Wodonga Gold Cup holiday only a jump away

Tom O'Connor
Tom O'Connor

A PUBLIC holiday will be declared for the Wodonga Gold Cup this year if city councillors agree at a meeting tonight.

The issue goes before the council after a commitment from Racing Victoria to allocate Friday, November 28, for the cup.

If councillors agree to a holiday for the Gold Cup, the council is required to get state government approval, expected to be a formality — for Wodonga it would be in lieu of the Melbourne Cup holiday.

Operations manager for Racing Victoria Paul Bloodworth has given a three-year commitment to allocate the last Friday in November for the prestigious meeting.

Wodonga and District Turf Club general manager Tom O’Connor said yesterday it wants to make the Gold Cup its premier event and showcase the city.

“It’s decision time now. It’s up to the seven councillors,” Mr O’Connor said. “We have built what we believe is a pretty strong case.”

Racing Victoria had originally allocated Sunday, November 30, for this year’s Gold Cup.

But it agreed with the Wodonga club’s request to hold the event two days earlier and its bid for a public holiday.

Mr Bloodworth has allocated November 27, 2015 and November 25, 2016, for the cup.

“Obviously the future allocation of the date will entirely depend on the performance of the day,” Mr Bloodworth said.

“So while were are happy to provide in-principle support for allocating the date over the next three years, it will be subject to ongoing review to ensure the club and industry are happy with its performance.”

The Wodonga club’s three big attractions for the year are its Gold Cup, a Caulfield Cup day meeting and the traditional Boxing Day meeting.

Mr O’Connor said holding the cup on a Sunday had been “a bit stagnant”.

Last year’s crowd was estimated to have been 2500, but that figure might double if the meeting was allocated a public holiday.

Mr O’Connor said his club had a five-year future plan for developing the Gold Cup even though Racing Victoria works on a three-year cycle for allocating dates.

The Gold Cup holiday issue was raised at the council’s meeting last month and it asked the club to gauge opinion in the community.

That has been done and a report on the feedback forms part of the council agenda.