Third times a charm as Nowra prepares to host South East Country Championships qualifier

The Shoalhaven City Turf Club looks an absolutely picture ahead of their South East Country Championships qualifier meeting on February 13. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Shoalhaven City Turf Club will be praying that their Country Championship ‘bad luck’ has run out after losing out on the chance to host the South East Country Championship qualifier in both 2020 and 2021.

Two years ago, 400ml of rain forced the Nowra qualifier to be moved to Moruya, and last February, wet-weather again plagued the region, with Nowra’s South East heat subsequently transferred to Goulburn. 

Shoalhaven City Turf Club CEO Paul Weekes explained that his club was exicted and grateful to be given another chance to host the South East qualifier on February 13 – with that same weekend doubling as the opening weekend of the popular Country Championships Series. 

“The Shoalhaven City Turf Club is delighted to be afforded hosting rights for the Newhaven Park South Eastern Country Championships on Sunday 13th February,” Weekes said. 

“After the disappointment of the last two years the Shoalhaven City Turf Club Club is grateful for another chance to showcase both the club and the region.”

Weekes highlighted that Nowra’s first official South East qualifier meeting would also bring the most ever prizemoney to a Shoalhaven City Turf Club meeting.  

“This will now be the first time that a heat of the Country Championships series will be held at Nowra and in terms of prizemoney, it will be the biggest race meeting ever held with total prizemoney for the day of $370,000,” Weekes said. 

Weekes believed the Country Championships was the ‘pinnacle’ of country racing in NSW, and stressed that he and Nowra’s hard-working committee would be doing their best to promote the meeting and highlight the best of South East racing. 

“This event will be heavily promoted both locally and throughout the regions and there will be some exciting on-course activities and promotions for all patrons to enjoy,” Weekes said. 

“The Country Championships concept is widely acknowledged as the pinnacle of country racing in NSW and the club is grateful to have been chosen by Racing NSW to be the South East Racing Association’s host venue in 2022”.

Nowra trainer Terry Robinson, who won the 2021 Country Championships with Art Cadeau, was stoked to see the South East qualifier scheduled to be held on his home track. 

“Obviously from my point of view, it is great to have it here if I’m lucky enough to have a runner,” Robinson said. 

“The club deserves it; Nowra is a good track and it is in good order with great grass coverage.”

Robinson believed the Nowra course would handle the wet weather if it was to arrive for a third-straight year.

“They have had no luck with weather the last couple of years but that can happen anywhere,” Robinson said. 

“To have the qualifier here is good for the club and community in the South Coast and they have spent a fair bit of money doing it up and it raced really well the other day even though it was heavy after all the rain.”

Readers can find out more about the Country Championships by clicking here, or to get behind Shoalhaven City Turf Club and to attend the meeting, more information can be found by clicking here