MOMENTS of tense anticipation, passionate cheers then utter elation - Bathurst sporting fans are set to experience that raw emotion in a double-header of epic proportions.
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The finals night of this year's annual Gold Crown Carnival has been moved from its traditional Saturday timeslot to Friday, avoiding a clash with Bathurst's NRL match between Penrith and Newcastle.
It means sports fans will be able to cheer on their favourite horses trackside in Australia's richest country racing series one night and watch the defending NRL premiers in action the next.
"It's a weekend with two of the biggest sporting events for a city outside the metropolitan region, it's a huge thing for Bathurst as not too many places would host an NRL game and a carnival offering nearly a million dollars in prize on the same weekend," Danny Dwyer, Bathurst Harness Racing Club's CEO, said.
While this year marks the seventh time the Penrith Panthers have staged a home game at Bathurst's Carrington Park, the Gold Crown Carnival has an even richer history.
This year's edition, which runs from March 16-25, will be the 36th.
Amongst the hopefuls is a two-year-old called Captains Knock which is part-owned by Canberra Raiders star Jarrod Croker, as well as a host of local chances.
"It's got that history and tradition and it's not always about the prize money, it's that prestige of winning it," Dwyer said.
"There's no better feeling that being on course and watching a race when a local wins it - like when Geoff Simpson won or when Bernie Hewitt won.
"Just the raw emotion, it means a lot for people to win, they really want to win a Gold Crown or a Gold Tiara."
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