It has been a tough period for NSW race clubs, with the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent NSW Government lockdown forcing many committees to make the difficult decision to abandon their community and picnic meetings, or alternatively race without crowds, knowing full well they will be running at a loss.
Despite the current predicament, and the unknowns of the spring and summer racing season in NSW, Tumut Turf Club had a message for participants ahead of their season that commences on Derby Day, October 30.
“We are industry first and we plan to race,” said Tumut Turf Club President David Rosetta.
“At this stage, we are seeing some clubs that are still racing under the restrictions and we would like to join them and race.”
Tumut may get lucky and could see some resemblance of a crowd at any of their Derby Day (October 30), Boxing Day (December 26), Tumut Mile (January 15) and Tumut Cup (February 12) meetings, but Rosetta reiterated that being able to open their gates would not dictate their decision to race in 2021/22.
“As we have said for a long time now, we are here for the trainers and owners,” Rosetta said.
“We made a decision as a club a while ago that racing is our priority and with that has come good racing and support from owner and trainers, which has also led to good crowds, as they work hand in hand with each other.”
Rosetta was keeping positive that Covid-19 restrictions would ease by Christmas, allowing for the club’s annual Boxing Day meeting, that annually attracts upwards of 1500 patrons, to be going ahead at full capacity.
“We are still hopeful that we can have some sort of crowd on Derby Day and very hopeful we can get a good crowd on Boxing Day,” Rosetta said.
“For the whole region, we are hoping everything opens up by Chrissy as we are keen to race and keen to see the community enjoying our race days.”
In the meantime, Tumut Turf Club have two major projects in the works ahead of their season opener, although both are at a standstill as the club waits on council approval for one project, and equipment for their other.
“We are waiting on the new running rail from Racing NSW and the company who is looking after that is behind, and sitting right now with council, is the DA (Development Application) for the undercover bookie area,” Rosetta said.
“We might be able to have that (undercover area) in place before Derby Day, we have the contractors ready to go, we are just waiting on a decision from council.”
It shapes as a very important time for Racing NSW, and while Tumut Turf Club continues to plan for improvements and their upcoming racing season, time will only tell if other community and picnic clubs in the Southern Districts and South East follow suit and offer racing to grass roots participants.