Giddy up Gympie! Our cup day a big success
WINNERS were not the only grinners at Gympie's massive camel-racing Melbourne Cup celebrations at the Gympie Turf Club yesterday.
Even the camels were smiling as gentle sunshine and a pleasant breeze helped the champagne and betting flow freely.
A delighted Gympie Turf Club president Spencer Slatter said crowd numbers were a big improvement on last year.
"It's been a wonderful success," he said.
Visitors from as far as Brisbane and River Heads were among well over 1000 people who aided Little Haven Palliative Care with auction bidding on the camel races and support for a big fundraising lunch, while also splurging on the main event, the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup.
And although a happy atmosphere seemed to affect everyone, Gympie's Simon Thomas was proof that winners were grinning just that little bit wider.
He won $250 with a cautious but sentimental bet on Protectionist, a horse which seemed appropriate for a man in the business of selling income protection insurance.
His betting approach was also in line with the cautious nature of his profession.
"It was an each-way bet," he said.
And that was the only high-risk investing he has done all year.
"I have a sentimental bet once a year on Melbourne Cup Day," the Advice Partners consultant said.
"This is the only time of year I have a bet.
"It was an omen bet.
"I have one of those each year and this is the fifth year in a row it's worked.
"I'm pretty happy with it, actually," he said.
Gympie Regional Council's Community Wellbeing portfolio councillor Rae Gate certainly improved her own sense of wellbeing with a successful boxed quinella.
"I'm getting some of my rates back," she said.
"I probably should have put a lot more on it," she said, expressing her only regret from the day.
Leah Ritchie explained her betting system very simply. "I don't know, I just picked it," she said, pocketing $150.
The 10th annual Melbourne Cup camel races highlighted the club's celebrations for the Race That Stops the Nation, as six events were held throughout a highly entertaining afternoon.
Racegoers supported Little Haven Palliative Care by bidding on riders in the celebrity race to round out the afternoon, which was taken out by Turf Club president Spencer Slatter.
The sold-out Little Haven luncheon also raised much-needed funds for the organisation, while the Fashions on the Field proved popular as ever.