HALLS GAP - The first ever Halls Gap Cup will be run and won at the Stawell Racecourse today.
Halls Gap Tourism Chair and owner of Grampians Chalets Geoff Watts said the decision to get involved with the race day was a marketing strategy worth trialing.
"The January races in Stawell are traditionally one of the top three meets for the year, so we were keen to tap into this event," he said.
Major sponsor Halls Gap Tourism has been joined by a number of local businesses who have also got behind the day.
They are Grampians Chalets, Views Restaurant, Kookaburra Motor Lodge, D'Altons Resort, Quarry Restaurant and Parkgate Resort.
Northern Grampians Shire Council is also a major sponsor of the day.
The eight race program will coincide off the track with the popular 'Ladies Day'.
Stawell Racing Club Operations Manager Penny Penfold said the Women and Country Racing theme was an initiative to increase female attendance.
"Every lady who attends the races will receive free entry as well as a free race book, free drink and free gift," she said.
"Stawell Racing Club is thrilled with the support from Northern Grampians Shire Council and Halls Gap Tourism who have helped make this day possible."
Geoff Watts said Halls Gap Tourism had been trialling a range of new marketing activities this year, including a highly successful television advertising campaign last winter.
"With the January races, we are excited to partner with one of the region's major events to help us tap into new audiences and raise awareness of the wonderful accommodation, shopping, dining and adventure activities on offer in Halls Gap," he said.
"Visitors travelling between the two towns can also learn what else is on offer along this corridor."
The Grampians Halls Gap Cup will be held at 4pm with a ten strong field anticipated.
The Ladies in Racing Magazine Maiden Plate will take place at 2.45pm.
A bus will run from Halls Gap to Stawell, departing at 11.30am this morning.
It will stop at Pomonal at 11.45am and Lake Fyans at 11.50am.
It will return following the final race of the day scheduled at 5.20pm.