Clarence gears up for midwinter country racing
ALL roads lead to the Clarence River Jockey Club at midwinter as the country racing capital of Australia fires up for its major annual carnival.
Grafton has a long history of top quality racing and offers one of the biggest and best racing carnivals outside the capital cities.
Horses, owners, trainers, jockeys and racing enthusiasts from around the nation will head to the jacaranda city for the 2016 July Racing Carnival.
With a full five days of racing on offer, plus fashions on the field and ancillary events, the city will stage a full-value carnival.
Racing kicks off on Thursday July 7 with the Westlawn Finance Prelude Day, which offers racegoers free entry from 10.30am thanks to the sponsor and gives the winners of two races on the program automatic entry into the carnival's two major events.
The winner of the John Carlton Cup will automatically join the field for the Ramornie Handicap and the winner of the Grafton Cup Prelude will join the Grafton Cup field.
Sunday July 10 is Grafton Motor Group South Grafton Cup Day, traditionally ladies' day at the carnival.
The 2015 Lady of the Carnival was Renee Adams.
In addition to the racing program there will be live music on the Westlawn and the Grafton Shoppingworld Fashions on the Field event will see the selection of the Lady of the Carnival.
Wednesday July 13 is Crowe Horwath Ramornie Handicap Day with the 1200 metre Ramornie Handicap worth $160,000 to the connections of the winner and the 1600m Tursa Employment and Training Inglis Bonus Grafton Guineas worth $50,000.
Grafton's biggest social event is the McKimms Real Estate Grafton Cup to be held on Thursday July 14.
The 2350m Cup will also be worth $160,000
Buses to and from the race course and the town will operate on both Wednesday and Thursday; gates will open at 10.30am and there also will be live music on both days.
The final day of the carnival, Maclean Bowling Club Maclean Cup Day on Sunday July 17 will feature free children's entertainment and a kids' fashion event.