Ballina Cup 2015, with lots of rain.
Ballina Cup 2015, with lots of rain. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Rain blamed for small Cup crowd but Mayor wants holiday axed

FOR the second year running, the part-day public holiday for the Ballina Cup is expected to come under scrutiny after yesterday's race day again only attracted 2000 people from a shire population of more than 42,000.

Ballina Jockey Club general manager Matthew Bertram said the "rain has killed us" with showers sweeping across the racecourse throughout the afternoon.

And that left Ballina's mayor David Wright repeating his thoughts from last year to move the races to a weekend and make it a family-focused event.

He said council backed the part-day public holiday, from noon to 6pm, for this year because a "good case was made the turnout would be better than last year".

But that hasn't been the case and he said council would have to carefully re-assess the jockey club's application for the holiday when it was lodged for next year's event.

Cr Wright, a former school teacher, was particularly concerned about the poor attendance at public schools in Ballina. Teachers are eligible for the holiday, so public schools closed at noon.

A NSW Department of Education spokesperson reported attendance at Ballina High School was nearly 40%, Ballina Public School was more than 40% but Southern Cross School K-12 only had 30% attendance, when 90% is generally expected.

What should happen with the Ballina Cup part-day holiday?

This poll ended on 18 September 2015.

Current Results

Keep it. It's not fair to condemn an event because it was rained out.

27%

Ditch it. Public holidays for horse races make no sense.

72%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Non-government school, Emmanuel Anglican College, was open for normal school hours, with the public holiday to be taken at the end of the school year, so attendance was not affected.

Mr Bertram said pre-race day indications were the crowd would increase on the 2000 who attended last year, with pre-ticket sales and marquee ticket sales up by 50%.

The race day had been moved back to a Thursday this year after poor attendance at the last three Friday meets, and Mr Bertram said he wanted to see the race day remain on a Thursday.

"It's disappointing," Mr Bertram said. "We were expecting 3000 people, and more. Pre-sales, corporate sales, sponsorship all doubled on last year."



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