The last race meeting for the season at Narrandera was held on Saturday, and the organisers are hailing it as a success.
“It was a great day,” said Narrandera Racing Club manager Michael Bailey.
“The crowd wasn’t what we’ve had in previous years, and the weather wasn’t great. But in terms of racing and turnover it was a great day.” According to Mr Bailey, a horse owned by Narrandera Race Club Committee member Graham Mathieson was the winner of the actual TC Lee race.
“It made it a real race for the town, having the vice president win the race and having Gwen Lee (Tom’s widow) on hand to present the trophy,” Mr Bailey said.
Mr Mathieson had two horses come home winners, with Riverbend Chief winning the sixth race of the day and Run Hoff Run, who Mr Mathieson owns as part of a syndicate , was the winner of the last race of the day. Both horses were trained by Trevor Sutherland.
“Trevor’s horses won the last three races,” Mr Bailey said. Mr Sutherland’s own horse, Benno’s Boy, was the winner of the fifth race of the day.
One of the highlights of the day was the presentation of the Peter Lawrence-Rex Davis Club Person of the Year award. Race Club Secretary Lee Sweeney was this year’s award recipient.
“Lee’s done a fantastic job, she’s such a deserving winner. Lee has done so much for the club this year. She does a lot more than people realise, and a hell of a lot more than she’ll ever let on,” Mr Bailey said. All in all, it has been an extremely successful year for the club.
“I think the biggest thing too is that the success of this year didn’t start this year; it started with Marj Amery and Tommy Lee saving the club from going down the gurgler all those years ago,” Mr Bailey said.
“This year’s success really is the result of years of hard work from our committee and the effort that they have put into the club.” While it is the official last race of the season, the club committee aren’t quite ready to put their feet up yet.
Brent Lawrence presenting the Peter Lawrence- Rex Davis Club Person of the Year Award to Lee Sweeney, with Race Club President Tony Paterson.
“We’ve informed the stewards at Racing NSW that our track is repaired, prepared and ready. Basically if it rains for two weeks straight we’re in a position as a back-up track if anywhere else gets unfit for racing,” Mr Bailey explained.
The Narrandera Racing Club track is an ideal wetweather track, as it is built on clay and sand and can absorb more water than other areas. Even if no other race meetings go ahead, the committee are already gearing up for the next year.
“If anything, we’ll probably need to work harder next year. We’ll have a meeting in about a month, once everyone’s had time to digest this last meeting, and then we’ll discuss what’s worked this year and what hasn’t.
“We probably need to start looking at ways we can involve the community more and start using our facilities more. There’s a lot of weeks that go by where the facility isn’t in use, and we need to talk about trying to get the community more involved.”
Mr Bailey said the club will also need to talk about investments further down the track. The outbuildings currently used as the secretary and jockey area will need to be replaced in a few years.
“It’s too far gone to be repaired, but we need to start looking at it as a multi-purpose area.”