Halls Gap Cup raceday to honour emergency services

The second annual Grampians Halls Gap Cup today at NMIT Park in Ararat, will honour the work of emergency services during the recent bushfires.

The eight-race meeting was to be held in Stawell, but a section of track affected by poor drainage, forced the meeting to be relocated to the Ararat Racecourse.

Any member of the fire brigade, SES, police or ambulance will be treated like VIPs on the race day, which is being sponsored by Halls Gap Tourism, the State Government, Northern Grampians Shire Council and several other Grampians businesses.

"The Grampians community cannot thank the emergency services enough for the tremendous job they did protecting Halls Gap and its surrounds," Halls Gap Tourism Chair, Geoff Watts said.

"To thank them, we'll be offering free entry, barbecue lunch, drink on arrival and a stubby holder.

"We hope that any emergency services personnel planning a well-earned break can come along today, to what is going to be a relaxing social day featuring top country racing."

Mr Watts said that the Grampians Halls Gap Cup was launched last year to strengthen the village's connection with Stawell, its nearest service centre. Last year's race day attracted around 600 people.

"With Halls Gap and Stawell both premier tourist destinations and only 20 minutes apart, it's important that we continue to strengthen our business relationships," Mr Watts said.

"We came up with this key event to bring the two communities closer together. But this year it's mostly about thanking our selfless emergency personnel."

Gates at Ararat Racecourse will open at 11am. There will be a return bus from Halls Gap.

The first race on the program will be at 11.55am, with the last scheduled for 4pm.

The second annual Grampians Halls Gap Cup will be run at 2.45pm and Stawell trained mare Spanish Vixen, a last start winner of the Great Western Cup, will be one of the main chances in the feature event.

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