Narrandera in good order ahead of winter racing season

Narrandera Racecourse.

Narrandera Race Club will kick off their race season this month when hosting the LW Peacock Memorial Race Day on June 18. 

In what is always an exciting time for the race club and town, the Narrandera Cup Showcase Meeting will then be held on July 17 before the TC Lee Community Race Day on August 13 rounds out a busy winter of racing.  

Narrandera Race Club Racing Manager Michael Bailey believes the racecourse is in the best condition he has ever seen it, and he gleamed that the club was proud to be able to host meetings during the wettest and coldest months on the NSW country racing calendar. 

“We are just hoping we can get through our racing season because this is probably the best presented surface we have produced during my involvement with the club,” Bailey said. 

“Our programs are June, July and August, because it is the hardest time of the year for most clubs with clay-based racecourses to race, and we are very proud to be able to race during those months, and we are very happy to have a track, that in most conditions, is always ready to race.”

Bailey explained why the Narrandera racecourse was suited to winter racing, with the course proper able to handle large amounts of rain in the lead-up to meetings. 

“It was a sand-based track and the racecourse was down in town, and with floods and everything else, back in the late 1800s, a very smart person decided to put in on the sand hill,” Bailey said. 

“Traditionally, it was virtually a dirt track, and slowly but surely, it turned into a turf track, and now we have water on it, it is fully turf and one of the best tracks in the region.

“It has changed a lot to what it was, and if there are any major events of rain fall, or if there is a lot of rain leading up to race days, we are generally very unlucky not to race as it handles the rain so well.”

Track Managers Shane Bloomfield and Tony Patterson have been kept busy in the lead-up to the 2022 race season, with a wetter than usual summer and autumn meaning weeds have tried their best to encroach on the course proper. 

“Shane and Tony do quite a bit of work, and they had problems with weeds, and we had to get an agronomists involved, just so the right sort of work was done,” Bailey said.

“I have to take my hat off to them. They got it right but it just hasn’t happened – there has been a lot of lead-up work and preparation.”        

Bloomfield said there were two main areas of concern on the track, but he explained that the weed issue had since been dealt with. 

“Those summer weeds got in there up near the 1000m and the mile shoot. They were the two areas that were the worst and required a bit of work,” Bloomfield said.

“Tony did a fair bit of work and all the spraying and maintenance. Then the normal wear and tear stuff had to be done, like applying fertiliser and other bits.”

Racing NSW have since given Narrandera the nod of approval ahead of their June 18 meeting. 

“The stewards checked it earlier this week and they are really happy,” Bloomfield said.

“At the gap, we have to fill it in just because with all the rain, it has washed away, but that is an easy fix and apart from that, they were happy with everything else.”

Bloomfield said the track was currently in terrific condition, owing to its ability to handle the recent wet weather. 

“It just handles the rain,” Bloomfield said. 

“Wagga might be a soft five or six or even worse at the moment and we would be a good four and that is typically how it stays unless we get a lot of rain.”

It is shaping to be a big season for the Narrandera Race Club, and for more information on race days and what packages are on offer, readers can visit the club’s Facebook page for more information. 

Narrandera 2022 race dates

June 18 – LW Peacock Memorial Race Day

July 17- Narrandera Cup Showcase Meeting

August 13 – TC Lee Community Race Day