WHEN the final race is run today, a new era will begin at the Ballarat Turf Club as Belinda Glass takes over the reigns from outgoing chief executive Lachlan McKenzie.
Ms Glass, a long time assistance to Mr McKenzie, has been handed a position which is seen as one of the plum racing jobs in Victoria.
At her disposal, she has a club less than two hours from 27 racecourses around the state, with a large and ever expanding training facility including an uphill course the envy of trainers across the country.
She has a club which is now home to the richest country cup in Australia, the highlight of a $1.8 million racing day.
"The club is in a really good sound position that's for sure," Ms Glass said.
"But it really has some exciting times ahead as far as future development goes and what's in the planning pipelines.
"We've got the construction of the McEvoy stables starting early in the year and we've recently had a trip to Japan to look at the uphill woodchip tracks."
Mr McKenzie is overseeing his ninth and final cup, the sixth on a Saturday.
"I've enjoyed it more and more each year as we've got better at organising it," he said.
"Having it as a standalone on a Saturday is one of the best things that has happened to this cup in its history.
"All in all, it's with a heavy heart and lot of excitement, but overall there is a pride in what we've done and the excitement for the future under Belinda's leadership."
Mr McKenzie said he leaves knowing the club is in a good state.
"It's important to know that over the past eight years, the horse population has gone from 170 horses to over 530," he said.
"The McEvoy stable will bring 100 horses and then we've also got two other trainers from Caulfield coming here as well and they'll bring about 80 between them.
"By this time next year, the horse population will be over 700 which puts it on par with Flemington."
Despite recent controversy over trainer Darren Weir's suspension from racing, Mr McKenzie paid a tribute to Weir's work at the course.
"It should be said that despite what happened in the end, Darren Weir put this centre on the map and showed that it was possible to train horses at the highest level in the country," he said.
"And even since his demise, the momentum has continued to roll on even more so and more trainers are coming in."
Ms Glass agreed. "I think the racing results have been shown from Ballarat as a training centre. We are lucky enough that we have great potential to still accommodate additional horses here."
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BALLARAT CUP DAY
A CROWD of more than 10,000 is expected to flock in all their finery to the Ballarat Turf Club today for the running of the time-honoured Ballarat Cup.
Gates will fly open at 11am with the first race of a 10-race card scheduled at 12.25pm. The final race is at 5.55pm.
The $500,000 Ballarat Cup itself, the richest country cup in Australia, is race eight on the card, scheduled for 4.40pm.
Registrations for the Central Square Fashions on the Field open at 11am and close at 12.15pm.
Heats for the four categories for fashions on the field will start at the conclusion of the first race. Categories include: Traditional Lady of the Day, Contemporary Lady of the Day, Most Fabulous Millinery and Gent of the Day.
Entries for the Sportsbet reverse race, with a $5000 first prize purse, are open from 11am-2pm with the race to be run at 2.55pm.
The Magic Millions Clockwise Race is at 2.05pm.
Buses will depart from central Ballarat approximately every 15-20 minutes to and from the course during the day.
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