The biggest mystery of international races - the 19.5 per cent drop in attendance - was solved yesterday after executive director of security, Tim McNally, provided the Jockey Club with a study of customer movement at all turnstiles on the big day for the past two years. 'The downturn in attendance was, to me, a key issue, because I felt we had a tremendous atmosphere at the course - better than the year before,' said executive director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges. 'I asked Tim for an analysis of people entering and leaving the track and we found that, last year, over 18,500 people had left the track before 3pm. In other words, they'd been and gone before the big events had even been staged. 'It seems that, last year, the club had heavily promoted some free gifts to patrons and that provided a face-value attendance, but unfortunately it was not real. A number of people were arriving for the free gifts and basically turning straight around and heading out - something I found quite amazing.' Engelbrecht-Bresges said the re-worked attendance figures provided a much more 'real' picture. 'The real attendance, factoring out these people who had left early with their free gifts, was 41,000 last year and increased to 47,000 this year - an increase of 15 per cent. 'I stress this is not a case of Winston Churchill's 'I only believe the figures I falsified myself'. But these attendance figures reflect the way the meeting felt to everyone on Sunday. We are delighted with that sort of increase, which shows us we are definitely headed in the right direction.'