The Wallabadah New Year’s Day races, one of the longest running race meets in the country, is on again.
The races have been held every year since 1852 and see the small town of approximately 250 people swell to over 1000 as people come from all around to attend the family day out.
Wallabadah, located 55 kilometres south of Tamworth, hosts the traditional bush meeting annually and is a fun filled day both on and off the track.
Over $35,000 in prize money is on offer across the five races, which culminate in the feature race, the Manuka Chaff Wallabadah Cup.
The past two years have seen the Michael Dykes trained Classic Attitude win the Cup, and it looks in good form to make it three in a row.
The Wallabadah track is unique and includes a climb of 30 degrees to get to the short straight. Spectators are able to view the whole track from the shade of the rustic, bush bar with full bar and canteen facilities available.
There are activities for all throughout the day including Rodney the Clown, snack vans and a jumping castle for the kids, along with Fashions on the Field. Sponsored by Quirindi’s Grace Beauty and Wellbeing, this year’s fashions will feature junior and senior sections, for both male and female, with a new section introduced for women 35 years and over.
Wallabadah Jockey Club President, Bill Kelly, said it was to encourage older women to enter.
“A lot of people, ladies especially, put a lot of time into their outfits and getting done up for the races so it is good to be able reward everyone for their efforts,” he said.
It is not just the spectators who will benefit with Mr Kelly confirming the committee has been hard at work.
“We’ve been so busy that even I’ve been allocated jobs to do! I thought as President I was supposed to have it easy,” he said.
The last year has seen volunteers help install more safety rails on the track and upgrade facilities including renovating the old unisex change rooms into areas for both male and female jockeys. Gates open at 11am with the first race at 1.30pm. The Marshall McMahon Inn will host post race entertainment with the band Crazy Train.