Narrabri Jockey Club have raced just twice in the previous five years, with the impacts of drought and the Covid-19 pandemic putting a stop to meetings.
On March 19, the annual Narrabri Cup meeting will signal a long-awaited return to normality for Narrabri Jockey Club’s President Bob Percival and his team.
“We are looking forward to racing this year – it’s been a while,” Percival said.
“First of all, it was the drought that stopped us (in 2017), then we got back but with Covid, we haven’t been able to race.
“In 2020, we were getting ready for a big day and the restrictions in place were too stringent, especially for a voluntary committee.
“In 2021, we had the breakout again, and lockdown again, and we could have raced, but we had the same problems as we are an entirely volunteer committee.”
This year, everything is open up again, and we are keen to put on a successful meeting.”
Percival said Narrabri and surrounds were looking forward to a very big race day.
“We only have one meeting a year but it’s always pretty popular,” Percival said.
“We think everyone is pretty keen. Narrabri has been locked up for so long, and it will be good to go out for the day.”
The community is getting behind the Narrabri Cup meeting too, and Percival said the support had been overwhelming.
“People are now keen to get out and we have new people on board for sponsorship and ideas are coming forward,” Percival said.
“It’s building quite nicely.”
The Narrabri Cup meeting has everything a racing fan could want, and Percival believed their March 19 race day had the potential to be one of their biggest meetings in recent memory.
“We have had some wonderful crowds over the last 10 years. We have been getting 2000 to 3000 for a good Saturday afternoon,” Percival said.
“It is a big once-a-year cup meeting and social event, and people just haven’t had those lately.
“We run fashions on the field; we put stuff on for the kids with a jumping castle and face painting, plus we work in conjunction with pubs and clubs, and patrons get taken back to town.
“The business houses support us really well, and they do that because the build-up for race week and the actual race day turns over a lot of money in the whole town.
“Hopefully this year will be one of our biggest meetings ever for everyone involved.”
The popular race day, which hosts the $16000 Narrabri Cup and $12000 Sponsors Cup, is run on the same day at the Golden Slipper and Percival explained that the club would try and use the big Sydney meeting to their advantage.
“For us, it’s a Ladies’ Day, similar to what the Golden Slipper is in Sydney, so fashions will be a big part of the day,” Percival said.
“We are doing a deal with the Tourist Hotel on the Friday night with a double calcutta, and we are going to do a calcutta on the Narrabri Cup and Golden Slipper.
“That will be a first for us, and it has been a very long time since we’ve done a calcutta.”