FAVOURITE: A packed grandstand watches Blake Shinn take Bonfire to Grafton Cup victory. Photo: Adam Hourigan
FAVOURITE: A packed grandstand watches Blake Shinn take Bonfire to Grafton Cup victory. Photo: Adam Hourigan

CRJC winners in a tough market

WITH the July Racing Carnival now behind him, Michael Beattie can look back on an action packed fortnight and smile.

The Clarence River Jockey Club executive officer said some days were up, and some down on previous years.

Overall, 15,757 people passed through the gates during the carnival, about 500 down from last year.

"In a pretty difficult market place, we are happy to have these types of figures," Mr Beattie said.

He said because horse racing was so well covered on TV, many people had started to stay at home to watch but to have the carnival remain popular was a big win for the community.

"Talking to the retailers in the town, a lot of them told me their sales had increased dramatically," Mr Beattie said. "And from personal perspective, people coming to races and continuing to visit Grafton to have a good time is the real barometer of success."

Crowds at the Ramornie, Westlawn and South Grafton Cup days were slightly up on last year. "We think a big influence on the drop in figures was how cold Maclean Cup Day was."

However, Mr Beattie said the visit from Prime Minister Tony Abbott was a great win for the races.

"I'm proud Mr Abbott came to the race meeting," he said.

"Not only did he attend, but his extended family. You couldn't think of better advertisement for the races."