WHILE it's the race that stops a nation, the departure of Tweed River Jockey Club's long-term secretary manager won't stop Murwillumbah.
Expecting thousands to roll through the gates at the little track among the canefields on Tuesday when Australia stops for the Melbourne Cup, TRJC chairman Bernie Quinn said it would be business as usual, despite the unusual lead-up without Quinn's right-hand man at the club, Brian Charman.
Quinn - Australia's longest-serving racing chairman at 43 years in the role - said after 13 years, Charman's rise to executive officer for Country Racing NSW had left a big hole, but the marquees were going up, a new chef was ready to make his mark and fashions on the field would once again dazzle.
"Brian has gone up the tree and it's a great move for him," Quinn said.
"He was superb. He'd been on the board for 13 years and secretary manager for three and a half, but the show must go on."
Despite showers predicted for Tuesday, Quinn said the weather wouldn't dampen spirits, with a six-race card ready to run on a "fantastic surface".
Bouncing back from severe flooding and badly damaged facilities in March, Quinn said the club's endeavour to survive had the track in excellent condition, with a successful day of racing expected.
Trainer Paul Nipperess, who made the move to his Murwillumbah base from Ballina for more track-work opportunities, was also impressed with the surface leading into Tuesday.
Nipperess, the son of champion trainer of 55 years Kevin Nipperess, makes a Cup Day at Murwillumbah return with his four-year-old gelding Much Deeper, which is running in race two, the Tweed Daily News Maiden Plate.
"It'll be my first run here in years and it's a great starting point for horses coming back from a spell as they only run up to eight horses in a race," Nipperess said.
"But Melbourne Cup day at Murwillumbah is great, and the fashions on the field is unbelievable."
Quinn, who will be front-and-centre for yet another Cup Day at the club he's led for over four decades, said he had no plans of handing the keys in yet.
With a family link and new secretary manager Leanne Moore in the role, Quinn said it was an exciting time to be moving forward as chairman.
"I received an achievement award for racing in NSW and that meant a lot to me," he said.
"I'm like Tony Abbott, I'm still going and the good part is that Damian (son) is the deputy chairman.
"We've got a pretty young board and we'll have a fine race day (Tuesday)."
- Gates open from 10am and admission is $20 per person ($15 for pensioners). Buses run from the Gold Coast and Tweed for $10 return, starting at 9.45am (NSW). Bookings are essential, visit Tweed River Jockey Club online.
Bus timetables: All times are in NSW time
Gold Coast timetable:
Tallebudgera Surf Club 9.45am
Pirate Ship Park, Palm Beach 9.55am
Tugun Surf Club 10am
Kirra Surf Club 10.10am
Tweed Mall bus stop on highway 10.15am
Kennedy Drive Bottleshop 10.20am
Banora Point old bus stop on old highway 10.15am
Tweed City bus stop on Minjungbal Drive 10.25am
Tumbulgum Hotel 10.40am
Tweed Coast timetable:
Pottsville Tavern 10am
Pottsville: Professionals 10am
Cabarita: Opposite Ray White 10.15am
Kingscliff Bowls Club (back entrance) 10.30am
Cudgen Leagues Club 10.40am
Chinderah Tavern 10.45am
Buses return after the last race. Reserved seating bookings only.