Why you really need to be at this year's Ballina Cup
THIS year's Ballina Cup will see more than pretty dresses and powerful horses flaunted, it will also see the club itself flaunt its own burgeoning status as a regional racing and training centre.
The Ballina Jockey Club is on the radar after attaining 'showcase' status and looks set to become a major asset to the North Coast town as an attractive option for South East Queenland racers.
This means good things for this year's cup where pre-sale tickets for the VIP marque have just about sold out.
Ballina Jockey Club general manager Matthew Bertram said the club is going from strength to strength and looks set to be perfectly placed to capitalise on a refurbished airport, and new federally funded highways north and south of the club which will open the region up the Hunter region.
"The Ballina Cup is massive for the local community," said Mr Bertram.
"The club's been here for a 115 years, and the Ballina Cup has been here for 101 years in one form or another.
"It is a great day for the local community and provides enormous economic value to the town.
"We spend an awful lot of money not just during the day but all through the year and this is our big day.
"Hopefully it will be something the town can be proud of about what is really a community based day."
Things couldn't be better for the club with 221 trainers nominating to race in this year's cup, a prize pool for the main race that has now jumped to $65,000 and major DA plans to upgrade the track.
The Ballina Cup will see six races with prize pools of $30,000, a major support race of $35,000 and the Ballina Cup at $65,000.
Mr Bertram said that in a comparison metropolitan mid-week races had an average prize pool of $20,000, and a major metropolitan race day in Brisbane had major prizes of around $60,000.
He said this made Ballina races an attractive option to now travel to.
One of the names floating about as part of the nominations is well-known Sunshine Coast trainer David Vandyke although the final field nominations won't be finalised until Tuesday.
There will be five marquees on the day, and band Fat Albert providing live music.
Five categories for Fashion on the Field are now up on the website with 'The Best Ballina Babe' as a new category open to women up to 30 years of age.
Pre-sale tickets for the day are $15 while tickets at the gate will be $20.
Tickets can be purchased online, from the Jockey Club and the Slipway Hotel in Ballina.