Thousands of racegoers are expected to flock to the Murrumbidgee Turf Club for Saturday's Country Championships meeting in what could herald the return to something resembling normality.
MTC chief executive Steve Keene said there's a buzz of excitement ahead of the eight-race meeting which culminates in the $150,000 Southern District qualifier for the Newhaven Park Country Championships (which has been held in Albury the past two years).
"We're really looking forward to it. It's great to be having a crowd back of substantial numbers, and to have the heat back at what is the premier facility in the SDRA is really good, " Keene said.
"We're excited to showcase how good our track is and there's going to be a big crowd to see it."
"It's going to be a very even race and there are some horses high up in the market that have drawn tricky barriers so luck's going to play a bit of a part, which makes it a really interesting race," he said.
Well over 300 patrons are booked for a luncheon and double that number are expected in The Sky Call Lawn setting a base for good numbers.
"We think we'll land between three thousand and four thousand, all socially distanced and with plenty of COVID officers and those things which are the norm now in 2021," Keene said.
"If that's the small price to pay to hold events, we're willing to pay it."
Tickets at the gate are $10 ($5 for concession), with spectator entry via Slocum Street only. Tickets for the Lawn are $40 at the gate, including entry and entertainment (which will also feature DJs Mashd n Kutcher and Jesabel).
The SDRA Country Championships Qualifier is at 5.40pm. The first race is at 1.20pm.
The Showcase meeting carries prizemoney of $40,000 for two other races and $30,000 for the five remaining events.
"It's a brilliant card. The fields are nice and full and the big wide expanses of the Wagga track will give all horses a chance. It'll be a really good day's racing," Keene said.