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A Day at the Country Races

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by Steve Hudson (subscribe)
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Event:
There's nothing like a day at the races
Whether it is the thrill of the flutter, the sounds of the hooves, the smell of the stalls, the spread of a picnic, or just an excuse to frock up for a day, country racing carnivals have it all. And when you combine this with the local "cup carnival" where town rivalries come into play, there is little better.

A Day at the Races, A day at the country races, Nothing like a day at the races, Port Lincoln Cup, Balaklava Cup, Murray Bridge Cup, Naracoorte Cup, Barossa Cup, Port Augusta Cup, Clare Cup
Image courtesy Thoroughbred Racing SA


2017 sees no less than 26 country racing carnivals where jockeys, trainers and owners compete to take home the local "Cup" and where spectators join together around the track to cheer home their new heroes.

A Day at the Races, A day at the country races, Nothing like a day at the races, Port Lincoln Cup, Balaklava Cup, Murray Bridge Cup, Naracoorte Cup, Barossa Cup, Port Augusta Cup, Clare Cup
Image courtesy Thoroughbred Racing SA


The full 2017 Country Cups Carnival is as follows :

Lock Cup (12 Feb)
Penong Cup (11 Mar)
Kimba Cup (19 Mar)
Oakbank Cup (15-17 Apr)
Penola Cup (16 Apr)

A Day at the Races, A day at the country races, Nothing like a day at the races, Port Lincoln Cup, Balaklava Cup, Murray Bridge Cup, Naracoorte Cup, Barossa Cup, Port Augusta Cup, Clare Cup
Image courtesy Thoroughbred Racing SA


Hawker Cup (27 May)
Whyalla Cup (11 Jun)
Innamincka Cup (27 Aug)
Quorn Cup (2 Sep)
Gawler Cup (24 Sep)

A Day at the Races, A day at the country races, Nothing like a day at the races, Port Lincoln Cup, Balaklava Cup, Murray Bridge Cup, Naracoorte Cup, Barossa Cup, Port Augusta Cup, Clare Cup
Image courtesy Thoroughbred Racing SA


Country race carnivals are not just horse races but rather are significant cultural events in the towns where typically the whole town joins into the occasion, and for some of the smaller towns the shops close and all activities are centred around the race track.

A Day at the Races, A day at the country races, Nothing like a day at the races, Port Lincoln Cup, Balaklava Cup, Murray Bridge Cup, Naracoorte Cup, Barossa Cup, Port Augusta Cup, Clare Cup
Image courtesy Thoroughbred Racing SA


Meanwhile at the track, the action is not just limited to races with carnival rides, sideshows, markets, local fun events and the much admired 'Fashions in the Field', where the best dressed amongst us get to parade their glamour and receive plaudits and prizes for their efforts.

A Day at the Races, A day at the country races, Nothing like a day at the races, Port Lincoln Cup, Balaklava Cup, Murray Bridge Cup, Naracoorte Cup, Barossa Cup, Port Augusta Cup, Clare Cup
Image courtesy Thoroughbred Racing SA


With a number of these country carnivals only a short distance from Adelaide, this presents a great opportunity for Adelaideans to join in the fun and frivolities by escaping the city and taking a day trip to some of these towns.

A Day at the Races, A day at the country races, Nothing like a day at the races, Port Lincoln Cup, Balaklava Cup, Murray Bridge Cup, Naracoorte Cup, Barossa Cup, Port Augusta Cup, Clare Cup
Image courtesy Thoroughbred Racing SA


Or for those looking for an extended country hospitality experience, why not make a weekend (or more) of the occasion by booking some local accommodation and staying for awhile to soak up the pre and post event atmosphere that makes country horse racing so popular.

A Day at the Races, A day at the country races, Nothing like a day at the races, Port Lincoln Cup, Balaklava Cup, Murray Bridge Cup, Naracoorte Cup, Barossa Cup, Port Augusta Cup, Clare Cup
Image courtesy Thoroughbred Racing SA


Further details on each of the country cup carnivals is available from the links above or from the Thoroughbred Racing South Australia website or their facebook page.
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Why? Nothing like a day at the races
When: Various dates in 2017
Where: South Australia
Cost: Varies per carnival
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