GREAT WESTERN - The Seppelt Salinger Great Western Cup has continued to grow with an increase in crowd numbers for the second consecutive year.
While the official figures are yet to be finalised, gate takings have surpassed 2012.
The well-behaved crowd was treated to a fantastic day of racing action on Australia Day, with Ken Moore-trained Gottino narrowly pipping Watto's Racer at the post to win the Great Western Cup.
There was plenty happening off the track including a visit from celebrity chef Tobie Puttock, kids activities and post-race entertainment was provided by 'The Voice' finalist Jimmy Cupples and his band, The Unusual Suspects.
Great Western Racing Club secretary, Michael Barry, was thrilled with the reception the day received.
"Tobie (Puttock) was very successful and people loved the band," Mr Barry said.
The weather was perfect, not too hot for this year's event and a number of racegoers opted to stick around and listen to the band perform.
"The band was fantastic. They were scheduled to play to 7pm, but they played until almost eight, which was sensational," Mr Barry said.
Fashions on the Field returned again in 2013 and was a huge hit with the crowd.
"The Fashions on the Field had the biggest number of entries ever. We had kids, ladies, gents and an Australian theme and in total around 90 to 100 entries."
However, not all horse fields were filled which according to Mr Barry, was 'a bit disappointing.'
"We don't have much control over that," he said.
"Having the Stawell race meeting so close might have taken a few race horses for us.
"Having said that, everything was up - the bar, marquees, fashions and the regatta."
The Tuckers Hill Quarry Great Australia Day Boat Race was again one of the highlights of the day.
All 25 boats were sponsored by a local business and this year, the winners were Elise Willie, Trent Grellet, Travis McConnell and Damian McKenzie.
Buses returning to Stawell and Ararat following the meeting, organised by the Great Western Racing Club, were also successful.
Next year, the club will look to expand their service to Lake Fyans and Halls Gap.
Meanwhile, Mr Barry said the race track went well.
"It started off as a good three and was a good two by the end. It had dried out," he said.
A number of people opted to make the most of the long weekend with the amount of campers increasing from last year.
There was also a clash with a music festival in Moyston but the race club are hoping to avoid that next year.
Great Western Racing Club had their biggest media campaign ever in the lead up to the 2013 Seppelt Salinger Cup.
The club will analyse where the racegoers came from and are set to receive feedback from their marketing as it looks towards next year's event.
"We're already looking ahead to next year and how we can improve it, making it bigger and better," Mr Barry said.
"We'd like to thank the whole committee and Darren Galley who is always a good supporter of the event, Country Racing Victoria, the local footy club and committee, the people that turn up and Seppelt's as well as all our other sponsors.
The 2014 Seppelt Salinger Great Western Cup will be held on Saturday, January 25.