FABULOUS FUN DAY
By MEL MARTIN
RAIN, hail or shine, nothing would have kept Yvonne and Gordon Holmes away from the Coffs Harbour Racetrack yesterday.
The couple, who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year, haven't missed a Coffs Cup in eight years, and have been coming whenever possible for the past 20.
"It gets better every year," Mrs Holmes said.
Their enthusiasm was obvious with blanket, chairs and picnic set up at their usual spot near the big screen from early in the day.
"It's a really good family day. You can bring your picnic lunch and you don't have to worry," Mrs Holmes said.
"And I really enjoy watching the horses. They're magnificent."
The horses did make an appearance, with a huge crowd watching Grafton-trained outsider Concitare win the Carlton Draught 2005 Coffs Harbour Gold Cup by one-and-a-quarter lengths (see Sport for details).
In fact, first-timer at the races Daniel Bannerman, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday at the track, with his wife, Gemma, and young son, Levi, was taken by surprise by the crowd.
"I just couldn't believe the number of people," he said.
"We went to Club Festivus and because it was my birthday I had a chance to choose a ticket, and I picked the winning ticket!"
And, with the crowds so well behaved, Coffs Harbour Racing Club chief executive officer Sherryn Tutt was thrilled with the day.
"I'm really happy with the turnout, it's fabulous," she said.
The rain threatened all day, but held out for most it, starting just in time for Fashions on the Field and the last race.
And while many will wake up this morning with empty wallets and sore heads, the unforgettable memories will no doubt make up for it.