It is an unfortunate time for many NSW country race clubs, with Covid-19 restrictions preventing crowds from attending meetings.
The Moree Race Club is already preparing for the worst as they face the likely situation of hosting a very quiet Orica Moree Cup meeting next Sunday, September 5.
Making matters worse is the fact that the club has had to postpone their Moree Cup Charity Dinner that raises much needed funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and other integral community groups.
Despite this setback, Moree Race Club will still host their cup meeting – however it looks – and they are now planning to push back their charity dinner to possibly align with their December 18 Christmas Twilight meeting.
“It’s unlucky,” said Moree Race Club President Robbie Mather.
“We are going to push the dinner back and hopefully do it later in the year, maybe around that Christmas meeting.”
In 2020, a Covid-restricted crowd of 100 managed to raise close to $22,000 for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Services, and Maher said it was important the club still had a focus on supporting the important cause.
“Last year, we raised round the $30,000 after the dinner and with the gate and whatever else was donated, Mather said.
“We try and support where we can. It is something the club has always done, and I’ve been here nearly 20 years.
“We do the local sponsorship of different community support groups and when Jeff Galbraith came and seen us about putting this (charity dinner) on, it has just grown from there.”
Moree Race Club Secretary Michelle Gobbert reiterated why supporting the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service was so important to the club and region.
“As we all know, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is now more than ever, a life-saving experience for many of its patients,” Gobbert said.
“As our President Robbie Mather said in his welcome speech at our Moree Cup Charity Dinner last year, ‘It seems there is not a week goes by when ‘the chopper’ doesn’t make at least one trip to town’.
“For us as a race club we are all too aware as well of the accidents that can, and do happen with racing, and it just makes sense to support an organisation such as the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and is one of the ways we can give back to the whole community.”
Northern NSW Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service Event Coordinator Jeff Galbraith expressed his gratitude towards the Moree Race Club and highlighted what the Charity Dinner and race day promotion achieved.
“It’s a huge bonus to us whenever a third party comes in and acts as a conduit for our fundraising and Moree Race Club have now done that since 2014,” Galbraith said.
“We started with one of their non-TAB meetings in a February and we were able to bring some significant sponsors to race meetings and the club recognised that, and now we have switched from the February meeting to the (Moree) Cup meeting, and it has worked out very well with the event raising between $25,000 and $30,000 each year.”
Galbraith also thanked the Moree community for their part in helping raise much needed funds.
“The Moree community, in supporting the dinner, have been so generous, and continue to be so generous and it a wonderful relationship,” Galbraith said.
With the Moree Cup set to be held in unique conditions next weekend, the club and local racing fans are hoping for eased Covid-19 restrictions before the end of the year, which might allow for bigger crowds to attend both the October 29 (AHA TAB meeting) and December 18 (Christmas Twilight Sky 2 meeting) race days.
For more information on getting involved with Moree Race Club, or getting behind their charity dinner and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service fundraiser, readers should click here.