Marburg hosts historic meeting

ALL eyes were on Blacks A Fake as the six-year-old paraded past the stands at the Marburg races yesterday.

And the two-time Inter Dominion champion seemed to revel in the attention, putting on a fine show.

The sprightly pacer pranced down the straight, tossing his mane and nickering to the crowd.

And when it came time to interview trainer/driver Natalie Rasmussen, he again tried to steal the show, drowning out her voice with an excited neigh.

Marburg Pacing Association president Russell Lehmann said yesterday's meet was an historic one, and hoped it would be the start of an expanded race program next year.

It was the first official meeting the association has held, complete with two high-profile bookmakers from Rocklea.

"It's a big plus for the area, to have bookies at an official race meeting. We used to just use funny money," Mr Lehmann said.

"We're hoping to do more than one a year. If we put on a good day today and if they think it's worthwhile we could get more meetings a year.

"We've gone through a lot of paperwork to get the bookies, and a lot of volunteer work goes into meets."

Mr Lehmann said it was encouraging to see such a strong turnout (about 1500 people) as he believed the tradition of heading to the track was at risk of becoming a thing of the past.

"There's not many bookies left. Tote betting is the big thing now," he said.

"There's not a great deal of people who go to the races any more, people just sit at home and watch it on TV and do their bets over the phone."

But when you had a drawcard like Blacks A Fake on show, he said it helped bring in the punters.

"When you have a one-off thing it gets the people out. Blacks A Fake is the best horse in Australasia at the moment and that brings people out ? he's won two in a row," he said.

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