Trainer says ailing Ballina Cup should return to Thursday
VETERAN trainer Kevin Nipperess said it would be a shame if Ballina Shire lost its public holiday for the Ballina Cup.
Mr Nipperess conceded the attendance of 2000 at the September 12 race meeting was "the worst I've seen", but said he wanted to see a return to a Thursday race day.
But a move back to a mid-week Cup would need a part-day public holiday.
He was saddened by the latest attendance figures.
"It concerns me greatly as the Ballina track has been my life," he said.
"Ballina is a racing town.
"It's been a failure, the three Friday race days we've had. On Friday, people want to make a long weekend of it."
At the race meeting this year, Ballina Shire mayor David Wright said it would be "hard to justify" the public holiday next year.
Cr Wright said he had received mostly negative feedback about the holiday, with the main issues being the financial burden on local businesses paying penalty rates and the "inconvenience" for parents of schoolchildren because many schools closed at noon.
Mr Nipperess has trained racehorses for 55 years. He has trained three Ballina Cup winners and plenty of placegetters.
Mr Nipperess reckoned the Thursday race day would be more suited to local business people.