Fine for fillies
A STEADY stream of beautiful fillies and handsome colts filled the Gympie turf club yesterday, but there wasn't a horse in sight.
They say it's the race that stops the nation and Gympie wasn't going against the grain yesterday with businesses closing early and people frocking up, to head to the Gympie racecourse for a punt on the Melbourne Cup.
Turf Club President Spencer Slatter said he expected the numbers to blow out to 2000 for the Cooloola Camel Races.
“The weather is perfect, we couldn't have asked for a better day,” he said.
All the turf club's marquise were booked out and a Little Haven Palliative Care luncheon was at capacity numbers. People lined the track to watch the camels run, or strut in some cases, and stood in silence – it seemed for the only time – to watch the live cup action.
Local bookie Bob Wilson said Gympie punters were on the money as the popular choice for those having a flutter was the cup winner Americain; he tipped Shoot Out.
He said the annual camel races was a “big busy” day on the racing calendar, but not for money.
The average large bet was a maximum of $200, Mr Wilson said, compared to $1000 at other race meetings.
“It's a great crowd, but a very social crowd,” he said.
The busiest day for him at Gympie was the Gympie Cup, where it wasn't uncommon to get thousand dollar bets.
Mr Wilson has been a book maker for 34 years and said he just loved the atmosphere of race day.
“I'm not a camel fan, but it's a good novelty to get people here.”