Tumbarumba readying for bumper January Cup meeting

Racing will return to Tumbarumba Turf Club on January 29 with the annual Tumbarumba Cup meeting set to attract racegoers from far and wide. Photo: Tumbarumba Times.

If there is any local club due for some good luck, it has to be Tumbarumba Turf Club. 

The club raced in 40-plus degree temperatures in 2020, which followed on from the devastation of the Dunns Road bushfires.

Earlier this year, the club was then forced to abandon their meeting after a deluge of rain fell the night before their meeting. 

“We are due for some luck,” laughed Tumbarumba Turf Club Secretary, Gordon Kelso. 

“We are just looking forward to having patrons back at our race meeting and I think we will get great support after our washed out meeting last year because the club lost a lot of money.

“The club had everything ready for the race day, and we had 110mm of rain in 10 hours, and it stopped raining at 7am on the morning of the race meeting, so we were never a chance.” 

The Tumbarumba Cup program is usually held on the first Saturday in February, and Kelso explained that the committee petitioned Racing NSW to move their date to late January, with the club now racing on January 29.

The move was made so the Tumbarumba Cup meeting would fall two weeks after the Tumut Mile meeting on January 15 and two weeks before the Tumut Cup meeting on February 13.

“We wanted our meeting to be two weeks apart from Tumut, to give punters and trainers that two-week break,” Kelso said.

“It gives those horses a nice two-week let-up and I think you will find there will be horses that chase both the Tumbarumba and Tumut Cups.”

It should be a bumper race meeting too, with the Tumbarumba Cup worth $16,000 and the six-race-card carrying $70,000 in prizemoney.

“It is good prizemoney for a non-TAB meeting,” Kelso said. 

“If you compare it to having a run around at the picnics for $5000 overall prizemoney, it is a lot better to be racing at Tumbarumba, especially when you are racing for $5000 or more for first prize.

“That makes it much more attractive to owners and trainers.”

Sponsors have lined up to get involved in 2022, and Kelso believed every sign was pointing towards a big program of racing with an even bigger crowd. 

“The trainers have said they are coming and our sponsors are all backing up, which is a good thing,” Kelso said.

“The crowd should be massive, and the beauty about our meeting is, it is very unique. 

“We run the Victorian way, people love the big elm trees and it is one of the more unique settings in county NSW.”

Despite missing out on their 2021 meeting, the turf club have invested more money into their facilities in a bid to get people on track and having a good time.

“We just spent $20,000 doing up the canteen and putting in new fixtures, including stainless steel benchtops to be ready for the race day,” Kelso said.

“We have the new $50,000 toilet block and at the 1400m shoot, we have reclaimed a massive amount of area for patrons, and there is all new fencing along the 1400m shoot. 

“It’s the closest punters can get to the horses. They get close up and get to see the cup the start

Kelso hopes the club’s investment and many volunteer hours means punters and racing fans will get behind the club’s annual meeting.

“Even though the club has lost money, we aren’t sitting on our hands and we are promoting our meeting,” Kelso said.

“We want to get the message out there to punters that we are investing back into the club, so we have good facilities, and now we need them to come and support the club.”

Fashions on the field will return to the race meeting in 2022, and with eased Covid-19 restrictions, it means the race day will run as usual.

Additionally, the club will host the annual Tumbarumba Cup calcutta on the Friday night at the golf club.

The night of the races will be busy too, and Kelso hopes visitors take advantage of the Australia Day holiday on January 26 and make the trip to Tumbarumba.

“The two clubs have smorgasbord meals that night and the pubs generally have entertainment after the races,” Kelso said. 

“Plus, you are coming straight off the Australia Day holiday on the Wednesday. People will be doing the rail trail, visiting the wineries and checking out the region before heading into the races on the Saturday.”

Readers can keep up to date with the Tumbarumba Turf Club and their upcoming cup meeting by following them on Facebook.