THE Bendigo Harness Racing Club has won the prestigious Victorian Club of the Year award for the first time.
The BHRC edged out the likes of Ballarat, Cranbourne, Geelong and Shepparton for the 2012 award on the back of its successful community-minded promotions.
The Race For Fun Club, run in association with the Bendigo Advertiser, the win a trip to Paris promotion at the Bendigo Pacing Cup and the recentNew York trip giveaway at the Anniversary Cup were key factors in the BHRC’s success.
“Any award is not easy to win, so we’re very proud to win this award for thie first time,’’ BHRC general manager David Aldred said yesterday.
“It’s a culmination of a number of things. The club has taken a new direction and it’s starting to pay dividends.
“We made a decision to put ourselves out in the community more and get Lord’s Raceway back out there as a major entertainment centre for the Bendigo community.
“Charity promotions and put on major events to attract people back to the racetrack were key parts of that. Crowds at racetracks have been dropping all over Australia except at major events, so we made a decision to put more promotion into our major events and that seems to be working well.
“If you give people what they want they will come back to the races.”
The Bendigo region dominated the awards night at Melton on Saturday night.
The Strathfieldsaye-based Glenn Douglas stable had a big night.
Douglas won the Trainer of the Year and Metropolitan Trainer of the Year double, his former stable star Make Mine Cullen won the Victorian Mare of the Year and Heather Anderson was named Owner of the Year.
Ellen Tormey, who is now based in Bendigo, won the Victorian Young Driver of the Year.