Tumut on track following major upgrades

Kerry Weir is happy with how the Tumut Turf Club course proper has responded following recent work.

After trucks, graders and other earthmoving machinery piled onto the Tumut Turf Club course proper back in February to complete some of the biggest work in the club’s recent history, the track itself is responding better than anticipated.  

Tumut Turf Club spent a lot of their own money and effectively levelled their racecourse surface before the course proper was resewn with a special mix of racing grass in early April. 

Only a month on and the course proper’s grass growth has been phenomenal according to Tumut Turf Club curator Kerry Weir.

“We only sewed it halfway through April and we were hoping that if we could have it grow an inch before we got a frost that would be brilliant but it’s a lot longer,” Weir said.

“We have had the right growing weather. We had rain two or three days after sewing it, and to be honest, we just got a bit lucky and it is looking great.”

Weir said there was still a lot of work to do before racing returned to Tumut on Derby Day, which falls on October 29 this year, but the curator and local trainer was confident the course would be ready and raring and given the tick of approval by Racing NSW stewards before a busy season of racing. 

“In my opinion, we should be right to race,” Weir said. 

“We have a few months to go yet, and there is a lot of growing to do, but once Spring hits it, it will shoot up.

“We still have a few things to do. It still has to be sprayed and have a few things like the clover killed, then it has to be rolled and we will gallop a few horses on it, but fingers crossed it will be ready for Derby Day.”

Adding to a busy period for the club and their hard-working volunteers, Tumut Turf Club received a new and much safer running rail earlier this year.

After installing approximately 200m worth of rail, more work will be completing on Saturday, with Weir hoping to have a large chunk completed. 

“We are hoping to have a working bee on Saturday and we want to get another 600 to 800 metres of the running rail done,” Weir said. 

“We have about 180m done and if we can get to it twice, and hold two big working bees, we can get the whole track done.

“We will be starting at 9.30am if anyone wants to come down and help.”

Weir said the new running rail was a safer option, with the former jockey explaining that the upgrade was just another way Tumut Turf Club was making sure participants and their gallopers were kept safe when racing at Tumut.

“It comes down to safety,” Weir said.

“The old one was dangerous – it’s as simple as that.

“Say, if a horse falls and throws a jockey onto it, with this new rail, it will just snap off and break and won’t hurt him, but the other one was a three-quarter inch still pipe that might have killed them.

“It’s important to have the new rail, because it’s for the safety of horse and jockey.”