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Club heartened by bumper crowds and high-class racing

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
The Bunbury Turf Club was filled with excited spectators during Sunday’s Furphy Bunbury Cup.
Camera IconThe Bunbury Turf Club was filled with excited spectators during Sunday’s Furphy Bunbury Cup. Credit: WESTERN RACEPIX/Western Racepix

Bunbury Turf Club chief executive and racing manager Alex Doble was heartened by the region’s support of the Furphy Bunbury Cup last weekend.

More than 6000 spectators piled through the gates on Sunday, with Bunbury trainer Ross Price tasting success in the $118,800 race with his five-year-old Arctic Stream.

“It was a great event and held in a similar spirit,” Doble said.

A few days earlier, traditionalists were treated to a gripping $118,800 Bunbury Stakes (1400m) feature, with Boyanup trainer Michael Lane recording an emotional win, courtesy of his solid gelding Free Trade.

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“Stakes day is a great way to kick off the carnival,” he said. “It is more for racing purists. Obviously in both it is great when locals win in their big hometown events.

“It all adds to the atmosphere of the day.

“Especially with Michael. He was very emotional about the win and it meant a lot to him. For the local participants, it means a hell of a lot in any race but to win a hometown cup or stakes. ... I’m sure that trophy will go straight to the pool room or mantelpiece.”

Spectators also took advantage of free courtesy shuttle buses, which ensured they could move seamlessly between the CBD and track without having to worry about how to get home.

“It is a service that we have offered over the last few years,” Doble said.

“With two buses on a continual loop, if you miss one, the next one is only 10 minutes away. It just gives you the flexibility to arrive and leave when you want.

“We are all about showcasing racing but also for people to have a safe day socially and give them the option in getting back to town without any hurdles.”

Focus now shifts to the $100,000 Bull and Bush Tavern Cup (2200m) on March 22, which will be the final meeting in Bunbury for at least 12 months, due to a major redevelopment project at the venue.

“It will be an opportunity or last hurrah for people to come out and see the track in its current state,” Doble said.

“Because when we return, it will be a completely different beast.

“For those that want to reminisce ... the current track has served us really well but it is in dire need of a facelift and that facelift is coming.”

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