said if a sponsor could not be found for the $130,000 Ramornie Handicap, the club would have to foot the bill itself, but the prizemoney would have to be reduced.

Even then, it would not be sustainable.

For the past three years the Ramornie has been sponsored by Grafton's Black Toyota, but its sponsorship arrangement ended after the 2008 July carnival.

The CRJC was in the final stages of negotiation with a potential new major sponsor, but that fell through because of the international financial meltdown.

“We are approaching people now to see if they are interested,” Mr Pavitt said.

“We hope we might get some bites through publicity, but it is very hard in this (economic) climate.”

Mr Pavitt said there had not been as much difficulty finding sponsors for some of the lower prizemoney races.

“But for the bigger sponsorships you have to shop around,” he said.

He said sponsors did not have to put up the full $130,000 prizemoney offered, and different packages could be negotiated according to a sponsor's needs.

“We need to find someone fairly quickly to give them full value for their dollar,” he said.

He said a sponsor could get good bang for their bucks.

“The Ramornie is held during the famous Grafton July Carnival and is one of the most highly rated 'listed' races in Australian country racing,” he said.

“Publicity-wise, the sponsor's name is seen on Sky Channel on 19 TAB days. That's 152 races they'll have their names up there.

“There's hoarding on the winning posts and in the parade ring and there's exposure in the national press and on television during July.”

He said he believed that in most cases sponsorship would be tax deductible.

“This race is known throughout Australia and offers an excellent opportunity for a sponsor,” he said. “We are keen to discuss sponsorship on either a one-off or a long-term arrangement.”

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