Safety call led to track closure
PATRONS at Murwillumbah racecourse on Monday were reminded of the wet weather which wreaked havoc on the region six weeks ago, when Mooball Cup race day had to be abandoned after the running of the first event.
Racing New South Wales put out a statement by chief steward Mark Holloway, citing the recent floods and their impact on the track.
He noted that showers on race day morning and Sunday night had made an unwelcome impact on the back straight.
"We took some senior riders out before the first and we thought we could get over it, but after race one they came back and said their horses weren't handling the shifty ground," Mr Holloway said.
"The decision was made to call off the meeting for the safety of all participants."
It was the second meeting the Tweed River Jockey Club has lost to the elements in under a fortnight.
The jockey club's famous Anzac Day races had to be called off after racing stewards pre-emptively decided to safeguard the track surface, mindful of the approaching winter racing season.
The tradition of the April 25 meeting has been an institution in racing circles on both sides of the border.
Officials have told the Tweed Daily News that the decision to cancel the races ahead of schedule was a tough call, but the correct one.
At the time, the track had only just started to recover from the floodwaters which completely submerged the racecourse in late March.
Attention now focuses on two early-winter meetings next month, ahead of the showcase Murwillumbah Cup in August.
The 2015 cup winner, the locally trained Bernie Of Babylon is currently campaigning, and it would come as no surprise were the Stewart Campbell trained gelding to appear on the list of nominators for the 2017 event.
The 2016 Murwillumbah Cup was taken out by another locally prepared galloper, Dream Speed (Matt Dunn).
Thursday's Ballina races were called off owing to the state of the track, capping off a dreary week for racing in the Northern Rivers.
- The next track meet at the TRJC is scheduled for Sunday, June 4, followed by Sunday, June 25.