Warialda in ‘beautiful’ shape ahead of return to racing

The Leon Cross-trained Mr Malu wins at Warialda back in 2019. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Warialda Jockey Club are readying for an exciting return to racing in 2022, with their Warialda Cup meeting set to be run on April 2. 

Covid put an end to their plans of racing in 2020 before a freak downpour on the morning of their meeting in 2021 put a stop to their race meeting, while the club still held a phantom race day. 

Leading into next month’s meeting, Track Manager and Warialda trainer Leon Cross couldn’t be happier with the course proper, suggesting visiting trainers will be pleasantly surprised when they turn up to Warialda.

“It looks beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” Cross said. 

“It used to be an old dirt track and it has grassed right around and I only mowed yesterday (Thursday), and you wouldn’t get it in better condition.”

Cross said a new irrigation system had helped their preparation too, with Warialda missing a lot of the recent rain in NSW.

“We have a new irrigation system right around,” Cross said. 

“They finished it three months ago and I have been watering the track since then. 

“We’re lucky too because it has been pretty dry here. We haven’t been getting too much rain. 

“We got 18ml last night, which was needed, and we had 30ml the other day, so it’s not been too bad, but we still needed the water.”

Cross believed the meeting would be very popular for not just trainers and jockeys after a date change, but also the general public, who have been crying out for an event in Warialda. 

“If there is no rain about it will be beautiful and if everything goes right, we should be in for a huge day,” Cross said. 

“There isn’t a lot of social dates in Warialda. The race club and the agricultural show are the main ones. 

“We also brought it forward a week this year so we wouldn’t clash with Goondiwindi, and we should get a few horses from over the border, and jockeys too.”

Racing participants and fans will be treated to new improvements and Cross could only find positives when discussing their upcoming meeting.  

“It’s a beautiful grass track and the improvements over the past two or three years have been fantastic,” Cross said. 

“There wouldn’t be too many tracks about that have had these improvements and people love coming here and it should be a good day.”

The meeting will also host the Darren Jones Memorial Warialda Sprint, which celebrates the life and contributions of jockey Darren Jones, who tragically passed away at their 2017 meeting. 

“One of the main attractions is the Darren Jones Memorial,” Cross said. 

“We have only raced twice since then and that seems to attract a lot of trainers who used to use Darren as a jockey.

“His wife and family come to the meeting, and he was an icon around here, and he was a mentor to all young jockeys and absolutely fantastic and I know it is a race a lot of people want to win.” 

It will be another big day of North West racing at Warialda on April 2 and readers can click here for more details.