All roads lead to Yass for their bumper picnic meeting

There will be something for everyone at the Yass Picnic Race Club meeting on Saturday, February 24.

With the NSW picnic racing season kicking off next weekend, the time-honoured Yass picnic meeting is just around the corner. 

With the race day being hosted on Saturday, February 24, the meeting will draw racegoers from around the region, with a six-race card set to be the headlining act.

Off track, there will be plenty on for young and old, and the day’s highlight will be fashions on the field. 

For the younger attendees, there’s plenty of fun, too, with a jumping castle on course. 

Patrons won’t go hungry, with the Lions BBQ catering for everyone, and overall, it’s set to be a fantastic day. 

Yass Picnic Race Club president Hugh Rainger touched on why Yass is the ‘place to be’ on the 24th of February.

“For those seeking a touch of luxury, there’s the option to purchase a ticket to our marquee, where you’ll be treated to an afternoon of delightful food and drinks,” Rainger told NSW Country and Picnic Racing

“Alternatively, you can hire your own marquee, bring your favourite food and beverages, or simply enjoy the races with a picnic blanket and an esky under a tree for a relaxed experience.

 “The race day is filled with activities for everyone, featuring kids’ entertainment, a BBQ, a coffee van, and interstate betting.

“Embodying the classic bush-country spirit, this tradition has been bringing locals together for hundreds of years. The Yass Picnic Races are not just about the thrill of the race; they’re about community, enjoyment, and making lasting memories.

Yass Picnic Race Club is one of the longest-running picnic meetings in NSW and Australia. 

Rainger explained a proud history of racing at the track meant the meeting was important to the town of Yass and surrounding communities. 

“The Yass Picnic Races stand out in the region for several reasons, making it a must-attend event for both locals and visitors,” Rainger said. 

“This event is a prime example of a community uniting to celebrate a local tradition, a tradition that’s been providing fun and enjoyment for many years. As the race day approaches, there’s an unmistakable buzz around Yass, with excitement building in the air.

“Dating back to 1901, the Yass Picnic Race Club is one of the oldest in New South Wales, embodying the enduring spirit of picnic racing.

“The significance of this event was cemented in history when, on the 20th of August 1913, the NSW Government dedicated crown land for the racecourse in Yass, where it still thrives today. 

“Our mission at the race club is to foster community involvement in this much-loved event, which has enjoyed considerable success over the years.”

The Yass Picnic Race Club president explained that with the assistance of the Marchmont Trust, his committee has been working hard to improve the Marchmont Racecourse ahead of their next race day and future planned upgrades. 

“We have seen some significant developments recently. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the Marchmont Trust, there have been massive changes over the last 12 months, transforming the site into a fantastic venue,” Rainger said.  

The racing will take centre stage at the Yass picnic meeting.

“The transformation is evident, especially with the support of state government funding, which has enabled the Marchmont Trust to manage and rejuvenate the racecourse extensively. 

“One of the major tasks undertaken was the removal of over 100 old, dead trees, significantly enhancing the safety and aesthetics of the area. 

“Additionally, the in-field has been meticulously cleaned and cultivated, now presenting as a beautiful, well-maintained paddock.

“Further improvements include a new front entrance and front fencing, contributing to the overall welcoming and professional appearance of the racecourse. 

“These changes have not only uplifted the site’s look but have also prepared it for the next phase of development. 

“The plans, details, and progress of this ongoing development are a testament to the commitment to enhancing the racecourse, ensuring it remains a cherished location for the community and visitors alike. 

“The work done by the Marchmont Trust is a prime example of how dedicated stewardship can revitalise and preserve important community assets like the Yass Picnic Racecourse.”

With favourable weather conditions, the Marchmont Racecourse is in terrific condition. 

Rainger said the next few weeks were essential to ensure the course was ready to go later this month. 

“The preparations for the Yass Picnic Races are well underway, and the condition of the track is a testament to the favourable season we’ve been experiencing,” Rainger said. 

“The track is in fantastic shape, a direct result of the generous rainfall we’ve received, with over five inches in the last eight weeks. This has, of course, meant that mowing has become a more frequent task, but it’s a small price to pay for the lush, superb grass cover that now blankets the track.

The fashions on the field is always hotly-contested at Yass.

“As we head closer to race day, the focus on maintaining the track and its surroundings intensifies.

“The team is dedicated to ensuring that the course is not only visually appealing but also in prime condition for racing. 

“This involves regular grooming, monitoring of the turf’s health, and ensuring that the racing surface is safe and fair for all participants.

“The excellent condition of the track reflects the hard work and attention to detail that goes into preparing for such a significant event in the racing calendar.”

As always, picnic race days aren’t possible without the support of sponsors, and Rainger was thankful to have a large and generous group of local businesses back his club’s race day. 

“The success of the Yass Picnic Races truly hinges on the incredible support we receive from our sponsors. A massive shout-out is due to every one of our sponsors. Their contributions are vital, and we simply couldn’t hold such a fantastic event without such support,” Rainger said. 

 “A special thanks go to Sprout Ag, Endeavour Meats, and the Waldren/Yarrah partnership for their significant contributions.

“We also deeply appreciate the support from Agnews Hire and Landscape Supplies, Merrimans, Elders, Pickles, and the Abbey Family from Yass. 

“Their involvement and backing not only make the event possible but also contribute immensely to its success and the vibrancy of our local community.”

With the Yass picnic meeting fast approaching, readers can click here for more information

For the 2024 NSW Picnic Racing calendar, click here.