FAMILY DAY: The Boxing Day Races at the Ballina Jockey Club is a family friendly event, with jumping castles and face painting as well as a six-race card.
FAMILY DAY: The Boxing Day Races at the Ballina Jockey Club is a family friendly event, with jumping castles and face painting as well as a six-race card. Marc Stapelberg

Boxing Day races at Ballina is fun for the whole family

WHILE Boxing Day is known for shoppers pounding the pavement in search of a deal, in Ballina it is known for something quite different.

Ballina Jockey Club general manager Matthew Bertram said it was one of the most traditional days on the Ballina racing calender.

Mr Bertram said the day held high importance as it was steeped in history.

According to the club archives, the Ballina Cup was first run on Boxing Day in 1914.

The winner was a horse called Poor Tom carrying the weight of 7 stone 11 pounds (49.5kg) with Hailshot second and Woodburn third.

The prize money for the 1917 race was recorded as $190.

"It used to be the cup day in Ballina until early in the 1900s,” Mr Bertram said.

"Even for the first several years of the lifespan of the jockey club it was always centred around that day.”

He said the Boxing Day races had since become more focused on creating an environment where family and friends could gather at this festive time of year.

"Often what you find is a lot of people come to the races who have left the area for work and have come back for Christmas and they come to the races to catch up with friends,” Mr Bertram said.

He said there would be jumping castles, face painting, and free buses from Lennox Head down to Wardell, Shaws Bay and Alstonville.

Six races will be run on the day with gates opening at 12.30pm and a $15 entry for adults and free entry for under 18s.



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