Murrumbidgee Turf Club (MTC) are looking to bring in Christmas with a bang on Friday.
The club is hopeful of a bigger than average crowd for the annual Christmas Eve race meeting with this year's Ted Ryder Cup day falling on a Friday.
New MTC chief executive Jason Ferrario is a big believer in the Christmas Eve meeting and the potential it has for race goers.
The club has booked talented Wagga musician Nathan Lamont to perform from 2.15pm until 6.30pm, alongside the eight-race card.
Ferrario believes everything has come together nicely for the MTC to provide the perfect pre-Christmas festivities.
"We see it as a great opportunity to catch up for Christmas," Ferrario said.
"I think out in the country it's natural that a lot of people come 'home' for Christmas and often catch up at the pub. To think that our race meeting falls on Christmas Eve, it's a great opportunity for people to get their day started a bit earlier.
"The weather forecast is great, so it will be a great opportunity to be out here in a nice, relaxed environment and watch some quality horse racing.
"Given people normally catch up on Christmas Eve, what a great place to catch up at the racetrack, a little bit earlier in the day and you can move on to dinner after the races are finished."
Ferrario expects the desire for people to get out and about will be greater this year due to another COVID-impacted year.
"If you put everything together, access to the racecourse has been restricted by COVID, now it's not, the race day falls on Christmas Eve, where people love to catch up, with such a great forecast...it will be perfect," he said.
"It's a forecast for nice weather, not hot weather. There are no indications it's going to be anything like 40 degrees, the forecast for the moment is for around 31, 32, so it will be perfect.
"People can come out here, have a nice cold beer with your friends in a relaxed environment outdoors and with some really good tunes in the background. A lot of businesses are closing up early so there is going to be a lot of people with the day off to start their holiday period, and what a great place to get it started."
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The annual Ted Ryder Cup race day has attracted 155 nominations for the eight-race card.
The feature, the $34,000 Ted Ryder Cup, drew just 11 nominations, headed by in-form Wagga front-runner Zakeriz.
It will also be the first meeting featuring the new Wagga winning post.
The MTC has built a new winning post that features the ability to fold down. The idea behind that will see a shift in the Riverside track winning post and, hopefully, a significant improvement in the deceptive camera angle for finishes on the inside circuit.
"It was time for change," Ferrario said.
"Now that the brick structure's gone, you can see how big of a presence it was. This winning post opens up the track a little bit, you can see more of the scenery behind the post, and the beauty to his post is that it's a structure that folds down."
Ferrario added that the Ted Ryder Cup meeting is a 'great warm up' for MTC's three race meetings next month, January 8, 18 and 26.
They naturally will build towards the big one, the SDRA Country Championships Qualifier, on Saturday, February 19.
Tickets for Friday's race meeting can be purchased online for $10 at trybooking.com, or $15 at the gate.
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