Thundering down the home stretch, sopme races were close.
Thundering down the home stretch, sopme races were close. Adam McCleery

Spring racing meet brings in support

Horse Racing COUNTRY racing plays an important role in regional Queensland with strong and continued support for the Gayndah Jockey Club helping to keep the Gayndah races a success.

With only two race dates a year the North Burnett turns out in droves to support the mid year and Spring race meets which in turn injects money into the local economy.

Racing punter Neale Scott has come out to the races on a regular basis and also knows the importance of regional race tacks for the towns they belong to and Racing Queensland as a whole.

"I love country races mate,” Scott said.

"My niece is a school teacher out here so we came up to catch up with her, there are about 16 of us so a nice influx of family into the town.

"We could easily come out here at any time to visit her but this is a great day out so you try to program your trips around the race days to add to that visit.”

Scott has experience at city and country race meets which has given him a perspective on the advantages and unique offerings of each.

"Country racing has the better atmosphere,” Scott said.

"Because it's an event where as at places like Eagle Farm and Doomban it's just another regular Saturday.

"I mean just look around at the way people have dressed up so nice here where as at a city track unless you go into the members area the dress standards are very different.”

Scott said the way people show respect for the country meets goes a long way.

Jockey's come from all over the South East to compete at Gayndah.
Jockey's come from all over the South East to compete at Gayndah. Adam McCleery

"Naturally all the little communities rely on the social interaction of the race clubs and you also can't undervalue the economic advantages for the community,” Scott said.

"I think Racing Queensland should be doing more to help country racing.”

Scott said he felt Racing Queensland weren't seeing the bigger picture when it came to country racing.

"Because even though Racing Queensland doesn't earn out of TAB turnover at country races like this, because there isn't a TAB turnover for most of the country meetings, those races still contribute to the racing product as a whole,” Scott said.

"By stimulating extra interest particularly in the country areas.”

Scott said if country people weren't afforded the opportunity to have their own racing meets it would impact the wider racing community.

"If places like Gayndah and Wondai didn't have their own tracks and exposure to racing then in the times when the races aren't on you likely won't be seeing those people have a bit of a punt through the TAB on other weekends,” Scott said.

"So therefore there is a huge impact on racing thought people having that exposure and Queensland Racing should be helping encourage that more I believe.”

Early rain made for a great track on the day.
Early rain made for a great track on the day. Adam McCleery

Member for Mt Isa and and Queensland Katter's Australian Party Robbie Katter dropped into the Gayndah Races and spoke about the important role of country racing.

"I'm down here to support our candidate Robbie Radel in his campaign but I'm also just a big supporter of country racing in general,” Katter said.

"We have fought hard for country racing in the past and this parliamentary term we went in hard with our support of country racing again.

"Country racing is a big part of my family back home so I try to show as much support for it as i can.”

Katter said he has seen through experience the important roles country racing plays for the communities that spring up around them.

"Racing really is part of the country culture,” Katter said.

"If you lost country racing you would lose a big part of the social fabric in the country.”

Katter said it was this trait of country racing that separated it from the other more regular forms of gambling and said it should be treated as such.

The reduction in the number of country races being held is also of concern.

"I will say there will be further tax on country racing in the future that will reduce things even more,” Katter said.

"But I believe the answers are in recognising that this is as much a community event as anything else and should probably come under the Department of Communities more so than it should be under Queensland Racing.”

All smiles leading into the race.
All smiles leading into the race. Adam McCleery

Katter said racing meets were more than just about having a bet at the local track.

"Because this is more of a community event than just a sport of money generating activity,” Katter said.

"I think there is support in Queensland Racing for that as well, so we are trying to start the conversation with government about not treating this the same as places like Eagle Farm and the city tracks looking to just make a dollar.”

The residents of the regional communities with there own racing meets already know these important facts Katter said.

"And now it needs to be recognised that is is a very important part of the community fabric,” Katter said.

"As much as fete's, multicultural festivals and other community events.

"We need to change the way government looks at these events because there will be an attack on country racing in the future I believe.

"And we need to be ready to defend it.”

Katter said one of the best things about country racing meets was everyone coming together in the one place and sharing ideas, there worries and issues from around the region, showing each other they are not alone.

The history around Queensland country racing is also of supreme importance Katter said, particularly with Gayndah being the oldest running jockey club.

"There are strong ties to the history of the state through country racing,”Katter said.

"And it makes it all the more important to historical areas like Gayndah, if you lose them then it's a big blow to the culture of racing.”

One of the many trainers to compete at Gayndah, Grant Arnold from Dalby, said it was a great track to race on.

"This is our first time out to this track, we have been involved in racing for 30 years so it is a little surprising we haven't been here before,” Arnold said.

"We brought our two horses here because the classes really suited them.”

Arnold is an experienced trainer who competes at both rural and urban tracks.

"We go everywhere and this is actually a really nice track,” Arnold said.

"The rain has really helped, my horses tend to do well in this type of weather.”

Despite the long distance travelled it doesn't normally have a big impact on the performance of the horses.

"Horses will travel pretty well, it wont worry them unless you have a really nervous horse,” Arnold said.

"But in saying that if we race in Dalby and are at home we have a small advantage.

"Because our horses don;t have to leave there own stables until race time, it is a bit of a home advantage I guess you could say.”

All eyes now turn to the 2018 meeting which will also be a celebration of 150 years of the Gayndah Jockey Club.

The race date is set for Saturday, June 9 2018.

The Gayndah Jockey club holds two race meets per year.

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