PROOF there's still a place for traditional 'community' racing was provided by the large crowds which turned out for meetings at Coffs Harbour, Bowraville and Ballina on the weekend.
Nambucca River's Boxing Day fixture continued its spectacular recent growth on Friday but Coffs Harbour Racing Club CEO Russ Atkinson said switching the local meeting back from January 1 to Saturday had also been a blessing in disguise.
“We always desired a Saturday meeting to reduce the financial impact of racing on the (New Years Day) public holiday which had lost money over the last three years,” he said.
“With the growing number of community events, such as the Sawtell Festival on New Years Day, the move assists the Club to attract families for a fun day out.”
Residents of Camp Creek kept the tradition of their historic picnic club alive by sponsoring the main race of the day.
Equal favourite Far Encounter was shooting for three straight victories in the race but the party was upset by Pimpala Diamond, trained on the track by Gordon Yorke.
“Scoring at home is always great but to take out a race put on by such good racing people is really pleasurable,” Yorke said.
Winning jockey Yasushi Fujimoto had an extra reason to celebrate as the gelding is raced in partnership by his father who will arrive in Australia from Japan next week for a family holiday with his son.
Racing returns to the Coffs Harbour course on Tuesday when the Club will conduct a stand-alone TAB meeting.
“We've attracted excellent fields and the locals are sure to feature on the day,” CEO Russ Atkinson said.
“Once again with the holidays upon us the focus will be on providing a great day out for the whole family.”
On New Years Day, the Northern Rivers Racing Association community meeting will be at Ballina with Bowraville's Nambucca River Jockey Club presenting their Kids Day Out program (non-TAB) next Saturday.