The longstanding Yass Picnic Race Club will host their 122nd annual meeting on February 25, but it’s set to be a meeting unlike any other of their previous race days, with the committee introducing some big changes.
Yass Picnic Race Club President, Sam Longmore wants the race day to be about the community and families, especially after they missed out on the chance to race in both 2021 and 2022.
In 2021, the meeting was transferred to Goulburn, while in 2022, wet weather on the night before the meeting cruelled their chances of racing.
“The night before we got a lot of soaking rain, and we checked at 6am and the bare patches couldn’t be raced on,” Longmore said.
“It was sad; we were set up and everything was ready to go.
“We had a phantom race-day, and people had a good time, but not racing for two years in a row has knocked us around and it’s taken some of the momentum out of the race meeting.”
Teaming up with new gold sponsor Agnew Hire, the club has had a chance to hit the reset button, and Longmore and her committee are focused on delivering a good all-round day for the people of Yass and visiting racegoers.
“We’re trying to make the meeting more enticing for the wider community,” Longmore said.
“There is a lot of growth happening, especially with our trust committee and the redevelopment of the area into a multipurpose facility, and if we can grow our races with that, it could be really good for everyone involved.
“For us, it’s about that growth and getting people back to the races.”
Yass will move their always-popular members marquee, and while the action will be hot on the track, with the running of the time-honoured Elders Yass – EJ Merriman Ravensworth Yass Picnic Cup headlining the program, patrons will have plenty to do off-track with of kids entertainment and a bumper fashions on the field competition.
“In previous years, the members area has always been in the same spot, but we have taken a leaf out of the Snake Gully Cup members area, and we’ve moved it, making it more accessible and a little fancier,” Longmore said.
“Previously it was pretty spread out, and we are going to condense that a bit more, and get some kids entertainment, and it’s just about making the races a bit more inclusive and making it open to anyone that wants to come along for a good day.
“A food van will be there, and the local rotary; they always pull off a ripper barbeque, and a couple of local coffee vans, a slushy van, and some inflatables, which is fun for the kids.
“Plus, we have the fashions, which has really become a statement of the races. We are just trying to make it more enticing, especially for people coming from various regions, and we will have good prizes up for grabs.
“For those dressed up, we’ll have a flower wall for everyone to enjoy for photos, and the Instagram frame, and some lawn games for people to enjoy, giving it that the community-orientated picnic vibe that we are going for.”
Moving with the times, Yass is now online, and patrons can book their tickets without any hassle.
“We are now fully online, and it has helped us in the back end volunteer wise, as people can book their marquee tickets and race-day tickets digitally, and we only have a small committee, so it all helps,” Longmore said.
As always, there will be the TAB van, metro and local bookmakers, and Longmore is making sure trainers and jockeys are well looked after on the day.
Yass Valley Stockfeed will be providing a pallet of feed, with unsuccessful trainers leaving with a bag of food for their horses, while there will be a lucky door prize on the day, with one lucky trainer getting whatever is left on the pallet.
Additionally, there will be cash prizes for the most successful trainer ($1000) and most successful jockey ($500).
It is BYO on the day, and entry is $20 online, or $25 at gate.
Gates open at 11am, and the festivities run through until 9pm.
For more on the race day, including marquee packages, readers can click here.