WODONGA and District Turf Club is on a fact-finding mission at the time-honoured three-day Warrnambool racing carnival this week.
The club is hoping to replicate the success of the Warrnambool event in terms of economic impact to Wodonga by securing a public holiday for its cup meeting at the expense of Melbourne Cup day.
General manager Tom O’Connor, committeemen Terry Doolan, Terry Maher, Trevor Cutler and Brian Flanagan and track manager Dylan O’Neil are in Warrnambool looking at ways a similar event can be created in Wodonga.
The three-day carnival culminates today with the running of the Warrnambool Cup and Grand Annual Steeplechase.
The meeting has had a full-day public holiday since 2008.
“The amount of people who come to the carnival from outside the local area is mind-boggling,” Mr O’Connor said.
“As you would expect restaurants, motels and pubs are all full because of the races.
“The atmosphere in town is magnificent.
“The support they also get from the racing industry is pretty impressive.
“Over the three meetings you’ve got nearly 30 races with full fields.
“When you break that down into trainers, jockeys, owners, raceday officials you are talking about a significant amount of people.”
The public holiday was switched to the races from the Warrnambool Show with a crowd similar to the Albury Gold Cup of about 15,000 people expected to attend today.
Mr O’Connor confirmed the club’s submission which included 100 letters of support from local businesses had been lodged with Wodonga Council late last week.
It requires the council support to switch the public holiday.
“The documentation we’ve provided to council represents a strong business case for a cup day public holiday,” he said.