June Carnival earns award nomination

Victory Downs wins this year's Murray Downs Swan Hill Cup. The annual three-day June Carnival has been nominated for the Country Racing Victoria Event of the Year. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

Victory Downs wins this year's Murray Downs Swan Hill Cup. The annual three-day June Carnival has been nominated for the Country Racing Victoria Event of the Year. Picture: PAMELA BLACKMAN

JUNE'S Murray Downs Swan Hill Cup Carnival has been shortlisted for an award at this year's Country Racing Victoria (CRV) Awards.

The three-day carnival has been listed for the CRV Event of the Year, alongside seven other country racing events.

The carnival has been frequently nominated in the category in recent years, and won the award in 2014.

CRV chief executive Scott Whiteman declared the night is one of the highlights on the thoroughbred racing calendar.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to bring all of our clubs together and to celebrate the things that make country racing in Victoria so great," he said.

The events are judged against a number of criteria including attendance, financial performance and community engagement.

In terms of attendance, more people piled through the gates across the three days than ever before.

Attendance across the carnival fell just shy of five figures with 9745 people attending across the weekend, with a record 5519 spectators on course for Cup Day.

"We have had steady increases over the last few years," Murray Mallee Racing chief executive Aaron Garvie said.

"The attendance on Swan Hill Cup Day was the highest we have ever had and hopefully that increases next year."

The awards will be held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on August 26 with more than 600 staff and attendees expected to be present.

The carnival is up against events such as the Ballarat Cup, Geelong Cup, Wodonga Cup and the Warrnambool May Racing Carnival.

"Warrnambool had more than 10,000 people attend their Cup day, but when you take into account the difference in population, comparatively, we did better," Mr Garvie said.

Attention has now be turned to next ensuring the carnival continues to grow in 2018 and beyond.

Also nominated in the event of the year category is the Elders Mt Wycheproof Cup.

Staged every year on Derby Day, the Mt Wycheproof Cup always draws a bumper crowd.

Last year's renewal attracted headlines near and far thanks to the riding feats of Swan Hill jockey Harry Coffey.

Coffey rode six winners from seven races and partnered Vianden to Cup glory for his dad, astute trainer Austy.

Vianden is among five contenders announced for the Horse of the Year award.

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