The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club annual Race Round has become an institution in the Goldfields and every year thousands head trackside for one of WA’s biggest and best parties.
- Sports:Horse Racing
The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club promotes its annual Race Round as “the Greatest Show on Turf” and in the year just gone it certainly lived up to its title, with pumped-up punters partying well into the early hours of the following morning.
The first race meeting in the Goldfields took place in 1896. Today, more than 100 years later, the races continue to be a focal point on the entertainment calendar, with about 15,000 people converging on “Kal” for the 2006 festival’s main event, the Kalgoorlie Cup. Record numbers also passed through the totes with bookies taking a record turnover of $2.894 million, which surpassed the previous best takings – $2.844 million in 1998.
The two main races of the round are the Hannans Handicap and the Kalgoorlie Cup, both having made a name for many a winning horse. The 1400m Hannans Handicap, held on the festival Wednesday, also gives ladies the chance to put their most stylish foot forward with The Echo Fashions on the Field competition. This fabulous parade is judged on ele-gance, style and the latest fashion trends, while a separate category, Classic Race Wear, is judged on the originality and design of each outfit. Another highlight of the day, and indeed the round, in 2006 was the 15th annual World Two-Up Championship. Two-Up has a rich history in Kalgoorlie, perhaps more so than anywhere else in the country, so it’s fitting that the world championships are held in town during the festival. The final is held in the bookmakers’ ring immediately after the handicap race. With $10,000 prize money up for grabs you can be guaranteed the crowd is both loud and extremely passionate. The 2006 festival saw the return of Ora Banda Day, which was marked with the re-opening of the Ora Banda Hotel, which boasts a rich, and at times turbulent, history. The Ora Banda Bush Picnic kicked off at about 11am and featured food stalls, entertainment, live local radio, two-up, helicopter rides and, most importantly, a great party atmosphere.
For the budding athlete, the day also includes the extremely laid-back Ora Banda Open – a new event in 2006 that sees competitors race on foot around the dusty 1.6km Ora Banda racetrack. But one word of warning: No matter how good the idea may seem at the time, it is definitely inadvisable after a morning spent drinking at the hotel!
The pinnacle of the round, and festival finale, is the Kalgoorlie Cup, traditionally held on the final Saturday of the week. The race is run over 2300m and in 2006 was worth $125,000 to the winner.
The day dawned with clear, sunny conditions – perfect for racing and
partying, with the festival atmosphere in full swing by the time the showcase was set to begin. The 2006 Cup was won by favourite Black Tom, giving legendary Goldfields trainer Frank Maynard his sixth overall win at the event. Black Tom also won the 2006 Perth Cup.
The Kalgoorlie-Boulder Racing Club has already announced that the 2007 event will be worth $140,000, ensuring the prestige now associated with the big race will continue to grow.
The 2007 festival will run from September 9 to 15. Accommodation is always scarce during the festival, so to ensure you catch as much of this fun-filled week as possible call the Kal-goorlie-Boulder Visitor Centre on (08) 9021 1966 or visit kalgoorlietourism.com for more information.