Carinda is ‘bush racing at its best’

Carinda race again on July 16 in 2022. Photo: Racing Photography.

Carinda is arguably best known for being the backdrop to one of David Bowie’s famous hit singles. 

It was 1983 when Bowie travelled to the tiny NSW outback town to film his now iconic video for “Let’s Dance” in the Carinda Hotel. 

The Australian video for the smash worldwide hit proved the perfect companion for the ground-breaking song.

As a result, Carinda annually host their ’Let’s Dance Carinda’ festival in September and October each year, which celebrate Bowie’s visit. 

While their David Bowie connection is Carinda’s ‘claim to fame’ according to Carinda & District Race Club Secretary/Treasurer Camilla Lane, the town is also famous for hosting their longstanding and popular race meeting, which dates back to 1915. 

“We have the David Bowie festival because of the video he filmed at Carinda Hotel for his song, Let’s Dance, and it’s our claim to fame, but our race meeting is also another big attraction,” Lane said. 

Lane described Carinda’s once-a-year meeting, which will go ahead on Saturday, July 16 this year, as a ‘good day at the bush races’, explaining that all walks of life come along for a punt and a beer. 

“Our meeting is all about people punting and having a good day at the races,” Lane said. 

“They might not be dressed up, and most people are in their jeans and just keep it casual, but they come out for a punt, a beer and some dirt up the nose before going back to the pub for a good night.

“There is nothing like it either. Standing there next to the track and hearing the clack, clack clack of the horse when they run past; it’s bush racing at its best.”

Carinda race on the dirt, and attract a decent crowd each year, with Lane expecting a few visitors from Dubbo in 2022, after the cub couldn’t race in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. 

“It’s grass roots country racing at its best, but we are getting a bit thin with numbers on the ground, and it has been tough not racing for the last two years,” Lane said. 

“Any given year, we do get 350-400 people and we have a lot of regular faces who make their way up every year, with a lot of people coming across from Dubbo.”

Racegoers are encouraged to make a weekend of it at Carinda, with the Carinda Hotel hosting a calcutta on the Friday night before their race meeting on Saturday. 

“We also have the Carinda Cup calcutta the night before at the Carinda Hotel,” Lane said. 

“It should be another good night, and the cup is sponsored by Dubbo City Toyota and on the day, we have fashions, bookies, bar, barbeque and some good racing, plus there is camping at the Carinda Oval.”

In terms of racing, the 1400m Benchmark 66 Carinda Cup headlines the program, but there is a good range of racing on the card, with a 1700m Benchmark 50 Handicap and a 1100m Benchmark 45 Handicap on the program.

There is also a 1400m Class One and maidens over the 1400m and 1000m. 

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