New date for Mackay Cup could further boost the event
The Mackay Cup has been changed to July 2, where it could coincide with another major race, Mackay Newmarket Handicap.
Earlier this year Racing Queensland has scheduled the cup on July 9, but it conflicted with the Mackay Festival of Arts' Wine and Food Day.
The festival committee requested the racing association change the date.
After Mackay Turf Club officials met with Racing Queensland, the race meeting date was changed to ensure the success of the cup.
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Turf Club president Lou Kinsey said the race date was changed from July 9 to July 2, which was the Turf Club's first preference, so it could benefit both the Food and Wine Festival and Mackay Cup.
"We are most likely going to include the Newmarket Handicap on Mackay Cup day, but that won't be confirmed for another couple of weeks," he said.
"We are trying to make Mackay Cup, the big day of the year."
Mr Kinsey said crowd numbers could double if the two major races were held on July 2.
Change of day could provide boost
There is an opportunity for the Mackay Cup to be a much bigger day in terms of the quality of horses, prize money and crowd numbers, he said.
"The fact that there are no major events on the weekend, we are hoping will attract heaps of people," Mr Kinsey said.
Mr Kinsey said when Racing Queensland moved the Townsville Cup and Newmarket Handicap to the same day its crowd numbers went from about 10,000-12,000 to about 15,000
He expects at least 5000 to attend (normally it is about 3000-4000) if the race days combine.
Mr Kinsey said in coming months they would be "making an all-out effort" to gain sponsors for the Mackay Cup.
"This is a chance for Mackay Cup and Mackay community to support an event and ensure it is a successful and enjoyable day," he said.
"This is a major day in North Queensland, similar to the Townsville Cup day".
The Daily Mercury was unable to contact a Mackay Festival of Arts Wine and Food Day representative, but they had shown support for the date change back in March.