IT'S an annual event which holds a special place on the Bathurst sporting calendar and the 2022 edition of the Gold Crown Carnival has already attracted big interest.
After a 2020 carnival with no spectators due to COVID-19, then a washed-out meeting which forced a reschedule in 2021, the 36th edition has attracted a good list of eligible runners.
That is in part due to an increase in prize money for the feature two-year-old series - the Gold Crown and Gold Tiara.
"You are always trying to tweak things, to improve the product, there are always things you look at," Danny Dwyer, Bathurst Harness Racing Club's CEO, said.
"This year there is a different structure with the prize money, we've made a dedicated increase to get the two-year-old finals up a little bit above that $100,000, then to promote the Gold Consolations as $50,000 when they were $30,000 last year.
"We're just trying to reinvigorate that little bit of interest in the carnival and get the focus back on the two-year-old series without taking anything away from the three-year-old series, which is a great back up.
"Our final numbers are 134 for the two-year-old colts and fillies.
"Obviously those numbers don't always translate into fields, some can fall away, but they're probably as good a numbers as we've had in the last couple of years."
This year will mark the 36th edition of the Gold Crown Carnival and while the five-meeting event will provide plenty of racing highlights, Dwyer feels the build up is just as important.
"It's one of those long standing two-year-old events that's created it's own spot in the calendar, everyone knows it is on," he said.
"It's step-wise process with payments where you've got to pay up for the horse when it's a foal, to a yearling to a two-year-old and that sort of thing just keeps it in the back of peoples' minds all the time, that they're paid up for this race.
"People are also buying horses at yearling sales and breeding horses as well, so from that perspective it's always ticking away in the background."
The carnival commences on Wednesday night with a meeting which features the heats of the two-year-old fillies Gold Tiara series.
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