A $13,000 funding boost and date change has taken the heat off the popular Dederang picnic races.
The volunteer committee is saddling up for a bumper day of relaxed racing and family entertainment this coming Saturday for its annual picnic race meeting.
The event, which attracts thousands of race-goers at its picturesque grounds, was called off in 2018 due to extreme hot weather forecasts.
The race day has been officially moved from January to March 16, which sandwiches it nicely between the Towong and Albury Gold cups in a "trifecta of country cups", said secretary Alanna Kirley.
Ms Kirley said the club had worked with Racing Victoria and consulted with the community to find a more suitable race date than January given the tighter heat policies in place to protect the welfare of horses, jockey and staff.
The promise of cooler March weather has lightened the workload of the volunteer committee and allowed it to focus its efforts on improving the appeal of its much-loved picnic race event, she said.
To that end the Victorian government has provided funding from its Victorian Racing Industry Fund Raceday Attraction Program to bolster numbers through the gates.
Ms Kirley said that the majority of the money had been used to provide a subsidised shuttle bus service between the Dederang racecourse and Albury-Wodonga, Beechworth, Myrtleford and Bright.
"Because there is no public transport and TAC is one of our major sponsors, we try to promote a safe way for race-goers to get home after enjoying a great time at the races," she said.
"We are offering the bus service for a nominal fee and children under 16 can travel free with an adult."
The event will also be bolstered with live entertainment from Albury band Lion Bear as well as supervised activities (with a complimentary showbag) for children at the adjacent sports oval.
In addition to the six-race program, there is more than $3000 in prizes up for grabs across six categories in the Fashions on the Field with registration from 12pm.
The fun won't stop at the last race with Danny Phegan and the Longreach Band set to keep the party atmosphere going at the Dederang Hotel long into the night.
The racing industry in the Hume Region generates $217 million for the Victorian economy, said Northern Victoria MP Jaclyn Symes.
“The Dederang Cup is an important race meeting in the heart of the region, and we’re proud to support this event to bring visitors to our region.”
- Gates open 9.30am, entry $20 ($30 with bus). To book transport go to Country Racing Victoria.