Kempsey Race Club's decades old Anzac Day meeting on Thursday has been rescheduled by Racing New South Wales to this Saturday.
Instead of it being a non-TAB meeting of five races worth $40,000, it has been upgraded to a six-race TAB fixture boasting $72,000 prizemoney.
It is the first time that the annual meeting has not be held on Anzac Day, it having been greeted in years past as one to be enjoyed by those attending early morning Anzac Day ceremonies and then, maybe, a game of two-up after the last race.
Club secretary John Graham said Racing NSW had asked him if the meeting could be swapped to be a TAB fixture on Saturday.
"The crowds have fallen away in recent years and the increased prizemoney definitely helps.
"We will retain the main race the Kempsey RSL Club Digger's Cup and there will be free admission to all RSL members.
"The track is in excellent condition and it will be a forerunner to our next meeting (a six-race TAB meeting featuring the Gladstone Cup on the next Saturday, May 4)," he said.
The only negative for Saturday's Kempsey meeting, sponsored by local hoteliers, is that Port Macquarie has a full eight-race TAB meeting the day before and Manning Valley Race Club follows on Tuesday with a seven-race TAB card on Tuesday, these meetings snapping up many of the available pool of gallopers.
But there should be some advantage in having Port's meeting last Saturday abandoned due to the heavy rain and state of the track as it was well patronised with some races having emergencies.
To say Saturday racing is back on the agenda is an understatement with the Mid North Coast Racing Association now having seven Saturday meetings through March to the end of May.
This should be a boon for racegoers unable to attend TAB meetings during the week due to work commitments and wanting to enjoy their racing experience at the track where bookmakers and the
TAB not only bet on the local meeting but also on Sydney and interstate races.
Saturday meetings to come are at Tuncurry on May 18 and at Wauchope on May 25, the latter being a non-TAB fixture.
It has been noted that most of the Saturday meetings have had plenty of emergencies, with 16 being carded for Port's six-race TAB meeting last Saturday, and the increase in races and prizemoney afforded by the TAB fixtures allows more gallopers to participate.