Next best day to Ipswich Cup as public allowed back
IT may not be the Ipswich Cup meeting regional racegoers have come to savour each year but it's the next best thing.
Up to 1500 members of the public will be allowed free access to Saturday's metropolitan race meeting at the Ipswich Turf Club.
That will be the first time the general public can attend an afternoon of racing in Ipswich since last October. The Bundamba venue was closed for major development work last year before the COVID-19 shutdown in March delayed any plans for regular racegoers to return. That is until this weekend.
With two tradition-rich listed races on the nine-event program, Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching was pleased to have a limited number of racegoers able to watch the action live.
"It's the first time the public has been allowed since COVID,'' Kitching said.
"If we got to that number (1500), we would have to close the gates.''
The public admission is separate to provision for 100 owners in the Eye Liner Lounge and 120 members in the new Grange function room.
"They will basically be the only people allowed in the grandstand,'' Kitching said.
After those rooms fill up on a "first-in best dressed basis'', other members and owners can join the public areas set aside in the general viewing terrace and spacious court yard up to the gardens.
"That area is big enough to allow up to 1500 people,'' Kitching said.
The listed races are the time-honoured $85,000 Eye Liner Stakes (1200m) and $125,000 Gai Waterhouse Classic (1350m), which are usually run on Ipswich Cup Day in June.
With more than 130 nominations received, Kitching expected some good quality fields on Saturday.
Gates open at 10.30am and the public will need to register their details on arrival.