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MICE - Fresh WATC plan targets events scene

THE Western Australian Turf Club is aggressively marketing its racecourses as premier outdoor event locations in an effort to attract non-race related functions and exhibitions to the Ascot and Belmont sites.

According to WATC general manager food and beverage, Anthony Kelly, WATC hopes to stage a major outdoor event at Ascot racecourse’s Tentland every two months as well as to secure more entertainment acts and exhibitions for the Belmont racetrack.

“We’ve just finished the big caravan and camping show and we are going after anything that requires an outdoor venue,” he said.

“This is the biggest licensed premises in WA. With the events we have been chasing in the last year I think more people are becoming aware that we are more than just a racing venue.

“We have a huge facility that was not used outside of Saturdays or a mid weekday every couple of months.

“We would ideally like to do an event at Tentland [Ascot] every two months.”

The decision to expand WATC’s events operations was made a little more than a year ago, in part to attract extra business from the conventions that will be held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, Mr Kelly said.

“We want to be recognised as a place where 5,000 people can come to for outside events. We are putting our hands up and are saying we can do it and building our expertise outside of race days,” he said.

Mr Kelly said WATC had previously hosted outdoor music concerts but was keen to make these events a regular part of the WATC calendar.

“We have secured Science Fiction [a rave party] for next year and we are hoping to get back for next year; there has been a big demand for that to be held at Belmont,” he said.

Mr Kelly said the WATC’s food and beverage team was experienced in catering to large events and used a minimum of outsourcing.

“At the caravan and camping show the only thing we outsourced was a spud van and a cappuccino machine,” he said.

Recent events staged over a number of days catered to 40,000 people.

“At the camping and caravan show we had 40,000 people come in over four days,” Mr Kelly said.

He said WATC was aiming to secure a major attraction for the Labour Day long weekend.

WATC is in the process of securing the Perth Caravan, Camping, and Park Home Show for five years.

WATC will host the RSPCA’s All Creatures day in December. It is the second time the venue will be used by the RSPCA for its event, which attracts 15,000 people. Mr Kelly said Belmont Racecourse would be the venue for the Christian Youth Alive event during the Easter long weekend.

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