They're off and racing for Xmas

The Lismore Turf Club is holding the last race meeting for the year – the Christmas Cup race day – this Friday, December 18, beginning at 2.20pm.

Secretary/manager of the Lismore Turf Club Michael Timbrell said they’d had more acceptances than they could take for the eight races.

“This meeting just before Christmas always attracts good support from trainers looking for that special bonus win before the holiday period,” Michael said. “Last year the meeting had 152 nominations and we thought that was good, but to break the 200 mark is just incredible.

“Despite the dry weather our track is in fantastic order. Our groundstaff have been working overtime continually irrigating and we expect to have a first class racing surface on Friday.”

“We always get an influx of people after 4pm with many businesses closing up slightly early, and with five races still to run after 4pm we expect the same to happen this year. This always creates a fun and happy crowd atmosphere and is a great way to begin Christmas celebrations for many.”

The club received 205 nominations and 175 acceptances but had no option than to restrict the meeting to eight races rather than divide a race and extend it to nine.

“We have only 82 tie ups at present and we simply don’t have the ability to accommodate so many horses,” Michael said. “We have received part funding from the Country Racecourse Development Fund to build another 20 tie ups and ironically the footings are going in now and the slab will be poured early on Friday morning.

“The club is delighted with the response to the meeting from owners and trainers and can do nothing but apologise to those connections whose horses missed a run.

“Once the new tie ups are completed, at a cost of $76,000, and we have 102 stalls to utilise, we will not face this problem again. As long as we don’t run into any construction difficulties, the new tie-ups will be ready for our first meeting of 2010 on Monday, February 15.”

Entry to this Friday’s Christmas Cup is $8 adults, $5 for pensioners and students and children under 18 are free with their parents.

Michael said the club supports the police campaign to restrict drink driving, and encourages people to use alternative forms of transport. He said the carpark was locked and secured overnight if people wanted to leave their cars.

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