Esperance Cup a major economic boon for coastal town

Neale HarveyKalgoorlie Miner
Esperance Bay Turf Club president Ken Norton.
Camera IconEsperance Bay Turf Club president Ken Norton. Credit: Shannon Verhagen/Countryman

Esperance Bay Turf Club’s annual showcase on March 3, underpinned by the running of the $100,000 Esperance Cup (2000m), is tipped to bring major economic benefits to the south coast.

More than 1500 people are expected to attend the club’s 2023-24 finale.

“Goldfields-Esperance generates $54.3 million of the $1.3 billion the racing industry contributes to the State’s economy each year,” Racing and Wagering Western Australia CEO Ian Edwards said.

“While racing in the region has significant economic value, the EBTC plays a vital role as a hub for people to connect and socialise.

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“Racing truly is the social fabric of the Goldfields-Esperance region and the sense of community it offers can be seen on course when everyone gathers for the Esperance Cup.”

About 1220 people take part in racing across Goldfields-Esperance — either as employees, volunteers or participants.

The industry accounts for 430 full-time jobs in the region.

EBTC president Ken Norton, a local businessman, is among the committed Esperance locals who work tirelessly each year to ensure racing’s success in the town.

“I am thrilled with the overwhelming support and enthusiasm we’re receiving for this year’s Esperance Cup,” Mr Norton said.

“We’ve had a fantastic season so far, which has been well-supported by those attending the races and the industry participants who help make each meeting possible.

“The energy and excitement for the cup is building across town, and it’s a testament to everyone who comes together to showcase racing in Esperance.”

Mr Edwards praised the EBTC’s efforts in the lead-up to the cup.

“Racing is an important aspect of many regional towns, such as Esperance, offering not only economic benefit but also fostering community and connection,” he said.

“The Esperance Cup is a highlight of the WA racing calendar and the EBTC committee do a fantastic job each year volunteering their time to make the day a success.”

Adam Durrant has trained the past two Esperance Cup winners, Soviet Spy (2023) and Off Wego (2022).

Meanwhile, Lucy Fiore stole a march on her rivals by grabbing three of the last four winners at Monday’s meeting in Esperance.

Fiore opened her winning account aboard the Jane Hossell-trained Habib ($3.50 favourite) in race five over 1200m.

She followed up in the next race when the Robbie Payton-trained Talk Softley ($2.05 favourite) scored in the $22,000 TABtouch Supports Esperance Bay Turf Club Handicap (1200m).

The gelding has won his past five runs since resuming from a spell and Fiore’s treble was completed in race seven with Acermetric ($7) over 2000m.

Natasha Faithfull rode two winners — Uncompromised ($1.90 favourite) in race one and Red With Ted ($11) in race eight.

Both victories were for Esperance trainer Helen Harding.

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