A day at the races

Lismore Turf Club manager Michael Timbrell reckons the dust storm that swept through Lismore the day before the Lismore Cup helped to create a friendly atmosphere.

More than 6000 punters attended the annual race day and, according to Mr Timbrell and the police, they were a fairly well-behaved bunch.

“We had the least number of incidents we've ever had in relation to alcohol and behaviour - the police said it was the best Lismore Cup they've been involved with,” Mr Timbrell said. “I think a lot of people were looking forward to the races but, when the dust storm hit thought perhaps it wasn't going to go ahead, so there seemed to be this really happy, grateful feeling that just pervaded the whole crowd.”

Mr Timbrell said he believes new alcohol restrictions also helped.

“I definitely think the no under 18s rule had an effect - we weren't having to deal with underage people trying to get drinks from their friends and then not being able to handle the effects,” he said. “We also implemented measures like cutting off the full strength alcohol at 4pm and no full strength spirits for the whole day.”

The winner of the 2009 Lismore Cup was Hecentadove, an outsider ridden by Marlon Dolendo and trained by John Everson from Ballina.

“He had raced the Sunday before and had won in a lesser grade race. Then he backed up five days later and led all the way - they just couldn't run him down. He didn't win by much but it was a gutsy, honest win,” Mr Timbrell said. “The first five horses over the line only had a length between them so it was a very exciting finish for the crowd.

“It was really great to see a local pick up the Cup and he was about 30 to 1, so a few lucky people would have collected a very nice dividend.”

Richmond Police said they were generally happy with the conduct of patrons with only a small number asked to leave the racecourse due to intoxication. Later in the evening, three people were charged for conduct offences in the CBD while four people were charged with drink driving.

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