2020 SeaLink Kangaroo Island Cup Carnival breaks records, helps bushfire recovery

The 2020 SeaLink Kangaroo Island Racing Carnival attracted a record crowd, boosting to the Island's recovery after the devastating bushfires.

KI Racing Committee chairman Mark Turner said there were 3800 people counted through the gates on Saturday, February 22.

There would have been several hundred additional people at the Kingscote race track not counted, including the trainers, jockeys, volunteers and hospitality workers.

"I've heard that it was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, single-day event on Kangaroo Island ever," Mr Turner said.

Many who attended from the mainland came over to enjoy the races and spend their money to help the Island get back on its feet.

The carnival started out with a well attended day on Day 1, Thursday and this was followed by a community street party organised by the Aurora Ozone Hotel on Friday evening and then the main day of racing including the Dudley Wines KI Cup on Saturday.

A highlight of the day came in Race 1 when local Kangaroo Island trainer David Hall won with his horse William's Quest, which came third on Thursday.

Apprentice jockey Sophie Logan from Murray Bridge won the Dudley Wines Kangaroo Island Cup for trainer Grant Young aboard Diamonds Are.

Beth Overall from Victor Harbor won the female fashions on the field competition.

Premier Stephen Marshall stopped in at the races on Saturday morning, his ninth trip to KI since the fires started back in December.

"It's a great opportunity to catch up on all the recovery and it's going to take a long period of time," Mr Marshall said. "It's fantastic to see so many people here at the races, all contributing to the Island's tourism."

"We all have to realise it's not going to take three or even six months to fully recovery, it's going to take years and years."

Jetting in on Saturday where 130 racegoers on two Alliance Airlines aircraft, one from Brisbane and one from Adelaide.

The charters were thanks to event organiser and former West Coast resident, Danny Sheehan, who wanted to do his bit to help the Island recover from the bushfires.

Mr Sheehan also organised the auction of a travel package to Los Angeles. Jon Stretch of Brisbane put in the winning bid of $17,500, with Alliance Airlines managing director Scott McMillan bidding on Jon's behalf as he was not able to attend.

An Adelaide Crows membership raised $2000 in the auction while former Port player and Sheehan's cousin Antony Sheehan paid $1700 for the Port Adelaide membership.

Antony was one of 19 cousins of Danny Sheehan that flew over from Adelaide, while there was also group of 25 KI locals in the Alliance Airlines delegation.

All proceeds from the auction and profits from the KI Racing Committee were donated to the KI Mayoral Relief and Recovery Bushfire Fund, which just this weekend topped $4 million. Click here to donate

The KI Racing Club Long Lunch marquee was this year wonderfully decked out in a honey theme, with local honey producer Peter Davis and his daughter-in-law Sabrina there to talk about the Island's honey industry that lost as many as 1000 hives in the bushfires.

Normally staffed by the Parndana Football Club, many of whose members are recovering from fighting and surviving the fires, the Long Lunch this year was supervised by KI local Susi Whitehead who recruited a team of staff headed by long-time lunch coordinator Fleur Peters.

After the races, Kingscote on Saturday night was a hive activity with revellers enjoying the music and atmosphere on at the Aurora Ozone Hotel, while there was a long line to get into the Queenscliffe Family Hotel.

There was also a live music gig at the Kingscote Town Hall, featuring local band 36 South and Adelaide cover band "noasis".