Victoria Minister for Racing Martin Pakula
Hero Horses To Feature At Bendigo Pacing Cup
Victor P Taffa
Retired racehorses are set to return to the track today for this year’s Bendigo Pacing Cup as ambassadors for the Harness Education Re-homing Opportunities (HERO) program.
“Bendigo Pacing Cup is a highlight on the harness racing calendar and gives retired horses a life after racing.” Minister for Racing Martin Pakula said.
“The meeting has produced some outstanding winners in the past and I encourage people to head down to the track for this year’s race.”
Bendigo Pacing Cup meeting is being supported with a joint $29,000 funding package from the Andrews Government, Bendigo Harness Racing Club and the local community.
HERO program retrains retired racehorses to become trail riding ponies, competitive show and eventing horses, or simply pleasure animals and family pets.
Retired horses will lead all race fields on to the track and the public will have the opportunity to meet them throughout the evening.
“This program will give old race horses a new lease on life, and ensure they can continue to entertain audiences and bring people to Bendigo.” Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said.
Bendigo Harness Racing Club will promote the event as ‘$5 Friday’, with half-price entry and a free racebook. A range of family friendly entertainment will be on-course including Kelly Sports activities, jumping castles, face painting and pony rides.
“BHRC is grateful for the Victorian Government’s ongoing support, which will allow the club to stage an exciting night of racing and entertainment.” Bendigo Harness Racing Club Operations Manager (BHRC) Gary Cooper said.
“We are also pleased that the HERO program will be on hand to showcase some of the horses who have benefited from this wonderful animal welfare initiative.”
Additional upstairs seating will also be available and furnished marquees will be provided free of charge on the grassed trackside area.
State Government will contribute $14,600 towards the event through the Victorian Racing Industry Fund Raceday Attraction Program. The club is providing almost $9,700 and local businesses are contributing a further $4,950.
Racing industry in the Loddon region alone generates more than $166 Million for the Victorian economy and helps sustain more than 1,640 full-time equivalent jobs locally.