Punters will be excited to hear that the Bundaberg Race Club is welcoming back patrons.
The first public event back after COVID restrictions will take place on 25 July at Thabeban Racecourse.
While the club has been running patron-free events throughout COVID restrictions, Bundaberg Race Club President Dale Rethamel said it will be great to see patrons return.
“We were the only horse racing club in the district, north of Sunshine Coast and South of Rockhampton, that raced during COVID,” he said.
“I was fortunate enough to be at every one of those meets and it was a bit surreal seeing the horses coming down the front straight without anyone cheering.”
For patrons the return to racing will come with some COVID-related caveats.
No tickets can be purchased at the gate on race day, and while members won’t need to purchase a ticket, they must contact the race club to pre-register.
Owners and the general public will be required to purchase tickets prior to the event.
Mr Rethamel said all patrons entering the racecourse will also be asked to provide contact details and adhere to social distancing restrictions.
“It’s going to be a different experience for the general public on Saturday,” he said.
“There will be social distancing rules and it’s certainly going to be different as the public is probably used to coming to the races and seeing thousands of people, but the event on Saturday is capped at around 200.”
“It will be a bit of a different feel to ease everyone back into racing and also give horse owners the opportunity to see their horses run.”
With horses and owners alike champing at the bit to return to regular race days, Mr Rethamel said the 25 July event promises a healthy field of horses.
“Most of the race on Saturday will have full fields, which is a very good showing for a non-tab event,” he said.
Four more race events are expected to go ahead before the end of the year.
One of those will be the Bundaberg Cup, which Mr Rethamel said had been pushed back to ensure maximum patronage.
“The Bundaberg Cup, which is historically on 25 July, has been moved back in an attempt to hopefully have more patrons at the event, so that will be on 5 September, followed by Melbourne Cup Day.”
“Hopefully we’ll be able to have more patrons as each event carries on, but we’re looking forward to returning to racing and making sure that return is done responsibly and safely.”
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