December 3, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

The Australian Turf Club (ATC) held a preview of its new $46.6 million WINX Stand for industry last night at Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney, kicking the event off with a five-piece band at the entrance and putting an Australian icon on stage to celebrate the opening.

With the entrance flanked by two horses and their riders, guests were greeted by cheerful brass and woodwind, setting an upbeat tone before they even got into the new space.

The new venue has been realised entirely during the pandemic, with the site a patch of grass just 13 months ago.

“It’s a pretty astonishing achievement I think, particularly through the year we’ve had, through COVID, through interruptions,” ATC’s Executive General Manager of Commercial, Melinda Madigan, told the assembled crowd.

“To be able to share and showcase this with you tonight, it makes it all very much even more special.

“You are among the very first people to set foot in this venue.”

She said ATC was expecting the new stand to join Sydney’s offering to the international business events market.

“As soon as those borders open…we’ll be looking forward to welcoming in a number of international events here in Sydney and here at the WINX Stand at Royal Randwick.”

She said the stand was already in high demand.

“We’re already booked out for the full month of December and the team have extensive and ongoing enquiries for the new year into 2022 and beyond, so we’re really excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Last night’s event included an appearance by Christine Anu (and daughter) who performed a short set for guests.

The new two-floor space has three distinct indoor spaces – one of which can be split into three on its own – and an outdoor terrace.

The entire venue can host 4,000 cocktail, or 500 in each of the two upper floor spaces and 3,000 on the ground floor. The two upstairs rooms can host 400 each in banquet, with the downstairs space able to host 1,800 seated in banquet.

The new WINX Stand at Royal Randwick | Image: Oneill Photographics