Punters relish cup return

RACE DAY FUN: Pheobe McGuinness, Maddie Dulmer, Simone Williamson, Claudia Pratt, Tayla Wechon, Madeliene Butler and Georgia Clark.

Charlotte Varcoe

A DAMP track did not dampen spirits at the 2021 3MP Millicent Cup on Sunday with around 600 people flocking to Penola Racecourse, with spectators proving crucial in preventing a mid-event cancellation.

After a crowd-less event in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, punters relished the cup day return with a family atmosphere under autumn sunshire.

Prior to the main event – the 3MP Millicent Cup – a jockey filed a complaint about the track condition, claiming it was too wet to race.

Millicent Racing Club president John Payne said the complaint almost ended in an event cancellation, however spectators banded together to tread down the course’s grass between the 500 and 600 metre mark, saving the day.

“The day went as good as we had hoped it would be with the right weather and most things did go to plan,” Mr Payne said.

“Spectators helped us save the day by trodding down the damp grass, which allowed for the rest of the races to go ahead.

“It was a unique situation having spectators helping us with it but everyone was there to watch the cup so if they didn’t help then it wouldn’t have been able to go ahead.”

Despite the slight hiccup, the club president said the day was a success with the annual luncheon providing fantastic food to members, who were entertained by guest speaker John Letts.

“John was a fantastic speaker, he entertained the crowd and as a renowned Adelaide jockey it was great to have him there,” Mr Payne said.

Mr Payne said it was fantastic to welcome spectators back to the course.

“Racing is all about the spectators and punters and without them it is pretty ordinary and the crowds were pining for it to go ahead once again and have been waiting for the races,” Mr Payne said.

“And although it was a fantastic turnout, there were those who live just over the border in Victoria who would typically come but missed out, as well as some horses who had to be scrapped because they weren’t able to come over either.”

Regardless, he hailed the day a grand success and complimented the men and women who entered the annual Fashions on the Field competition.

Men, women and children donned in their best outfits to take to the stage with Millicent’s Rose Slape taking home the Best Dressed in the women’s category.

“I was thrilled when I found out I had won and the whole day overall was fantastic,” Ms Slape said.

The winning frock was handmade by a Millicent dressmaker and Ms Slope’s eye-catching headpiece was made by herself using a leather base and resin features.

She said the highlight of the day was getting to know her runner-up Victoria Penfold and bonding over their love of fashion.

Daniel Horrell came first in the men’s category closely followed by Sam Tincknell, who also came runner-up in the couple’s category with his wife Kimmi behind Cathryn and Fred Warner.