Australian Turf Club Rules Out Throwing Open Gates As Winter Crowds Fall Away
The Australian Turf Club "has ruled out any plans to throw open the gates during the winter months," despite less than 4,000 punters "rolling up to Rosehill last Saturday," according to Christian Nicolussi of the DAILY TELEGRAPH. The atmosphere "could only be described as miserable" at the western Sydney track, despite trainer Chris Waller "doing his best to breathe life into the meeting with a winning treble." As Rosehill struggled for an on-track audience, the Sydney Swans pulled in more than 41,000 fans across town at the Sydney Cricket Ground for their four-point thriller against Port Adelaide. While racing crowds "have dwindled over the years," slashing the A$15 ($14) general entry fee "won’t be considered by the ATC." An ATC spokesperson said that the club "had trialled free entry in the past, including Saturdays, but it had done nothing to improve crowd numbers." Prominent owner and former Sydney Turf Club committeeman Nick Moraitis said that free entry "wouldn’t work, and if anything the ATC needed to do more to drive down food prices." Moraitis: "We need to make food more affordable" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 6/17).