Just like many other country tracks in NSW, 2022 will be the first time Lightning Ridge has raced in three years.
Lightning Ridge Race Club were forced to abandon their plans in 2020 and 2021 and President Campbell ‘Rock’ Murray said his committee was looking forward to hosting their Lightning Ridge Cup meeting on April 16.
“We didn’t run in 2020, and we had to pull the pin three weeks before, and last year we were rained out,” Murray said.
“We haven’t had a race meeting since and we are looking forward to racing.”
Racing on Easter Saturday gives family and friends a chance to venture back to town for the popular meeting, which is just one of the major events across a big two days for the town.
“It’s a pretty unique meeting,” Murray said.
“You have got the people all dressed up for the fashions and the opal miners that show up in their stubbies and thongs.
“There is the festival all weekend. We have the rodeo on Friday night, and street stalls and mining exhibition in the morning and races at lunch time – it’s a good weekend.”
Murray expects a good crowd too, with the school holidays meaning it is a popular destination for families.
“All the school kids are back from Sydney and it’s a pretty well supported race meeting,” Murray said.
“Walgett sends a bus down for the day and the crowd is around the 1000 to 1200.”
Having not raced for two years means the club is working hard to have the track and grounds in cherry ripe condition for their six-race-program.
“We have had a bit of rain,” Murray said.
“We are doing a lot of work on the track at the moment, and everything up there is looking nice and green and everything is on track.”
The club hosts three 1200m races, a 1000m race and two 900m races, with their uniquely-shaped racecourse offering something different to local trainers, jockeys and owners.
“It’s a unique racetrack, it’s a 1200m straight with a little dog-leg in the end,” Murray said.
Also, the track is situated in town, making it an easy place to get to for racegoers.
“The racetrack is virtually right in town and the bowling club is only 100m away and the pub is 250m away and they put on live entertainment,” Murray said.
“We shut our bar at 6pm and encourage everyone to go and support them and enjoy a night of live music.”
The club will also show off their new upgrades, and Murray is hoping a big crowd enjoys the improved amenities.
“We have a new undercover area, which was up last year, but we didn’t race, and it will be good this year and offers good shade and looks very good,” Murray said.
The $12,000 Lightning Ridge Cup over 1200m is the feature on the program, and for a full list of events, readers can click here and for more information on the meeting and what’s on, readers can click here.