Hundreds of hoteliers and industry associates flocked to the Trackside Marquee on the 30th of April for the AHA Newcastle Hunter Charity Race Day. In its 8th year, the charity race day event is a key event in the Hunter hospitality industry’s social calendar. On the Saturday, $100,000 was raised. Among the beneficiaries are Variety- the Children’s Charity, RUN DIPG and Hunter Children’s Research Foundation
AHA Newcastle Hunter President Michael Starkey talks to the strong relationship AHA has with Newcastle Racecourse, “Newcastle Racecourse has always been incredibly supportive of our fundraising events. The annual charity race day is the largest fundraising event on our calendar and without the support of generous sponsors like Pitcher Partners who came on board this year, and venues like Newcastle Racecourse, we would not be able to harness the support of our industry to raise money for those who need it most”
Upon arrival into the Trackside Marquee guests walked past two gorgeous rally cars that will take part in this year’s NSW Variety Bash of which AHA Newcastle Hunter has been the major sponsor of for the past 10 years. This year marks the anniversary of AHA’s decade long sponsorship of the iconic event which sees more than 300 people travel cars 30+ years old across the dirt roads of rural NSW to provide support for children and families experiencing illness and financial hardship.
April 30th also marked the launch of INVADES at Newcastle Racecourse which sold out. INVADES are a GEN- Z centric events and media company injecting a new energy, culture and audience to stadiums and sporting events across Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK.
The event is part of Newcastle Jockey Club’s (NJC) marketing strategy to attract younger audiences-the members of tomorrow- to in turn secure the future of thoroughbred horse racing in Newcastle. Founder of INVADES, Dominic Matcham explains, “Through a combination of Fashion, Music and Sport, we believe Racing is the ultimate entertainment product but fundamentally recognise that the next generation want and need a totally new experience, both online and in-person”
INVADES have held events across the globe including notable racecourses such as Ascot Racecourse, Auckland Racing Club and Australian Turf Club’s Royal Randwick Racecourse who will be hosting their third INVADES function on May 28th in the recently unveiled Winx Stand.
The exclusive event at Newcastle Racecourse was set up in the Courtyard Lawn complete with a stage, private bars and food vendors. The event provided an opportunity for local DJ’s to showcase their talents and saw ARIA nominated headliner ODD MOB close out the event at 6:45pm.
Local DJ, Jack Burton remarks “It’s great to see a new and innovative event come to Newcastle after the past few years of uncertainty with COVID. The musical aspect at the INVADES event
provided an avenue for a large, younger audience to experience racing and saw an incredible turnout. I commend the team at Newcastle Racecourse & INVADES and I am excited to see what’s to come”
NJC CEO Duane Dowell adds “It’s important that we continue to explore ways to increase the footprint of racing in Newcastle with the younger demographic and the recent INVADES event certainly showed us that we can provide a vibrant race day experience for the younger generation.”
The young racegoers took great interest in the racing, filling the grandstand during each race. The atmosphere in the grandstand was incomparable to any other race day and it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say goosebumps were felt by all. The roar of excitement in the grandstand and on the lawn of the AHA Trackside Marquee started as soon as the race jumped and only grew on the home straight.
Starkey comments on how the INVADES event integrated with the charity race day, “Our AHA Newcastle Pitcher Partners Charity Race Day is a vibrant and colourful event. While the INVADES event was uniquely different to our fundraiser, it was assuring to see that the venue is able to deliver a diverse range of events for various cultural demographics”
Many of the INVADES attendees shared with NJC staff that this was their first time at the races, and that they couldn’t wait to come back again. Newcastle university student Maddie Cahalan, “I’d never been to the Newcastle races before, so I was not sure what to expect from the day. As soon as I walked in, I was blown away by the set-up of the INVADES stage and the surrounding food and beverage stands. Being able to watch the races from both the lawn and grandstand was such a cool experience, coupled with the freedom to move between spectating the horses and having a dance made the day super unique. As the races concluded and everyone congregated in front of the stage, the atmosphere was electric with everyone on their feet, dancing to the music. I don’t think you could wipe the smiles off everyone’s faces. I’ve already written in the calendar the upcoming race days and I’m super excited to return.”
The day proved to be a hit for the whole Newcastle community, from Uni students taking a break, to long-time supporters of the AHA’s local charity partners, to dedicated fans of the best live horse racing has to offer – it was a day at the races which truly had something for everyone.
Dowell expands “We will continue to take on feedback to improve the race day experience for everyone and look at innovative ways to grow our relevance in Newcastle to ensure we are a preferred entertainment and social venue.”
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For further details, or to arrange an interview contact Duane Dowell M: 0432 925 588