Famous Bong Bong picnic meeting abandoned… Again

The Bong Bong picnic race meeting will not go ahead for the third year in a row. Photo: Lauren Strode.

For the third year in a row, the famous Bong Bong Picnic Race Club meeting has been called off.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the club’s hand in 2020 and 2021 but it was the recent wet weather and an ominous forecast has cruelled the committee’s plans at a glorious return to racing next month.

While not scheduled to race until November 18, the club and Racing NSW made the early decision, with the Bong Bong Picnic Race Club releasing an official statement this week. 

“It is with great regret that we announce the cancellation of the 2022 Bong Bong Picnic Races on 18th of November,” the statement read. 

“Following consultation with Racing NSW stewards and numerous inspections of the track and grounds, the risks around safety, logistics and overall success of the day and due to current and forecast weather conditions the board has been left with no other decision but to abandon race day. 

“Whilst we understand this news is disheartening to all members, sponsors and guests it is beyond our control.”

“After two years off due to COVID, our board and volunteers have been working hard to provide a framework for a successful race day, however the extreme weather and water-logged track and grounds has led to the cancellation.

“We take this opportunity to again thank the generous support of members, sponsors and local suppliers. We are grateful for the continued support of the community in making this difficult decision.”

Club secretary and NSW Picnic Racing Association treasurer, Peter Hales reaffirmed his committee’s position, suggesting the wetter than usual forecast was the deciding factor.

“The forecast shows it’s going to be raining on the 16th, 17th and 18th of November – literally two days before and on race day,” Hales said. 

“I don’t think anybody would be pleased with getting all organised to get washed out on the day.

“We know already that the stewards from Racing NSW wouldn’t let horses on the track.”

The cancellation of the Bong Bong picnic meeting adds to what has been a very frustrating period for Racing NSW, participants, and eager race goers. 

The picnic racing scene in particular has copped a flogging this season, with the Harden meeting scheduled for yesterday (Saturday) postponed, but the club is hoping to host their meeting on Melbourne Cup day.

Additionally, popular picnic meetings at Geurie, Come By Chance and Lockhart have fallen by the wayside in September and October, and the Picnic Champion Series final has now been postponed twice, with participants awaiting news from Racing NSW as to when and where the $50,000 final will be hosted. 

Leeton has picked up a picnic meeting and they will race on November 5.