DUNKELD Racing Club officials are hoping to defy a trend of declining crowds at feature race meetings this spring when it hosts its annual cup day on Saturday.
Crowd numbers were down for the four day Victoria Racing Club carnival at Flemington last week on the back of similar problems at Caulfield and Moonee Valley carnivals in previous weeks.
The overall attendance for this year's Flemington carnival was 276,186.
Racing officials are blaming equine welfare concerns and bad weather for declining crowd numbers but Dunkeld manager Lisa Evans is hopeful they will change the trend this Saturday.
"The early indications are we'll have a big crowd on Saturday," Evans said.
"We've already sold more then 4,500 pre-sold tickets which is on a path to how we were travelling at the corresponding time last year.
"We had a real spike in ticket sales last week.
"We tend to have a different demographic then other race meetings.
"Last year we had 12,000 patrons which was a 30 per cent increase on the previous year. We're hoping to get around 12,000 people again, if we get near that number we'll be really pleased."
Admittance price for the day is unchanged at $25 for adults with children under 16 admitted free.
The event includes free activities for children, Fashions on the Field and live entertainment.