VICTORIA’S peak racing bodies have thrown their support behind the creation of a Wodonga Cup full-day holiday.
Wodonga and District Turf Club officials including general manager Tom O’Connor met with Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria late last week about the proposed holiday which would replace the Melbourne Cup public holiday.
Country Racing Victoria chief executive officer Scott Whiteman said Wodonga had the potential to create a two-day carnival which would deliver the same economic benefits as events at Warrnambool and Swan Hill.
The club requires the support of Wodonga Council to switch the public holidays.
Mr Whiteman said he saw first hand the impact the Albury Gold Cup had on the local economy a week ago.
“The Albury-Wodonga catchment area is of considerable size so both clubs can prosper by conducting carnivals each year,” he said.
“The racing calendar system means we will have to wait and see what the outcomes on the council up there will be before making any moves for this year.
“But we are quite encouraged by the feedback we’ve received from Tom O’Connor and local businesses.”
The Warrnambool jumps carnival is held in early May and the three-day Swan Hill carnival is held on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Wodonga will be hoping to secure dates in the second half of the year coinciding with the Melbourne spring carnival.
Wodonga is located far enough away from Melbourne to drive up visitation numbers from racegoers and carnival participants.
The support of Racing Victoria and Country Racing Victoria will be included as part of the club’s submission to council.
Mr O’Connor said the industry’s support was crucial.
“It is another tick in the process,” he said.
“With the racing industry’s support along with the Wodonga Chamber of Commerce, the business case is continuing to build.”
He said the club was closing in on 100 letters of support from local businesses who employ about 4000 workers.