ORGANISERS of the Bendigo Cup say the event is growing in stature and attracting investment and tourism for the city.
Bendigo Jockey Club president Brendan Drechsler said Wednesday’s races confirmed the meet as one of the biggest days on Bendigo’s calendar.
The Cup drew more than 10,000 fans.
Mr Dreschler said that level of support created major benefits for the city.
“I would say it is country Victoria’s social and sporting event of the year,” he said.
“It’s a great day of racing. We had a vibrant crowd. The place just oozed atmosphere.”
Mr Dreschler said there were important flow-on effects for the local tourism trade and for giving the city broader exposure.
“It’s great for hotels and motels. We’re grateful for the fact that it’s a public holiday. It’s a cracking day.”
He said the recent return to the 2400m distance for the premiere race also helped improve the event’s reputation among horse trainers.
“I think we’re now strategically placed as a legitimate lead-up event to the Melbourne Cup and the rest of the Spring racing carnival.”
Jockey Club chief executive Ian Hart said he was buoyed by the large turn-out and enjoyment from the crowd.
“Everyone was really well behaved so we’re very pleased from that aspect,” he said.
“It reinforced Bendigo’s image as a great venue and a great event.”
The large crowds soaked in clear skies and sunshine at the side of the track and at the runway for the Myer Fashions on the Field.
Police reported relatively few incidents from the event.
Senior Sergeant Craig Gaffee said security ejected a small number of patrons but no arrests were made.
“It was an excellent result given the size of the crowds,” he said.
Senior Sergeant Gaffee praised the work of the Jockey Club and security in working with police to help patrol the track.