It was another tough season for the Narrandera Race Club, with the NSW state-wide lockdown impacting crowds for the second season in a row.
While the club did end up allowing patrons on course throughout their three meetings on June 19, July 18 and August 14, limitations on crowd sizes and activities meant crowds weren’t nearly as big as previous years.
Racing Manager Michael Bailey said Narrandera Race Club was just happy to have some sort of crowd on course in 2021.
“To be able to have partial crowds, as much as we couldn’t promote them, was really good and we were still able to get some people to our meetings to watch the good fields race,” Mr Bailey said.
Narrandera are now preparing for a bumper 2022 season, with their focus shifting to getting racegoers back on track
“That is definitely the big goal for us, and that is what our whole focus will be on,” Mr Bailey said.
“We want to work out how we target people and how we use our media, including social media, print media and other forms of media to get people back at the races.
“We just want to get people back in the habit of getting back to the track and now is a good time to throw effort at that area, because people are sick of being stuck at home.”
The club will race at least three times in 2022, with an August family day set to be a good attraction for racegoers, both big and small.
“We wanted to make it a real family day with our TC Lee Memorial Day in August and hopefully next year it will be a different story and we can welcome a big crowd,” Mr Bailey said.
“We want to let the social and local side catch up to where we are with our racing.”
The club’s Racing Manager could not be happier with the quality of racing throughout 2021.
“From a racing perspective, it was really, really good,” Mr Bailey said.
“If you take Covid and the crowd sizes out of it, the season was a success. We averaged 10.4 starters a race, which is really good, plus we had some top-quality country fields.
“The turnover, given the circumstances of no crowds, was very good and it certainly meant we didn’t go backwards and the main thing is that we held our own and can start next season in a strong position.”
The $34,000 Narrandera Cup was the highlight race of the season, and Albury trainer Mitchell Beer and Goulburn jockey Richard Bensley teamed up to win with Power Me Up in the 1600m Open Handicap.
Racing was even across the board, and Ron Steiner was the most successful trainer across the three meetings, landing winners at the June and July meetings.
Mick Travers was the most successful jockey across the three race days, riding one winner at the July meeting and a hat-trick at the August meeting.
It helps that Narrandera racecourse is known as one of the best wet-weather tracks in NSW, and it was tested this winter, with higher than usual rainfall.
“Considering how wet it gets, we predominately get good numbers during those winter months and that is because we can race really well in the toughest time of the year,” Mr Bailey said.
“Now, we can race in the dryer months too, and it will be on the agenda for the club to pick up another winter TAB meeting and maybe another meeting later in the year.”
Mr Bailey wasn’t giving too much away, but he said the current committee was dreaming big ahead of next season.
“We have a lot of plans we have put in with the new committee and we will want to kick off with a bang next year, once we get back to normal racing,” Mr Bailey said.
“We want people back on track and having a good time and enjoying the good racing we have to offer.
“There will be some exciting things happening around the social aspects of our race days.”
For the time being, the club will prepare for their Annual General Meeting and Christmas party.
“We have out AGM on the 21st of November at 11am down at the Narrandera Race Club and on the 18th December is our Christmas party,” Mr Bailey said.