By Geoff Newling
TAMWORTH Jockey Club races its first ever Christmas Eve TAB meeting today as its hierarchy prepares for a re-scheduled opening date for their new multi-million dollar John Clift Stand.
The TJC had hoped to have it all opened and ready to go for its Jardel Cup Country Music meeting in January, however, problems with steel supplies have meant the project is behind schedule and now it is expected to be finished in February with an official opening on April 9, TJC president Tim Coates said.
He and operations manager Victoria Toy took The Leader on a quick tour of the jobsite last week. All the old stand has been gutted and the hull of the new John Clift Stand has been erected.
“It should be finished by March 22 with an official opening on the first race day after that on April 9,” Coates said.
“Just had a few hold-ups with the steel but everything is going well.”
Toy said while only a shell of the new stand was visible, the track for today’s meeting should be in great nick.
“The track is brilliant,” she said.
“We had 12mm Wednesday night and another 20mm wouldn’t hurt either.
“It’s all going well. We fertilised the track at the right time too. It should be just about perfect for Monday.”
Cotes said the strong seven-race meting was a “great way to finish a good year”.
The TJC recently announced a profit of around $80,000 for the racing year and hopes next year will be even better with the completion of the new stand.
He’s also chasing some personal success today as well when Our Boy Danny contests the Merry Christmas From The TJC 3YO Country Plate (1000m).
He and co-TJC committeeman Trevor Davis have shares in the three-year-old son of Bel Danoro but cannot agree on whether he is a sprinter or staying type.
The Gavin Groth-trained gelding has his work cut out from barrier 12, resuming from a spell and coming off a last start eighth at Muswellbrook.
Today’s meeting is featured by the $15,000 Chandler Macleod Open Handicap (1400m) while the meeting leads into the big festive HNWRA meetings at Inverell, Quirindi, Scone and Wallabadah over the next week or so.
Inverell and Quirindi stage traditional Boxing Day non-TAB meetings on Wednesday where the $8000 Goodwood Cup (Inverell) and $7000 Murrurundi Cup (Quirindi) are the features.
Then Scone Race Club stages a provincial TAB meeting on Saturday where the $35,000 SKY Racing Gold Cup is the feature before the huge Inverell and Wallabadah Cups on New Year’s Day kick off a bright 2013 for the HNWRA.
Nominations for four of next Saturday’s Scone meetings have been extended until 11am today.