MUSWELLBROOK Race Club and Tamworth Jockey Club might be gearing up for big Melbourne Cup day race meetings but Armidale and Moree have been cut from the annual raceday merry-go-round.
In the past, Moree Race Club and Armidale Jockey Club staged race meetings on Melbourne Cup day but in two weeks’ time they will be missing from the racing fever as Racing NSW officials have halved the meetings in the Hunter and North West Racing Association.
Armidale Jockey Club secretary Jim Dedes can understand why too.
“There weren’t enough stewards and tote people to go around,” Dedes said yesterday.
“We’ve been running a picnic meeting up here for the past four or five years but the RNSW stewards were spread too thinly.
“They used to fly in a tote person from Bathurst to run the tote here and we had stewards coming from all over.”
The annual picnic meeting had small fields and amateur riders.
“They were good days,” Dedes said.
“But they were days we had to largely fund ourselves too and, while we were lucky with some great sponsors, it has been getting increasingly harder to fund.
“Moree were probably in the same boat and at Tamworth they used to limit the fields to eight on Cup day.
“This will probably boost them and Muswellbrook.
“And while we don’t have the picnic meeting, a lot of people enjoy going to the local pubs or clubs to watch the Melbourne Cup.”
While Armidale misses out on Cup day, it does run its Armidale Independent Spring Cup day the Sunday after the Melbourne Cup.
“That’s on Sunday, November 11 – it should be a big day for us,”Dedes said.
Tamworth and Muswellbrook are preparing for big Melbourne Cup meetings.
Tamworth recently announced its new corporate signage winners.
Carlton United Breweries and Tamworth City Toyota will have their names emblazoned on the signs at the top of the Tamworth straight for the next 12 months.
Tamworth will be able to cater for another big crowd despite the erection of the new John Clift Stand.
Muswellbrook is also preparing for not only its big Melbourne Cup-Muswellbrook Cup meeting but also a big Community Cup day on Monday, November 5.
The Monday meeting is highlighted by the $17,000 Mangoola Coal Gyarran Handicap (1280m).
The community day is a big fund-raising day for Muswellbrook Hospital, Beyond Blue and a number of other Upper Hunter charities.
Guest speaker is ABC radio’s Craig Hamilton while bush poet Murray Hartin is emcee.
A Muswellbrook Cup-Melbourne Cup Calcutta will be held in the clubs’ Silks Function Centre after Monday’s racing.
Tuesday is not only Melbourne Cup Day but also Muswellbrook Cup day, with the $60,000 Mt Arthur Coal Muswellbrook Gold Cup (1500m) the feature race supported by the $25,000 Skellatar Sprint (1000m).