OPINION: Ipswich Cup is really a reunion in disguise
I HAD only been in town a few months when I donned my racing hat and coat and took off for the Ipswich Cup last year.
I have been a racing man for many years and I was keen to find out why Ipswich could attract 20,000 people to its Cup day yet only draw a few hundred to the rest of its many meetings.
It was only after going along again this year that it finally clicked with me.
Ipswich Cup Day is much more than just an annual country race meeting.
The clever marketing of Brett Kitching and his team at Ipswich Turf Club has turned it into one of the biggest reunion parties in the nation.
I am sure there were many at the track on the weekend that never even watched a race and there was no doubt many at the end of the day couldn't have watched one even if they had wanted to.
As I left the track on Saturday I walked through a big crowd laughing and rocking to "Hey Mickey". The great thing was despite a large amount of alcohol getting consumed, everyone was in a happy mood. It meant that the police didn't need to jump in and break up fights and drag away idiots, the only argument I witnessed was actually diffused by others in the crowd. No one wanted to see the party spoilt.
There is only one other race meeting I have been to that resembles our cup day and that's the Grafton July Racing Carnival. It is also a day when old friends come back to town to enjoy a drink or three and a good laugh.