Kiss Me If You Can after winning the Roll the Dice Racing Class 1 Handicap at Bendigo Racecourse on November 10, 2021 in Bendigo, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

KILMORE Racing Club officials are hoping for a strong crowd at Sunday’s Kilmore Cup as racegoers celebrate a return to the track.

With the lifting of Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, crowds can now attend race meetings, and Kilmore Racing Club chief executive Ben Murphy said the club was hoping to get 3000 patrons through the gate on Sunday.

“We’re really looking forward to welcoming people back to the races after a long absence,” he said.

“Bookings have been pretty solid, which has been really good. We’re keen to get people back on the course on Sunday.

“We’re approved to have a crowd of up to 5000 under the government’s roadmap and we’d be stoked to think that we could get a crowd of 3000.

“We encourage people to buy a ticket online before the event. That’s our preferred way for people to come to the races is by booking online before the day so we can best serve the patrons that are there.”

Mr Murphy said the club was disappointed by a Racing Victoria decision to move the Cranbourne Cup to the weekend before the $150,000 Kilmore Cup, but was determined to make the best of the situation.

“[Kilmore is] a listed cup, so we expect the fields to be strong, but it will be interesting to see – after Cranbourne moved their cup to last Saturday and moved it back to 1600 metres as a listed cup as well – how the fields hold up,” he said.

“They are both listed races, one a stand alone worth $500,000 and the other $150,000 both run over the same distance (1600 metres). It just doesn’t make sense.

“We’ve had a conversation with Racing Victoria about that because the bet365 Kilmore Cup has been there at the end of spring for a few years now and has ended up being quite a strong race.“Hopefully the quality of our cup isn’t impacted by Racing Victoria’s decision to move the Cranbourne Cup.

“The reality though is that it’s a positive we’ve landed where we have in the spring, because it’s enabled the community to come back and come to the races.”

Fields for the Kilmore Cup will be made public on Thursday.People can book tickets and find more information about the cup by visiting Country Racing Victoria.

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