Coonabarabran ‘excited’ to host Picnic Champion Series finale

Coonabarabran Jockey Club will host the 2022 Picnic Champion Series final on Sunday, October 23. Photo: Racing Photography.

The 2022 NSW Picnic Champion Series final will now be run and won at Coonabarabran on Sunday, October 23.

The $50,000 final was meant to be held at Coonamble on Sunday, but the meeting was postponed due to wet weather and transferred to Dubbo this coming Wednesday.

At first, there was confusion amongst participants as the race was taken off the Racing NSW calendar and not included in Wednesday’s re-scheduled program at Dubbo.

On Monday, Racing NSW announced that the race will be held at Coonabarabran, with the decision following on from discussions between Racing NSW, the NSW Picnic Racing Association, and participants.

“The Picnic Championships Final is for all participants in the picnic sector including the rider,” said Racing NSW Country Chairman, Brian Charman. 

“Unlike professional jockeys, many of the picnic riders have work commitments during the week and ride at weekends which is when meetings are usually scheduled.

 “When the Coonamble meetings was postponed to the Wednesday, this made it very difficult for many riders to attend so the Picnic race was rescheduled to another day.”

Charman further explained that other factors contributed to their decision to select Coonabarabran as the location of the rich picnic-only finale. 

“The Coonabarabran meeting on the 23rd was chosen and took account of various factors including the availability of riders, maintaining the race distance at 1400m, and ability for horses to be reset for the race,” Charman said.  

“Racing NSW also took representations from trainers and the Picnic Racing Association.”

Coonabarabran Jockey Club were more than willing to take on the race, with President Adam Freeman explaining what having the NSW Picnic Champion Series final on their Coonabarabran Cup program meant to him and his hard-working committee. 

“Post covid, this race meet for us stands to be one of our biggest meets ever, and the talk from around the town and from locals is that we are expecting to see the return of the regular punter and patrons, and we know it is going to be a large crowd,” Freeman said. 

“Add to that, the prospect of hosting the picnic race on top of that adds much more notoriety to the meeting. 

“We know it is an important race, and a lot of punters don’t know we are hosting that race yet, and over the seven days, as more people find out, it will only add to the build-up and drama of what should be a really good race day.”

The 1400m picnic final certainly does add to a huge day of showcase country racing, fashions, and fun at Coonabarabran on October 23, with the $75,000 Coonabarabran Cup over the 1600m headlining the program.

In fact, it is a massive weekend in general for the small town, with the always-popular yabbie races, welcome barbeque, and Coona Cup calcutta held at the Bowling Cup on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s bumper race meeting, which includes fashions on the field, the champagne bar, and a nine-race-program.

For the full program, readers can click here