Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Thousands gather for Ekka race party

Thousands of sharply dressed young people, including many first-timers, flocked to Eagle Farm Racecourse yesterday for the annual Brisbane Exhibition Wednesday Races event.

Affectionally known as the ‘Ekka Races’, the event has been a popular destination for young men and women on the ‘People’s Day’ public holiday in Brisbane for many years.

While the holiday is aimed primarily at attracting locals to the Royal Queensland Show, the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) uses the day to attract a newer, younger audience to the sport of horse racing.

Organisers say a large crowd was lured to the event by live music, fashion awards and several other party events against a backdrop of alcohol, gambling and the occasional horse race.

Katrina Keable, Nathan McKinnon and Hayley Robertson, all 18, attended their first race day event yesterday and admitted the actual horse racing finished second place to the social atmosphere.

While Mr McKinnon, tongue firmly in cheek, confessed he would like to have a go at riding the horses, the group of three collectively agreed they were there for the party.

Ms Robertson said she was not at the event for the racing.

“I don’t really have the money to have a bet, well I might bet if I get some coinage but probably won’t … I don’t even know how to bet,” she said.

Thousands of young people crammed into an open, largely uncovered venue where the alcohol flowed, with Ms Keable saying she was shocked at how hard some people were partying.

“We saw three people vomit shortly after we got here about 1pm and five minutes ago we saw a girl literally jump straight into a bin,” Ms Keable said.

Nicole Rogers, 22, was also at her first race event and agreed some of the racegoers needed to try and control their alcohol consumption a bit better.

“If you’re grown up enough to get all dressed up, you should be able to handle your alcohol and know when you’ve had enough,” Ms Rogers said.

The trio said they were slightly disappointed there was only eight races at this year’s event, they unanimously said they would be back again.

Bar and betting marquees were set up around the race track with dance stages and a mini carnival catering for people of all tastes.

While some attend the event for the racing, many others come to enjoy the party, with thousands likely to come back and do it all again.