The countdown is well underway for the Illawarra's million-dollar race day, The Gong, on Saturday November 25.
The Illawarra Turf Club at Kembla Grange will host the fifth running of the $1 million horse race, with a huge attendance expected for the annual event.
"It does depend a little bit on the weather but we're expecting anywhere from four to six thousand people, if not a few more," said club boss Steven Keene.
This has been the first spring carnival at the helm of Kembla Grange for the new chief executive officer hailing from Scone, the horse-breeding mecca, after taking over from Peter de Vries who retired in July.
Mr Keene wants to put a day at the races back on the agenda for young people and families looking for a day out, with lots of new ideas to "add value" in coming months - such as a family fun day between Christmas and New Year's.
"We want to try and you know, get the classic day back to you know, being a really strong guy that everyone loves to attend," he said.
So far punters have been out in force at the Turf Club during the Spring Racing Carnival, with all eyes on Kembla for The Gong in coming days.
The Gong horse race was first run over 1600 metres at Kembla Grange in 2019 and is only one of a handful of $1 million horse races in NSW.
It was added to the end of the Sydney spring carnival, which also saw the launch of The Everest in October that year.
The Gong was designed to attract some of Australia's top horses, though the full draw is to be announced closer to the date.
Different ticket packages are available starting at $30 for general admission, up to a $240 spot in the Bert Lillye Lounge with lunch and drinks included (sold out).
As of November 7, packages available for purchase via Moshtix.com.au included:
Racing kicks-off after midday, with The Gong earmarked for around a 4.40pm start (check times on the day).
Away from the track, the Fashions on the Field competition is expected to attract a large number of entries.
The winners and place-getters in three categories - best dressed lady, best dressed man and best hat - will share in thousands of dollars worth of prizes.
Last year's winners were the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained horse "Riodini", with "Hope In Your Heart" and "Old Flame" filling the minor placings. Tim Clark was the winning jockey.
Unless it's the type of thong concealed under clothes, then no - double-pluggers are not permitted at the Illawarra Turf Club.
Patrons are required to wear "neat an casual" attire in general areas (that is closed in shoes) and in the members areas - although it's "preferred" for men to wear shoes and socks.
It's a tad more fancier in the Member Bar, Members Dining Room and Bert Lillye Lounge with "smart casual" the way to go.
This means jeans can be worn by men "as long as the are clean and tidy", dress shorts are also allowed, while closed-in sandals and boat shoes are allowed.
There is a public car park available on site, but it can get full quickly.
The racecourse now provides a FREE courtesy bus to get patrons home, and travels to Dapto Train Station, Unanderra Train Station and Wollongong Train Station.
The bus departs from the main car park immediately after the second last and final race of the day.
Kembla Grange also has a train station located directly across the road from the Racecourse. There are traffic lights and a crossing so patrons can safety make their way to and from the train station. For train times visit http://www.sydneytrains.info/timetables/#landingPoint
An on-course taxi rank is also available, located directly in front of the turnstiles.
Total prize money for The Gong horse race is $1 million.
Placing prize money
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