- Saturday, March 3
- Gates open: 11am
- Entry: $20
- Bar facilities: 11am to 8pm
- First race: 1.45pm
- Fashions on the Field: After race two
- Jillaroo Sprint and Jackaroo Dash: After race four
IT’S time to saddle up for one of the best social occasions on the calendar, with the 2018 Carrathool Races to launch from the barrier on Saturday, March 3.
Far more than just a day of action on the track, the “last of the boughshed races” is a supreme social day with hundreds ready to celebrate.
Carrathool Jockey Club president Mick Armstrong hoped a crowd of over 1500 would be on hand to enjoy the iconic event.
“You’ve got to come out and experience the outback, if you’ve not experienced it before,” Mr Armstrong said.
“It is a very good day socially. It’s just a bit different.
“Afterwards you can walk to the pub for that atmosphere, then walk back to your car and stay out underneath the stars.”
The Carrathool Jockey Club was established in 1883 and has been successfully carrying on the tradition of country racing in western NSW for 134 years.
The bar and betting area at the famous boughshed races are aptly covered in boree boughs and shade cloth to shelter race-goers from the summer sun.
“It is one of those bush meetings; it’s the last of the boughshed cups. Ours is the only one that uses boughs for shade.”
The forecast for this year is mild, with temperatures expected in the mid-to-high 20s.
Mr Armstrong said dry conditions over the last 12 months had been good for the track.
“It’s always a challenge (to get it up); we’re just trying to get a few clods under control,” he said.
“We can’t do much with it during the year. We just have to wait until it’s a little closer and give it a tickle up.
“We’ve got the sprinklers going to freshen (the grounds) up. An inch of rain last week would be handy, but it is Carrathool, you can’t expect too much greenery.”
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Stewards inspected the track on Saturday, with nominations to open after they have given their approval.
There will be six races on the card with the main race being the $14,500 RivCott Carrathool Cup. There will be a prize pool of $50,000 on offer across the day.
Last year Wagga trainer Trevor Sutherland dominated proceedings, sweeping every race.
“We’ll see how the trainers go this year,” Mr Armstrong said.
“One trainer took out everything last year. It has not happened before at Carrathool. The same jockey won five races for him.”
It would not be a race day without fashions on the field. There is more than $7000 in prizes over four categories - Belle of the Boughshed (under 25 years old), lady of the day, best-dressed gentleman and best-dressed couple.
Another highlight of race day is the Jillaroo and Jackaroo Dash foot races. Held on track in the dirt and dust, they will pass the finish line in front of the delighted and vocal crowd.
Carrathool Jockey Club will provide a continuous barbecue, licensed bars, refreshments and entertainment continuing well into the night. No glass is allowed on course, but a range of beverages will be available - beer, wines, spirits, mixed drinks and soft drinks with a ticket tent operating for quick and easy service.
Wristbands will identify those over 18 so they can be served in the licensed area.
Buses will run between the Carrathool Pub and the racecourse until after midnight when the pub shuts.