Golden: Liv Clarke at the Western Hotel, which is part of the Back Ballarat and Support the Local campaign. Photo: CHIPPY RIVERA

Celebrate the Cup on your own turf

November 19, 2020 BY

ALTHOUGH the Sportsbet Ballarat Cup will run without spectators this year, the Ballarat Turf Club predicts trainers, horses and jockeys will put on an exciting, competitive show this Saturday, 21 November.

Trainer, Dan O’Sullivan will be there this weekend with his mare, Affair to Remember.

His team has been challenged by the restrictive 2020 climate and its limited racing opportunities, but they are nonetheless keen to see their horse run in the Cup.

“Affair to Remember and the campaign are going along well. Although the race she won two weeks ago at Flemington was a target race for her, I always had the Ballarat Cup in the back of my mind,” he said.

Flute or cup of bubbly?

“Any of your hometown Cup wins are sought after. It means a lot and it would be a huge to be able to pull it off.

“She’s only four years old, and her win the other day was her fourth. She’s won two at Sandown and two at Flemington.”

This Spring Carnival season, the racing team has experienced major events like the Melbourne Cup and Cox Plate without the roar of crowds.

“As participants, we’ve gotten used to it,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Ballarat Turf Club CEO, Belinda Glass said the most important thing for her team is that the race can run at all.

“Preparations are not as crazy as they would normally be; putting up marquees, structures, organising bands and Fashions on the Field, but there is plenty still happening,” she said.

“We still have our Magic Millions Clockwise Classic; the only race where the horses run in the opposite direction, and the team is working hard behind the scenes to ensure our lawns, gardens and roses look good on camera.

“We have the benefit of still being broadcast via Racing.com, and we’re pleased with the field for the races, with more than 10 local runners, two group one winners and stakes winners in the Cup nominations.”

Although the public won’t be attending action out at Miners Rest, Ballarat Turf Club are encouraging residents to still enjoy the event remotely.

This is possible through the Central Square Ballarat Fashions off the Field initiative, calling people to dress up in race-day style outfits and tag #centralsquareballaratfotf, and the Back Ballarat and Support the Local campaign which asks the city to patronise their nearby bars and cafes.

The Western Hotel’s Dan Cronin said support has been needed from Ballarat locals in the COVID climate more than ever before, and they’ve been “outstanding” in recent months, especially this spring racing period.

“We’re booked out of Ballarat Cup day, which is wonderful. Ballarat has shown our business and many others a lot of support,” he said.

“It means we can give our teams some secure employment to keep the ball rolling, and we’re hopeful of some easing of restrictions to get back to a COVID normal.

“We encourage as many people as possible to support local business, whether they’re local or people from out of town. Be patient until things ease, we can get more people into our venues and increase our offerings.”

The Fashions winner will get four $50 Central Square vouchers, and a $100 Ballarat Turf Club hospitality voucher is also up for grabs, to be used once restrictions ease.