Media Release: The Hunter Race Day a roaring success

The Hunter Race Day a roaring success.

Our Region. Our Town. Our Race. The Hunter.

On Saturday 12 November, Newcastle Racecourse hosted the fourth running of The Hunter Race Day. This was the first meeting of The Hunter Race Day without COVID restrictions since its launch in 2019.

The Hunter Race Day was a roaring success with an official crowd attendance of 4881. In tow were over 400 owners (more than double compared to a standard race day).

Both the Members Grandstand and The Public Grandstand were packed and provided plenty of noise from the very first race, The NZB Airfreight Max Lees Classic won by Fire Lane.

There were tales of guests travelling from near and far: within the Hunter Region, Sydney, Victoria, and our trans-Tasman friends in New Zealand. Feedback from patrons indicates that Newcastle Racecourse is increasingly becoming a track of note and that The Hunter Race Day is one not to be missed.

The large crowd is testament to the fact that racing is alive and thriving within The Hunter Region. Although a huge win for Newcastle Jockey Club, The Hunter Race Day served a broader purpose, to showcase everything that Newcastle and Hunter Valley people love about living in this vibrant Region. The marketing campaign for the race day celebrated the patriotism of Novocastrians coining the tagline – Our Region. Our Town. Our Race. The Hunter.

Newcastle Racecourse CEO, Duane Dowell was delighted with the event on the whole.

“It was great to see such an outstanding response from the community who clearly appreciated all aspects of the day including world class racing and a great social day out!”

The racing was outstanding with some great results including the win of Vilana in the $1,000,000 The Hunter Race. Vilana is a half-brother to the inaugural winner Savatiano in 2019 and was bred in the Hunter Valley at Godolphin’s Woodlands Stud. It was an atmosphere like no other when the crowd burst into song just moments before The Hunter with Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer”- a tradition that will continue in years to come.

Newcastle based trainer, Kris Lees, applauded the day. “It was great to see how The Hunter has been so well received within the community, the race continues to gain traction & is now our flagship day.”

“It was a great day for Newcastle & brought in a great crowd & competitive racing.”

“My team is already looking forward to next year as we hope to have The Hunter winner!”

The day also unearthed plenty of up-and-coming horses like the Matthew Smith trained Floating and the Mark Newnham trained King Frankel who is on track to head to a Sydney Cup in the Autumn.

A notable mention was race day sponsor, New Zealand Bloodstock, who sponsored eight out of the ten race days for the day.

Dowell was thankful for the support of the race day’s major partners.

“New Zealand Bloodstock are great supporters of the Newcastle Racecourse and we very much appreciate their sponsorship on our biggest day.”

“This event wouldn’t exist without the backing of Racing NSW who had the foresight to create the $1 million race four years ago”

“We are grateful to Peter V’Landys and the team at Racing NSW for their ongoing support to back an event that continues to grow”.

Charlestown Square Fashions On The Field proved to be another success, following on from the Charlestown Square Ladies Day FOTF event in September. MC’d by NBN’s Jane Goldmsith and with a judges panel including Jess Farchione, from Nick, Jess & Ducko’ on Newcastle’s HIT106.9, 2022 Australian Supermodel Bella Fernandes, Andrew Rundle from Rundles Tailoring and Charlestown Square stylist Nat Baker, FOTF delivered all the colour, vibrancy and creativity of a beautiful day trackside.

  • There were 4 categories: Best Dressed Female, Best Dressed Male, Best Millinery and Best Dressed Couple. These categories were won by:
  • Best Dressed Female
    • First Place: Bryony Bourke
    • Runner Up: Emily McHugh
    • 3rd Place: Tara Kay
  • Best Dressed Male
    • Jason Crockett
  • Best Millinery
    • Sarah Crockett
  • Best Dressed Couple
    • Dee Worrell and Craig Smythe

After the last race the crowd packed the Courtyard Lawn for the official afterparty featuring a DJ Set from platinum accredited musician, Running Touch, the perfect end to what was a perfect day at the races.

NJC Chairman, Geoff Barnett was delighted with the day. “I am extremely proud of management and staff for their individual efforts in showing this city and the racing industry what Newcastle Jockey Club is capable of

The club is already planning new initiatives for next year to make the day even bigger and better.  It will truly be The Hunter’s ‘must attend’ event!

Newcastle’s Spring Racing Carnival will wrap up after the only Sunday meeting of the year on Sunday the 27th of November with the O’Neills Tyres Maitland Legends and Community Race Day. The Sunday race day is the ultimate family day out with a jumping castle, petting zoo, face painting, pony rides are more! The day will feature races named after racing icons such as Robert Thompson, Kris Lees, Paul Perry and Gary Harley.