IF public opinion is any indication, the Ballarat Cup will be held on a Saturday next year.
The Courier has this week run an online poll asking if people preferred a Saturday or Sunday meeting for the town’s premier racing event.
And the result was overwhelming in favour of the Saturday, with more than 80 per cent voting for it.
The Ballarat Turf Club agrees.
A proposal to Racing Victoria has already been sent to have the event held on the same weekend next year, but one day earlier.
According to the turf club’s chief executive officer Lachlan McKenzie, if the cup was moved to the Saturday it would attract a crowd of 20,000 within three years.
“The potential benefits are far more broad-reaching in the community than just racing,” Mr McKenzie said.
“The turf club is working with Ballarat Regional Tourism to put on a whole weekend of tourism in Ballarat.
“We’ve got a vision of having an event on Friday, the racing on Saturday and then Sunday is an opportunity for racegoers to visit other tourism hot spots in the region.
“Every bed in Ballarat will be full.”
Commerce Ballarat chief executive Jodie Gillett also said retailers would back a Saturday meet.
“It can only be a bonus for the city from a tourism perspective,” Ms Gillett said.
“We would have the option of attracting people to the city for a weekend. We could get them here on a Saturday and they would stay overnight.”
Ms Gillett said a Saturday meeting would also raise the Ballarat Cup’s status.
“Suddenly all eyes are on Ballarat because it’s the stand-alone Saturday race meeting.”