A mob of kangaroos - more than 400 in fact - bandicoots and wild rabbits put paid to this year’s Mareeba Cup meeting which was to have been held on Saturday.

But while they stopped the Cup meeting, they didn’t stop the party!

While racehorses and their handlers participated  at a hastily organised meeting at Cairns, the staunch and dedicated local fraternity turned up for a phantom meeting. More than 700 in fact in their fashion finest for live bands live bands, foot races and fun.

“Oh they are unreal up here,” said club secretary John Thurlow, when questioned about the 700-strong crowd which is more than the number who turned up at Cairns races.

Mareeba first started racing in 1895 - and is much older than Cairns Jockey Club - and it seems everyone gets behind the club.

“Racing Queensland gave us a grant to build a fence to keep the thirsty roos and rabbits off the course proper.

“But we didn’t get it in time. The fence is still not quite finished and there are holes everwhere. They’ve dug holes all over the track.

“They even chewed through a brand new 100ft sinker hose”.

Mr Thurlow said  RQ had also granted  permission to run the Cup meeting on Boxing Day.

“We reckon we will be ready by then,” said the secretary who said there were still 30-odd horses in work.

“But the training track is not affected - and the roos don’t go there.

“We can work ‘em - but we can’t race ‘em.”

Kangaroos have been a problem for country racetracks for years, particularly turf tracks, but they are worse than ever because of the drought.

At Ingham however, where the Cup meeting was held last week, there was another problem that almost caused a stop-work by jockeys.

Ingham racecourse is also a golf course and apart from the hazards of golf balls on the course proper there was another problem this year when a dredge was built across the course proper at the 1500m that jockeys didn’t know about until they rode out on to the track.

“It is bloody dangerous,” said one leading jockey. “The work wasn’t levelled”

Jockeys called a meeting with stewards but elected to continue riding at the meeting.

Frank Edwards, one of the north’s most senior riders, and known for his conservatism, said the track was the hardest he had ever ridden on. No-one argued.

No doubt there will be a thorough course inspection before the next meeting scheduled for November 18.

Of course country race clubs have an enormous financial battle to meet current day Work Place and Safety requirements and race club grants are becoming less frequent and much harder to obtain. Even Townsville, the premier club, has called for volunteers to conduct its meeting on Thursday week.

That surely must be an ominous sign for participants of the racing industry, particularly those in the remote, country and provincial areas of the State.



MEANWHILE, Racing Queensland will host a new weekly meeting with track managers from across the State following a successful workshop held in Brisbane last week.

Members from RQ’s infrastructure team were joined by a range of track management experts to meet with representatives from the Gold Coast Turf Club, Brisbane Racing Club, Sunshine Coast Turf Club, Cairns Jockey Club, Townsville Turf Club and Ipswich Turf Club.

Notable absentees were reps from Rockhampton and Mackay. According to those on the ground in both places urgent work is required, particularly Mackay which is being over-loaded with race dates and showing the effects of excessive wear and tear according to those who ride it.

RQ General Manager of Racing, Simon Stout, said a wide-range of topics were discussed, with a view to developing and implementing best practice strategies for the maintenance of racing surfaces.

“Topics included sand profile tracks and their requirements, material testing and sub-surface stability, benefits of aerating, turf management, soil biology and plant nutrition,” Mr Stout said.

Track managers have described the experts on hand to speak at the event as ‘first class’.

“Feedback from the workshop has been extremely positive, which has led to RQ facilitating a new weekly teleconference for all TAB racecourse managers, starting this week,” Mr Stout said.



NOMINATIONS for the iconic Ewan races close Monday (September 18) and president David Woodhouse has been active encouraging trainers to nominate for what is one of the most popular two day events in the north.

Ewan had a dramatic change in format two years ago when the club switched from the amateur status to professional - but in spite of fears to the contrary the crowds over the last two years has hit record figures. It is truly a unique experience for horses and most of all families.

The catch cry used to be: “Meet your mates at Mingela. Now it’s: Everyone goes to Ewan....




Join Us on Facebook

Racing News

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Getaway & Go Racing &
Day at the Races FREE Ratings
BN: 55127167

Login Form