Punters will flock to the Bunbury Turf Club this Saturday for the first meet of the 2016-17 season and they will be greeted with some welcome surprises.

Not only will race fans get to see the new 80sq m television at the winning post, but they will also be able to enjoy a beverage and back their favourite horse at the Winning Post Bar.

The bar is now fully enclosed and is accessible via bi-folding doors.

Inside is a race wall, with 10 televisions with 140cm screens and self-service TAB machines.

The day will be highlighted by eight races with metropolitan prize money.

The feature race will be the $100,000 Tab-touch 3YO Classic (1000m), which will feature a number of powerful stayers from around the State.

Club chief executive officer Alex Doble said the members and staff were looking forward to Saturday.

“We are looking to kick off the season in style with a stand-alone metro meeting,” he said.

“Over the day there is close to half a million dollars in prize money on offer.”

Mr Doble said the race day would also give the club a chance to show off its new facilities, which were “customer-orientated”.

“We think both facilities will add to the race day experience,” he said.

Racing and Gaming Minister Colin Holt announced that the next meet on Thursday, November 20 would also play host to the inaugural Regional Championships heat.

Four tracks – Bunbury, Geraldton, Mt Barker and Northam – will stage $30,000 Regional Championships heats that will feed horses into the $100,000 final which will take place immediately before the Group One Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot.

The Bunbury Turf Club season kicks off on Saturday, with gates open at 11.30am and the first race starting at 1.14pm.

Courtesy of Mitchell Woodcock – South Western Times