Coffs nominated for racing awards

COFFS Harbour’s racing industry is celebrating multiple nominations for the annual RacingNSW Awards for Excellence.

The Racing Club will battle for honours in three categories - best regional race club, the premier country club and the award for outstanding achievement.

While the first two nominations were made by peers, CEO Russ Atkinson said the latter was judged after each club was asked to furnish details of the overall activities.

“Our two-part submission covered the collaborative effort to install the Pro-Ride track and the amazing growth in non-core racing activities, particularly our expansion into functions and conventions,” he said.

“Despite various economic challenges, we’ve managed to grow the business by 30 per cent in the last year alone which very few others can boast.

“Being recognised for what we do is very important, particularly outside the immediate Coffs areas, as it has the capacity to bring enormous benefits to town.”

Premier trainer Brett Bellamy has again been nominated in his category, along with Port Macquarie-based rival Neil Godbolt.

High profile media identity Gary Kliese is also in the running, along with Nambucca River Jockey Club at Bowraville, nominated for a supporting TAB race club award.

Meanwhile, Atkinson has set the ball rolling by suggesting the time is rapidly approaching for planning to begin on a regional all-weather track at Coffs Harbour or Ballina.

“Construction and maintenance won’t be cheap but with meetings threatened by weather, we must find ways to protect the livelihoods of our people,” he said.