While quite content to keep the facility to herself, Orange trainer Alison Smith is baffled as to why more trainers haven’t taken up the chance to train at Towac Park Racecourse.
Smith is the only trainer based on course with more than one horse in work and currently trains a team of 10.
“Years ago, Orange used to be the premier training facility,” Smith said.
“We have had a lot of good trainers and horses over the years and a lot of them have retired and we haven’t seen new trainers take their place.
“Our facilities are just as good, if not better than most tracks in country NSW and we have everything you need.”
Racing Orange, led by General Manager Bree McMinn, have taken big steps to ensure Smith and future trainers have the tools at their disposal when it comes to training in the Central Districts.
“Bree has been great. She has just put in an eight-horse walker and we have a water treadmill, and I don’t think many clubs would have both of those at their disposal,” Smith said.
“They got the walker down here and the maintenance guy put it together and after we got a new gear box, it has been running really good.
“When the weather in inclement, it’s great. It’s been going for four or five months, and it really helps.
“We have had a fair bit of rain here, and if I don’t feel like working my horses in the pouring rain, they will go on the water treadmill or the walker, and it is good because it changes things up.”
Along with their water walker and treadmill, Orange has a sand training track, and Smith said it generally held up to the weather.
“The sand track is as good as any I’ve seen and very rarely you can’t work your horses on it,” Smith said.
“Even after heavy rain it’s good but again, if you can’t work on it for some reason, there is the water walker and treadmill.”
Racing Orange always attracts leading country stables and provincial trainers and Smith explained that it came down to every horse having their chance on the Towac Park Racecourse.
“I’m not being biased when I say this, but this is one of the best tracks in the Central West and I just feel every horse gets their opportunity,” Smith said.
“You can lead, come from behind, sit off the pace; it doesn’t really matter as long as your horses are good enough.
“The 1400m has a good run to the first turn, and there is a good 1000m shoot and there is plans to widen that out the back.”
In recent times, Racing Orange has again become a destination for trainers and racegoers alike, and Smith said it came down to good leadership and the right attitude
“Bree is doing a lot to try and get the club up and going again,” Smith said.
“This club is going forward; the crowds are starting to come back and trainers love coming here.
“She puts on a trainer’s tucker box with tea, coffee, water and all different sorts of snacks and when it was during Covid, and you had to provide trainers with food, she put on a free sausage sizzle, pies and sausage rolls. “
After chatting with McMinn, it wasn’t hard to understand why the hard-working administrator was so passionate about racing in Orange and why she was trying to attract the right trainers to Towac Park.
“We have worked really hard to get the club up and going and the facilities in shape and to be offering facilities that no other track has; it sets us apart from every other track,” McMinn said.
“Adding a dry treadmill and ample facilities for trainers, with the water walker and having the sand track; it gives potential trainers and ones like Alison every chance to train winners.”
McMinn and her team are getting ready for a busy three months of racing, with Ladies Day on February 19, Legends Day on March 20 and the Orange Gold Cup meeting on April 8.
“We can’t wait, because it’s a great day out. We have a beautiful venue in a picturesque spot, with heritage listed trees throughout the venue,” McMinn said.
“In the grandstand, you can get a birds-eye view of the track and you’re free to run around the venue.
“Plus, you’re right up on the fence and winning post when the races are run, and you don’t get much closer to the action then when you are out at Towac Park.”