The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Cup meeting returns


Great Western Cup organisers are excited about the return of its annual horse-racing event — one year after a fire that soured its 2022 rebound from the COVID-19 lockdown years.

Wimmera Racing Club manager Penny Penfold said the Cup had received ‘overwhelmi­ng’ support from the racing and broader Wimmera communitie­s after the 2022 event when a grassfire broke out at the racecourse car-parking area after lunch, and just prior to the second race of the day.

While no one was injured, the fire damaged 18 cars parked at the reserve.

She said the tight-knit community of Great Western had always supported the race’s return and organisers were ‘excited’ to ‘bounce back’ on Sunday.

“The whole club has been positive and focused on the future after last year’s fire – it was not the racing return from COVID-19 restrictio­ns that anyone had hoped for. But we get one shot at this race every year and Great Western is a tight-knit community that has been massive in supporting the Cup’s 2023 return,” she said.

She said the club anticipate­d a large crowd for Sunday, with the weather forecast to reach 30-degrees.

“Reece Mastin and his band will be playing live music later in the afternoon, in-between the final few races, and after the last race as well. There will also be supervised sports and craft activities for children, as well as a jumping castle,” she said. Gates open at 11am. Attendees can book a spot on courtesy buses leaving from Halls Gap at 11.30am, and Stawell and Ararat at noon. Courtesy buses will leave the racecourse at 6.30pm; bookings are essential and available at

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