Marthaguy questions postponement of their picnic race day

The Marthaguy Picnic Race Club had been working hard to have their racecourse ready for Saturday. Unfortunately, the meeting has been postponed.

Marthaguy Picnic Race Club was meant to host a bumper six-race program on Saturday.

Instead, the Quambone club’s committee was left devastated on Wednesday, with Racing NSW steward Jack Prior determining that their racecourse was ‘currently unsuitable to conduct a race meeting’. 

“It’s just so disappointing,” said Marthaguy Picnic Racing Club secretary/treasurer Marg Garnsey. 

“It was going to be an excellent race day; we had the best climatic run ever, and the weather predictions are fine, and it will be a cool pleasant day temperature-wise.

“We had eight jockeys coming, huge fields, and it was the first time we were going to have a six-race meeting plus a $10,000 cup.

“The track would be superb, and it would have been our best-ever race day.”

Mrs Garnsey firmly believes the Quambone meeting should still be going ahead, suggesting that Mr Prior made the call too early without understanding how the racecourse would recover in the days leading into Saturday’s scheduled race day. 

“It rained on Saturday, we had 20mm, and that washed out the dirt from cracks that Jack Prior discovered,” Mrs Garnsey said. 

“The thing is, those cracks were there three weeks earlier when he gave us the thumbs up to race, and they were easy enough to fix.”

According to Mrs Garnsey, Racing NSW needed to give her club adequate time to prove their ability to hold the meeting.

“Some cracks are deep, and some are shallow, and he seemed to think that nothing in the world was going to fix it, but we knew we could fix it, and it was on a Wednesday, and if we had been given two hours, we could have shown Jack that we could have repaired it,” Mrs Garnsey said.

“It’s self-cracking country, but he had no idea, and because we had been dragging it and preparing it, we had the soft fill, and it was nicely broken up.

“I went and got a local very experienced farmer, Glen Jones, and he said to bar it, and that would have seen the soft fill go into the cracks, but Jack did not have confidence that this would achieve the desired effect.  

Other Marthaguy Picnic Race Club committee members are experienced horsemen and race club administrators who have prepared the Quambone track for over 30 years.

Vice President Simon Turnbull stressed that his club was not given ample opportunity by Racing NSW to demonstrate the track’s resilience. 

“He (Jack Prior) formed his opinion on the day, he is an expert, and he would not be told otherwise, and at the end of the day, all we wanted was two hours to prove the remedial works would be successful, but he wanted the track up to scratch by acceptances on Thursday morning,” Mr Turnbull said. 

“If given the chance, we would have worked through the night to have the track ready for an inspection.”

Marthaguy Picnic Race Club President Doug Andrews and his committee aren’t looking to make enemies of Racing NSW either, with Mr Andrews only speaking out as he firmly believes the meeting should be going ahead. 

“Clubs really need support to race and not be given reasons not to race,” Mr Andrews said. 

“We could definitely have raced, and the track would have been in good condition.” 

With the races postponed, the club will still put on an event, hosting a phantom race day.

There will be fashions on the field, foot races, rooster and yabby races, full bar and canteen facilities, and loads of kid’s entertainment, including face painting, colouring activities, hair colouring, novelty races and more. 

“It’s still a huge opportunity for the community to get together,” Mrs Garnsey said. 

“One lady is having her 50th birthday party, there is a group of 40 for a family reunion, and we have the four-wheel drive club making their annual pilgrimage for the Quambone races before they travel to the Macquarie Marshes and all that.”

For more on Marthaguy Picnic Race Club’s big day, click here.