The Nationals Member for Lowan Hugh Delahunty said the close-knit community of Willaura will receive funding support from the Victorian Coalition Government to celebrate its racing history, rediscovered in an old bookies’ bag.
“The Willaura Cup is a new race day launched last year, after an old bookies bag full of memorabilia was given to the Ararat Turf Club (ATC), revealing the history of the long-disbanded Willaura Racing Club,” Mr Delahunty said.
Mr Delahunty said the Coalition Government is providing $24,250 to help local residents celebrate that history and attract spectators from Ararat and the Grampians region.
“The Willaura Cup is a sensational racing initiative to celebrate all those involved in the Willaura Racing Club, which ran its last race in November 1957, but was rediscovered just recently,” Mr Delahunty said.
“With funding from the Coalition Government’s Raceday Attraction Program, the Ararat Turf Club is keen to attract as many Willaura locals, past and present, to come and celebrate.
“There will be a special Willaura marquee enclosure, free race books, commemorative stubby holders and pens, and free food and drink vouchers for the first 1,000 ticket holders from Willaura and the surrounding districts.
“The Willaura Cup Day will also have important benefits to the local community, with a food and wine festival featuring local producers and a $1,000 foot race for the fastest footballers and netballers in the district,” Mr Delahunty said.
Ararat Turf Club Manager Adam Atchison said the Club would like to thank the Minister for Racing Denis Napthine and the Victorian Coalition Government for making it possible to have a dedicated Willaura residents’ enclosure on Willaura Cup Day.
“Willaura Cup Day is about remembering the Willaura Racing Club that disbanded in 1964 and the families and friends of the committee persons, trainers, jockeys and race horse owners that were involved with the club,” Mr Atchison said.
“Willaura Cup Day will be an annual event held on the last Sunday in April and we ask all Willaura and District residents as well as those that once called Willaura home to come along and enjoy a great day out.”
Minister for Racing Denis Napthine Dr Napthine said a total of $36,300 has been invested in this first ever staging of the Willaura Cup at Ararat. This includes $7,050 from Ararat Turf Club, $4,000 from Country Racing Victoria and $1,000 from the Ararat Council Events Team.
“The Coalition Government's Raceday Attraction Program is made up of all on-course wagering taxes that are put back to the racing industry to support initiatives aimed at increasing on-course attendance at Victorian race meetings,” he said.
“The Raceday Attraction Program aims to attract people back to the state’s racetracks and target new audiences through partnering with the local community,” Dr Napthine said.