No more ‘eerie’ vibes as humans get back to the track
USUALLY defined by heaving crowds filled with socialising fashionistas, Coffs Harbour Cup Day will look a little different this year as coronavirus restrictions force the racing club to limit the number of guests.
Coffs Harbour Racing Club chief executive Tim Saladine said despite the strict measures, it will be good to have people back at the venue, which has been empty up until now.
And in the last few months, without the people and traditions which came with regular race meets, Saladine said the sport had never been more about the horses.
"We have run three meetings with no crowds and it is a pretty eerie set up, but in fairness Australian Racing is one of the few sports in the world that hasn't stopped during the pandemic," he said.
Being a recreation venue the club is able to seat 300 of their members indoors and another 300 people in an area outside and Saladine wasn't expecting a packed house.
The health directive also dictated people must remain seated at their table throughout the day except to get food and drinks, place bets and watch the races.
Which sadly meant anyone looking to take out the famed fashions on the field event would have to wait until next year.
Saladine also recognised there was a heightened awareness of the risk of coronavirus spread now hot spots were flaring up again in Sydney and now Queensland.
"I think everyone is still a bit cautious, it will probably be a year when (The Coffs Cup) is more about the race than a social event," he said.
More information about how to attend the event will be released closer to the event, with the final number depending on how many members and owners take up their invitations.
And regardless of who is watching, the stage it set for what could be one of the most competitive Cups in recent memory, with some heavy hitters in the racing industry - including Gai Waterhouse and Matt Dunn - tipped to be sending runners.
Meanwhile, Coffs Harbour City Council have reminded businesses that there will not be a half-day public holiday as is the usual tradition on Coffs Harbour Cup Day.
"Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Coffs Harbour City Council resolved to withdraw its application for the 6 August 2020 Local part day public holiday for the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup," industry and destination development leader, Fiona Barden said.
The withdrawal does not apply to the application for the 2021 event, which has been a point of contention for some within the community.
Last year Council asked members of the LGA to have a say on whether or not continue as a half day public holiday or be classed as a 'local event day'.
If council changed their application to 'local event day' businesses would not have to treat in the same way as a public holiday.