THE Gawler & Barossa Jockey Club held its first race meeting in six months yesterday, following an extended break due to poor track conditions.
The club has had to forego, or reschedule, a number of race meetings recently – most notably the Anzac Day races and Barossa Cup – after the track surface at the Evanston venue failed to recover sufficiently from maintenance work.
Speaking on Tuesday night ahead of the meet, club manager Shane Collins said the club was keen on moving forward.
“Obviously, from a club’s perspective, it’s not only been a stressful time, but financially it’s challenged us,” he said.
“For a business like ours to not have a race meeting in six months is borderline catastrophic, but we’ve powered through it, and it’s looking positive.
“It’s good and exciting for the club.”
Mr Collins said that the eagerness of trainers around the state has been a positive feeling.
“We’ve had a lot of dialogue from different trainers; they’ve all been enquiring when we’re going to be back racing and a lot of people are eager to get back to Gawler,” he said.
“We need to get our shoulder to the wheel and help the industry out.
“I think we’ve got six race meetings in the next 10 weeks.”
With a big winter lined up, Mr Collins has little fears of losing any other meets.
“It shouldn’t be a problem, it’s no different to any other track,” he said.
“If we have a lot of heavy rain, any track would struggle.”
“I think we’re in a positive state going forward.”
Despite key race meetings being affected by the track problems, Mr Collins said there was no feeling of regret, and it was just down to bad luck.
“Regret’s not the right word, it’s just unfortunate,” he said.
“A lot of circumstances out of our control have affected the regrowth (of the racing surface).”
Mr Collins said delaying racing for a prolonged period was to protect the track from further damage, which could have derailed the club’s winter proceedings.
“Recently, we were just erring on the side of caution, we could have damaged it and affected our whole winter,” he said.
The next meet will be held on June 28, when the club hosts ‘Seniors