6 November 2023

Ticket sales in the home straight: Expanded 149th Cooktown Races coming this weekend

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Three people and a horse stand in front of a round sign that reads "Cooktown Amateur Turf Club"

Cooktown Amateur Turf Club vice-president Peter Shields, clerk of the course Beck Lingard with her mount Lacey, and fashions on the field judge Sally Eales are ready for Saturday’s 149th annual race meet. Photo: Sarah Martin.

The 149th annual Cooktown Races will return for 2023 on Saturday, 11 November, at the Cooktown Race Track.

This year will see more races than previous editions, with a total of seven being held, including the prestigious Cooktown Cup.

Cooktown Amateur Turf Club vice-president Peter Shields said there were usually only five or six races as Racing Queensland only financed five.

“If you want to run more, the club has to totally finance it, pay all the prize money and everything,” he explained.

“This year we’ve been a little bit lucky with money and we’ve got the money there so we thought we’ll run seven races.”

Gates will open at 10 am and the first race will be at midday.

“We open at 10 am because of daylight saving so bookies can run the southern races as they’re an hour ahead of us,” Mr Shields said.

The day will feature Seaview’s Fashions on the Field and IGA’s Dash for Cash Footraces, followed by entertainment by Black Image until midnight.

Courtesy buses will be available between 10 am and 3 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm, and 9 pm and 12:30 am.

Mr Shields said ticket sales were going well, with shaded areas almost selling out.

“The marquees have just about sold out. We got an extra three marquees for shade because it was totally booked out,” he said.

Cooktown Amateur Turf Club has stated that general entry is available on the day, but the event is capped at 2000, so Cooktown residents wanting to attend are encouraged to secure their tickets as soon as possible at https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing/1085330.

The Cooktown Races Country Stampede is an incentive run by Racing Queensland to encourage country racing. It allocates funds to communities such as Cooktown and Laura, providing incentive for horse trainers to travel extra distances to remote community races.

For more information, see the Cooktown Amateur Turf Club Facebook page.

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