Coonamble to host Picnic Champion Series final

The Coonamble Jockey Club will host the 2021 NSW Picnic Racing Association Picnic Champion Series final. Photo: Coonamble Jockey Club.

The NSW Picnic Racing Association (NSWPRA) Picnic Champion Series final is on the move to the Coonamble Jockey Club this year.

After being held at Dubbo Turf Club since the series’ inception in 2017, the NSWPRA elected to make a change of location to Coonamble, with President Craig Tyack explaining a change was always inevitable.

“We made the change just to get more into the country and get a country feel about the meeting,” Tyack said. 

“Right from the word go, we said we would swap it around a bit, spend three or four years at each place and try and share it to places all over the country.”

The $50,000 final will go ahead on Sunday October 10, running alongside the Coonamble Gold Cup and Tyack said it was a privilege to be racing on such a big day, with the Coonamble Jockey Club and President, Ken Waterford, bending over backwards to accommodate the NSWPRA. 

“I spoke with Ken, who is a champion bloke, and he has been fighting for us to get the final there,” Tyack said.

“When I went to Coonamble for the Country Championships last year, there was such a great feel there and that is something we want for our final.”

Waterford welcomed the race to his club’s Showcase meeting, hinting there would be a few big surprises on the day with the club hoping to make the final a huge occasion for everyone involved.

“It will be held on our Gold Cup meeting in October, and we will have the extra race that day to accommodate them,” Waterford said. 

“To me and for everyone else at the club, it is a special day for the picnic association, but it hasn’t seemed to come across as a special day in the past, so we want to put a bit of money into it and make it a day out for them.

“Upstairs, we will put a meal on and some drinks for the association and make them feel special and when they leave the racecourse, I want them to say, ‘Christ that was a good day’, so they want to come back year after year.”

When quizzed on why he was so eager to host the Picnic Champion Series final, Waterford said it came back to picnic racing being the grass roots of NSW country racing, highlighting champions of yesteryear who grew up in the bush.

“If you look at all the big trainers in Sydney and Melbourne, from your Tommy Smiths, Bart Cummings and Peter Moodys – they were all born and bred in the country and they learned how to ride in the country,” Waterford said.

“They all come from the country and our future stars will come from there too and it is important we put the spotlight that.” 

With the big day still seven months away, the club is planning for a huge day out with some major announcements on the horizon. 

In the meantime, the race for all-important Picnic Champion Series points will heat up at Tullibigeal Picnics this weekend.