Flooding won’t keep Orange down ahead of busy race season

Racing Orange will return to racing on Monday, December 12 with the club hosting their Christmas at Towac Park meeting.
Photo: Racing Photography.
Inset: The Orange Racecourse was significantly impacted by flooding in November. Photo: Racing Orange.

Many tracks across the state really suffered through the NSW flood crisis, and while the warmer weather starts to kick in, and more and more country race meetings take centre stage, it can be easy to forget that some of those clubs impacted are still dealing with the flooding aftermath. 

That certainly applies to Racing Orange, with the club contending with a variety of issues according to General Manager, Bree McMinn

“It’s been a testing little period,” McMinn confirmed. 

“The sand track is not usable. We’ve had 140 tonnes of sand dropped and we are hoping it will be enough to level off and get it back up to training conditions.

“I just need a grader and driver. We have someone booked in, and he may get here next week.”

Irrigation is also a concern, while other remedial work will need to be undertaken in the long run. 

“Even the mountain yard needs resurfacing, and the roads in front of the tie up stalls,” Griffith said. 

“The irrigation is a problem. I had to swim in the dam to bring the foot valves in, and that was delightful, but it’s what we do.

“Right now, I don’t know what will be involved to get that all going again, but we will see what happens.”

All of this pales in comparison when considering Racing Orange lost hard-working clubwoman Sharnie Phillips only last month. 

The news of Sharnie’s sudden and tragic passing came as a huge shock to the club and community, and she will be a big loss, with McMinn describing her late friend as having a huge personality and always being at the ready for anything thrown her way.

Following Sharnie’s passing, the impacts of flooding, and three washed out meetings, the General Manager admitted it was a trying time for her club and the industry as a whole. 

“We just seem to get up and going and something else hits us; we’ve not had a whole lot of luck,” McMinn said.  

“Still, as much as it is terrible, we have all had a tough time, and we just need to keep planning for the rest of the season, and just try our best to make is successful.”

Racing Orange will hope the tide is turning, with their ‘Christmas at Towac Park’ meeting, which is scheduled for Monday December 12, acting as the perfect precursor to a bumper season of feature races and social events.

“We race on Monday, and it does lead into a good period for the club, which takes us right up to the big celebration on (Orange) Cup day in April,” McMinn said. 

“Things will happen, but we just need to keep going. We won’t give up, but it could be a bit of a bumpy road for a little while, especially while we address some problems.”

Racing at Orange on Monday should keep punters on their toes, with the 1400m Benchmark 74 Handicap headlining the seven-race-program, while the club will also host a Heat of the Rising Star Series, with apprentice jockeys doing battle in the 1280m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

For more on the race day, or following race days, readers can click here and for Monday’s fields, readers can click here. 

Racing Orange 2022/23 season race dates 

December 12 – Christmas at Towac

December 30 – New Year’s Celebrations

January 6 – Family Day

February 11 – Ladies Day

March 19 – Legends Day

April 14 – Orange Gold Cup