MAIN ATTRACTION: The Ipswich Cup field turns out of the home straight last year. The Cup this year is Race 7, starting at 3.05pm.
MAIN ATTRACTION: The Ipswich Cup field turns out of the home straight last year. The Cup this year is Race 7, starting at 3.05pm. Sarah Harvey

Winter Race Carnival spotlight on Cup Day

IPSWICH is centre stage for the Winter Racing Carnival today with a bumper festive crowd set to turn out for Ipswich Cup Day.

Racing Minister Steve Dickson said the Ipswich Cup had established itself as the best attended meeting in Queensland racing.

"The carnival highlights the racing industry's vital commercial contribution to our state, as well as providing great sporting and social events," Mr Dickson said.

"Ipswich Cup Day has established a reputation for offering not just a great day of racing but a social occasion that tens of thousands of south-east Queenslanders enjoy.

"The huge crowds it brings in each year are a tribute to the capability and expertise of the Ipswich Turf Club."

Club chairman Wayne Patch said the meeting was the social event of the year for the city.

"Ipswich Cup Day is the largest provincial club meeting right across Australia," Mr Patch said.

"That's because it's a real community event, a day when everyone catches up and meets up at the races. It's more than a race meeting, it is a great occasion."

With a fine sunny day yesterday and fine weather expected today, the track is on the improve after a mid-week soaking.

As a bonus, for the first time since the heyday of the Geoff Livermore-trained Sailor's Lark, Ipswich has a local to cheer on.

Dodging Eddie, who is owned by a group of St Edmund's College Old Boys, got a start in his hometown Cup.

Sophie Dwyer, who features on the front page of today's QT, can't wait for Cup Day to start.

"I really look forward to the Ipswich Cup every year because it's Ipswich's biggest event," Sophie said.

"I really love getting dressed up and getting to socialise and party with friends and people that I don't get to see very often.

"I think the turf club has really been listening to the wants and needs of my generation - Generation Y - who love to party."

She said the club's new beverages package was a step that "encourages the growth of the event, which is great for Ipswich".

"I don't really follow racing that much, but I really love going to race days because it's always exciting. Everyone gets into it. It's always a good day," she said.

"It's always an exciting atmosphere and everyone's always having fun."

CUP DAY ESSENTIALS

  • 10am: Gates open
  • 11.45am: First race starts.
  • 5pm: Band Savvy starts at the after-race party.
  • Tickets: $25 at the gate.
  • Punters can catch a free shuttle bus from and to Bundamba train station.

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