Kate Stockton, Sophie Donohoe with Zahli Donohoe, 1, Cheleise Walters and Abby Chapman all from Grafton.
Kate Stockton, Sophie Donohoe with Zahli Donohoe, 1, Cheleise Walters and Abby Chapman all from Grafton. lesley apps

Punters out in support of Blues, Brews and Barbecues day

RACING: A year after a heatwave dashed their hopes of a bumper Blues, Brews and Barbecues race day, the Clarence River Jockey Club made up for it in spades on Sunday.

More than 1700 racegoers streamed through the gates to watch short-priced favourite Snitz (Matt Dunn) score a memorable win in the Country Championships qualifier before they settled down to the raw sounds of Phil Emmanuel and Mal Eastick.

For jockey club executive officer Michael Beattie, the day was a resounding success.

"The number is a little bit down on what we had two years ago, but that was a record crowd," he said.

"When you consider the inclement weather across the Valley over the weekend, a lot of people would have understandably not come out because they thought it was wet."

Beattie said he was also impressed by the behaviour of the crowd with only one reveller asked to leave the track.

The craft beers were flowing and the spirits were high for the afternoon, and for some punters it was a rather successful day out at the races.

It was a day for the favourites, as the well-maintained surface of the Grafton Racecourse refused to throw up any surprises for trainers.

"I actually think as a meeting, as a group of races put together, it was our best Blues, Brews and Barbecues race day we have had," Beattie said.

"There was so much quality of racing on show and I think there will be a lot of future winners to come out of the day."

The Country Championships qualifier saw another great field of runners and Beattie expects the concept is here to stay in the bush.

"I don't think there is any doubt it is growing as a concept," he said. "You can tell by the number of stables that contested the race, and even more that nominated for it."

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