Boxing Day Bottleneck

Queanbyean Racecourse will be one of the three Southern NSW tracks racing on Boxing Day in 2019. Photo: Queanbeyan Racecourse.

Boxing Day is one of the biggest racing days on the NSW calendar, with 11 meetings showcasing the depth of participants and horses in the state. 

Unfortunately, this depth will be tested tomorrow, after some changes to the Southern Districts and South East NSW racing calendar.

Traditionally, Tumut Turf Club and Queanbeyan Racecourse would race on December 26, attracting huge crowds and good fields.

Although essentially competing for horses from similar regions, acceptances and jockeys were never really an issue for these clubs.

This year, Wodonga won’t be racing and in their place comes Albury Racing Club, no doubt offering patrons a great day at the races. 

Unfortunately, resources have now been stretched thin, with 24 jockeys making themselves available across the three meetings, which include 9 at Albury, 8 at Tumut and 7 at Queanbeyan.

The likes of Trevor Sutherland and Wayne Carroll will be forced to scratch runners at Tumut, unless other horses are scratched, meaning the club won’t have access to the 44 acceptances for the meeting. 

This could very well have been worse if Tumut Turf Club did not offer a $1000 jockeys challenge; more than likely attracting one or two of the hoops in attendance.

Trainers Darryl Kell and Mike Cattell will have the same concern at Queanbeyan, with a lack of jockeys meaning they are relying on other scratchings to gain a start.

Additionally, this impacts punters, as the meeting will have no more than 7 horses competing in any one race, meaning no third dividend. 

Now it is great to see more meetings and opportunities for horses, but it seems odd to introduce a meeting; especially one that directly impacts other meetings that are already popular on the NSW racing calendar.