GALLERY: Boxing Day race crowd off the pace

MODEST crowds and a blustery Boxing Day weren’t enough to dampen the festive spirit of racegoers who turned out at Broadmeadow on Wednesday.

About 5000 punters and partygoers were on track for the traditional post-Christmas event but that figure was well down compared with bumper crowds of recent years.

In 2008, the Boxing Day races attracted more than 15,000 people to Broadmeadow.

Newcastle Jockey Club chairman Geoff Barnett said the club was pleased with the day, but would review the event in the coming months.

Mr Barnett said previously big profits had been hit because of the need to pay police and security guards to patrol the track.

‘‘I think we’ll have to do a very close analysis of it,’’ Mr Barnett said.

‘‘We were expecting a bigger crowd but by the same token if we had that number of people at every race day we would be very, very happy.

‘‘They were all dressed to the nines and a good crowd.’’

Club chief executive Cameron Williams said those who made their way out to Broadmeadow were enjoying themselves with activities and a day’s racing.

‘‘Absolutely they are, compared to this time last year when we were closed in the lead-up [to Boxing Day],’’ Mr Williams said.

The horses often provide a sideshow on Boxing Day, when colourful frocks and smart suits are the order of the day.

Attractions included a jazz ‘‘precinct’’, salsa dancing and DJs. Trackside marquees were the most popular venues as the younger crowd soaked up the atmosphere.

Racegoers Courtney Barber from Jewells and Rosie Jones from Warners Bay had blisters from their high heels as they walked from the racecourse at the end of the day.

‘‘The drinks were so expensive, but it was good,’’ Ms Jones said.

Alyce Greaves of The Junction said she enjoyed the atmosphere, but didn’t watch the races.

‘‘It was all about partying,’’ she said.

Police reported no serious incidents from the day.

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