162nd run down Wallabadah hill

BILL Kelly might be in his second term as Wallabadah Jockey Club president but he’s backed by plenty of experience and a family steeped in racing at the unique once-a-year “picnic” racing track.

Yesterday he was track side adding some final touches to the hillside course for tomorrow’s 162nd cup meeting.

Finishing with 28 runners for the five-race meeting and seven in the 162nd Maurice Murphy Memorial Wallabadah Cup (1500m) is par for the course at the track, which circumnavigates the small nine hole golf course.

“It’s all looking a lot better than it did a few weeks ago before we got some good rain,” Kelly said yesterday.

“I’m pretty lucky though. There’s not many new presidents on a committee that can call on four or five past presidents for help. I’ve got some good people with a lot more experience than me to help.

“People like Myron (Novell) and Pete (Jenkins) Gerard and Tim Mackie. Myron was just here actually. He had to go to work but will be back later this afternoon.

“That’s what it’s like down here.

“I’m from a Wallabadah family. My brother Chris (Kelly) is the secretary now too. When I was a small bloke, all I wanted to do was work behind the bar on cup day. Now I’ve got the licence in my name!” He said Wallabadah is aging (as a town) and that is highlighted by the fact the five races at tomorrow’s cup meeting are all memorial races.

“We lost Phil Carter this year,” he said.

“He used to sell our racebooks at the gate. Did it for 32 years.”

People like that are irreplaceable for little clubs such as Wallabadah.

It also makes tomorrow’s race day an emotional day for the families and people connected to those late, departed club stalwarts.

Bill Kelly also thanks companies such as Bidvest for their support and Tamworth accountant Terry Psarakis.

“Terry advertises in our race book,” he said.

“It isn’t much but he’s from outside our community and helps us keep the prizemoney.”

Kelly said around 1000 people turned out last year and after Quirindi Jockey Club had its biggest Boxing Day meeting for 10 years last week is confident of increasing that 

tomorrow.

It’s also going to be hot and he asks people to come with plenty of liquids and sunshade.

He also believes the cup might be headed to another apprentice.

“The last 11 cups have all been won by an apprentice jockey,” he said.

“It might help that they don’t know what sort of track Wallabadah is.”

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