GET out and support Pyrenees communities, even though you can't get to the races on Saturday.
That is the message from the Avoca Turf Club as it prepares for its second successive Avoca Cup day without crowds.
While Saturday's race wouldn't have attracted anywhere near the 40,000 or so that would have piled into Caulfield for its own Cup day, the loss of the around 6000 spectators is a second successive blow to the club which hosts just two meetings a year.
Fields look strong with nominations from all around regional Victoria, it's just a shame that no-one from the public will be allowed to see it for the second straight year.
Avoca Turf Club manager Kate Kirkpatrick said it was a blow to the whole community that the races will be once again be held behind closed gates.
"It's obviously very disappointing for the club and the community, because a lo of the money made from this day goes back into the community," Kirkpatrick said.
"Whether that be in grant money or supporting volunteers with their work.
"Also, secondary, it has a huge benefit of a flow on to the local region, because we have a lot of people come up and visit our wineries, or our eateries.
"Even something like buses to and from Ballarat, you have people streaming into the Lexton pub, they go and visit Lake Learmonth, really make a long weekend of it."
The races themselves will be broadcast on Sky 2, and Kirkpatrick said she encouraged regional Victorians looking to get away to come up and visit the region to support the towns that would otherwise miss out on one of their biggest weekends of the year.
She said plans were well advanced to welcome crowds back to the autumn meeting in March next year.
The club will also host a jump out day for the industry next Tuesday as a way of recouping some costs that will be lost on Saturday. She said that was being well supported by the industry as a whole.
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