Picnic racing finally returns in NSW on February 12 with Bedgerabong hosting a big six-race-card, which kicks off the always popular $50,000 NSW Picnic Champion Series.
A week later and just 45 minutes down the road, it will be Condobolin Picnic Race Club’s turn to host their meeting and President James Gibson said the club was ready for a big day.
“It’s always a really good day,” Gibson said.
“We are an easy track to find, and it is usually a happy crowd, and we have very little dramas.
“We have some dedicated locals that enjoy a good unwind and it’s just a fun day, and we have nice facilities and the coldest beer you’ll find.”
Condobolin have been one of the luckier clubs through the Covid-19 pandemic, having raced in 2020 and 2021, while many other clubs weren’t so lucky.
“With Covid, we have managed to dodge a few bullets,” Gibson said.
“We got in and raced in 2020 before everything shut down and last year, we had a QR code meeting.
“This year we are shaping up for three years in a row and touch wood we can hold a good meeting.
“Since we have been involved, we have bumbled our way through it and held some good race days.”
The biggest issue for Condobolin ahead of their February 19 meeting has been the recent rain and flooding of the track.
“You don’t normally complain about rain, but we have a sand track and flood water went over it in December, which caused a few issues with a bit of washing,” Gibson said.
“The (Lachlan) Shire came in and sprayed it all and a grater came in and gave it a go over.
“They will come back and go over it again in a fortnight, but I only just drove around it and I think it is in pretty good order.”
Gibson, and his wife and Condobolin Picnic Race Club Secretary Joy Gibson, have been working hard to create an entertaining event.
“We’re the same old horses that get flogged every year to do it,” Gibson laughed.
“We have a small but dedicated committee, and we all have our jobs, and we get it done and everything seems to be going along swimmingly.
“We are always trying to make it better for patrons. A few years back, we got a big shed from the show committee, and we got it put up for the bookmakers and it looks an absolute treat.
With the splendid weather, the Condo committee and Lachlan Shire council have been working hard to have the grounds up to standard for their race day.
“The last three meetings; the place has been an absolute picture,” Gibson said.
“The poor blokes who mow the lawns here; the grass is growing that fast that they start at one end and basically need to start again when they are done.
“We definitely don’t need any more rain before we race.”
The $11,000 Inland Petroleum Condobolin Cup is the feature on a six-race-program that offers trainers, owners and jockeys $41,000 in prizemoney.
Off-track entertainment will keep punters and racing fans just as happy, and Gibson said he expected a good crowd.
“Most times we get around the 600-700 people there, but we had a few more last year, and I expect another good crowd,” Gibson said.
“We’ve got a chap from Forbes doing the cooking this year and a girl from Tamworth is playing some music.
“There is a Calcutta at the racetrack on Friday night. We did it last year for the first time and it was well received and there will be fashions on the field in between races.”
For trainers and jockeys looking to get involved, there is a $500 jockey’s raffle and appearance money for unplaced starters.