A Country Cup that is hard to ‘beet

The Coffey crew claimed the 2018 Burrumbeet Cup with cups star Vianden (Image: Racing Photos)

The Coffey crew claimed the 2018 Burrumbeet Cup with cups star Vianden (Image: Racing Photos)

They only get one crack at it each year, but the Burrumbeet Park & Windermere Racing Club is absolutely getting its race day right.

While the Petrogas Regional Burrumbeet Cup – held every New Year’s Day – has been building in recent years, the 2018 edition was a bumper one across the board.

The race day saw the club hit highs for admissions, gate takings, bar sales and even acceptances.

Burrumbeet Park & Windermere Racing Club manager Paul Brumby said he had the weather gods to thank for the day’s success.

“I thought it’d be huge because of the weather; it was just perfect leading up to it,” he said.

“It was low 20s, sunny, a little bit of breeze, just a cracker of a day.”

The Burrumbeet Cup falls under Country Racing Victoria’s Kids Summer of Country Racing campaign, which means free entry for kids, free showbags and free activities from Kelly Sports.

But the club also goes the extra mile to appeal to families, adding rock climbing, an animal farm, pony rides, airbrush tattoos, amusement rides and kids’ entertainers The Mik Maks.

“It’s a carnival for the kids and it’s all free,” Brumby said.

“Our niche is the family day out. Kids have a great time and they’re keen to come again.

“That’s building a great foundation for future race days.”

Brumby said his personal highlight were the efforts of young race callers Dayne Barry and Patrick Doyle, who each called three races on the card.

“That’s become a highlight of the day and they’re two young fellows who are doing a terrific job,” he said.

“They’ve come along in leaps and bounds. Ric McIntosh does a great job mentoring them and calling the cup for us.

“A lot of horses start their careers at Burrumbeet and go on to great things. We hope these two race callers will go on to great things as well.”

WATCH: The 2018 Burrumbeet Cup

The action on the track was strong too, as Austy Coffey came back to avenge Vianden’s narrow loss in last year’s cup.

With Harry on board, the Coffey lads turned the tables on last year’s winning trainer Darren Weir as Vianden scored by two lengths from Weir’s Palmera Lad.

Not content with a day of racing, the club hosted jump-outs two days later, with 165 horses rolling through 22 heats.

Brumby said the volume of horses put the spotlight on the club’s needs.

“We’ve only got 75 horse stalls so the pressure’s really on us to improve them,” he said.

“That’s the downside of being so popular. It really puts pressure on our facilities, trying to handle that volume of horses.

“We’ve improved things significantly over the last couple of years with the plastic running rail and a brand new set of barriers last year.

“The horse stalls would be next in that natural progression of improving facilities for industry participants.”

Burrumbeet’s track will get a break until the wetter months, and will host jump-outs following that break until October.

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