THONGS ARE THE THING: Ellen Kitching models the new Ipswich Turf Club thongs that will be available for women to buy on Ipswich Cup Day.
THONGS ARE THE THING: Ellen Kitching models the new Ipswich Turf Club thongs that will be available for women to buy on Ipswich Cup Day. David Nielsen

Bundamba expects 20,000 for Ipswich Cup

ALL the form points to another crowd over 20,000 to party on and punt up big at next Saturday's Channel 7 Ipswich Cup.

Marquees, bars, tables and chairs, food and drink are just waiting for people, horses, jockeys and trainers to complete the picture.

Affable Ipswich Turf Club general manager Brett Kitching said the club had every reason to expect another 20,000-plus crowd.

Kitching said the pre-booked marquee crowds and corporate and members numbers were similar to last year.

And while last year's overall crowd was down on the previous year mainly due to a drop in the general public turnout, steps have been taken to draw them back.

"That's why we've done things this year - the Bundaberg Rum museum, the XXXX Retreat, the XXXX Island giveaway - all those things aimed to attract more of the general public," Kitching said.

"The general public are the walk-ups on the day so the other important thing for them is the weather.

"The long-term weather forecast is for showers through till about Tuesday, clearing after then and nil chance of rain on Cup Day.

"Last year we had just over 20,000, the year before was a bit more than that. At the moment we're saying about the same sort of numbers."

He was loathe to talk about comparisons with crowds at the Brisbane carnival and the Toowoomba Cup except to say it's a general malaise affecting horse racing.

"There is a degree of disappointment throughout the industry; there has been a lot of disappointment about attendances, which says a lot about Ipswich Cup Day," he said.

"Perhaps not enough other tracks have looked for other reasons to attract a wider audience to a race day as much as this club has done over the past 20 years."

Attracting Generation Y has been a big part of the Ipswich Cup Day success story and Kitching need look no further than his family for examples.

His daughter Ellen was devastated when she turned 18 six days after last year's Cup, meaning she couldn't go to the 18+ event. Now, she's enthusiastically looking forward to the big day.

"It's a big deal," Ellen said. "I guess it's, like, you go with friends and you see friends you haven't seen in ages like friends from school or anything you've done over the years.

"Everyone goes - it's just such a good social event to catch up.

"Everyone says, 'Can't wait for Ipswich Cup every year.' It's the part of getting ready together as well for the girls because we don't usually have times we can dress up like that and get all dressed up in heels and dresses and fascinators. So it's good fun with friends."

Ellen also gave a big thumbs up to Ipswich Turf Club's idea of buying 500 pair of thongs to sell foot-sore women on Cup Day.

"Wedges are fine but I can't walk around in high heels for more than a few hours; your feet ache so much. This is definitely a good idea; heels are way too painful," she said.

Brett Kitching said the highest number of calls for first aid on Ipswich Cup Day was for band aids for women's blistered feet.

"There are hundreds given out," he said. "It's part of the fashion and most people have a new pair of shoes for Cup Day."

GETTING IN TO THE CUP

  • $20 if pre-purchased prior to Ipswich Cup Day.
  • $25 at the gate on the day.
  • Corona Marquee tickets: $150 per person.
  • Available through Ticketek and Ipswich Turf Club before 4pm on Friday.


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