Big changes in store for Narrandera Cup

Narrandera Race Club is making a big change to its program, moving its marquee Narrandera Cup meeting for the first time to a Sunday.

In a major step to securing the club’s future, the Cup will now be run on Sunday, July 22.

Club racing manager Michael Bailey said it was a significant change for many to get their head around.

“Traditionally the Cup is held on a Saturday in August, but this year it will be a Sunday, due to prize money restrictions on Saturday racing,” Mr Bailey said.

“Previously it was a $12,000 race, but this year it will be a $30,000 race.

“We’re looking to attract horses from Victoria, Canberra and from the north.

“We have also changed the distance. It was a 1400-metre race, but now it’s a 1600m race, which is a traditional cup distance.

“It’s a big thing for racing and it is all to do with exposure.”

The meeting will be broadcast on Sky Racing 1 across Australia.

“There’s us and Coffs Harbour as the feature meetings in NSW that day,” Mr Bailey said.

“It puts us in a different league.”

The day will feature total prize money of $150,000 with eight or nine races, depending on nominations.

“Last year we programmed seven and got nine,” Mr Bailey said.

Final nominations will depend on how runners pull up after racing in Albury, with that track currently rated a heavy eight.

“Our track is a good four at the moment,” Mr Bailey said.

“Even if we got 10 or 20mm through the week that won’t change. The track is in pristine condition.”

The move will also be a big change for Narrandera’s social calendar

“Socially, it will be affected, but we did anticipate that,” Mr Bailey said. “Any change of this enormity will have an effect, but it is about the future of the club.

“It is a big change, but we are going in with an open mind. For the future of the club we didn’t have a lot of choice.”

The next race day - the TC Lee Memorial Meeting on August 18 - will have a “fun” focus.

“The Saturday August meeting will be a fun community day,” Mr Bailey said.

“We are promoting that one around marquees, people having a good time and having things on for the kids. It will be a different focus.”

Fashions on the field will still be a big focus on Narrandera Cup day, with about $4500 in prizes up for grabs in a range of categories, including headline sections Lady of the Day and Narrandera Shire Lady of the Day.

There will be full TAB facilities and catering available in all-weather comfort.

The Narrandera Cup will be held at the Narrandera Racecourse on Sunday, July 22. Gates will open at 11am with the first race expected at 12.10pm.