It appears the race that stops the nation may not have the strong hold it had on Katherine just a few years ago.
While tables were mostly filled with punters timing the end of lunch with the start of the big race, club managers say the signature day might be behind us.
Reports of people boycotting the race as concerns for animal welfare took hold have swept the nation over the past couple of weeks.
But in Katherine, it is more a case of inflexible work situations and a town in slow decline, assistant manager of the Katherine Club Angela Harding said.
"We had 120 booked for lunch last year and just half that this year," she said.
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"The media stuff about the race hasn't extended to Katherine - people still love to get out and place a bet. It's the only time they get to do it, but work is less flexible these days and we are seeing less and less people."
Anecdotal evidence appears to back this notion, dozens of people the Katherine Times spoke to today at the Katherine Club and the Golf Club said they were on "extended" lunch breaks, or their bosses didn't know they were away from their desks.
"I am hoping all of my clients are watching, it is the race that stops the nation, so they hopefully won't need me," Katherine resident Fiona Donovan said.
Most placing bets today said they would be disappointed if the race was to be banned despite a string of deaths on the track each year and increasing concern for race horse welfare.
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