Tatura holds rare racing meetings

By Alex Mitchell

One racing club’s heartbreak is another club’s Christmas morning — and that is exactly how the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club is feeling after picking up a rare race meeting.

The track will host a seven-race card tomorrow week after the Seymour Racing Club had four meetings taken away from it due to its track’s poor condition.

The August 18 meeting will be Tatura’s fifth of the season, preceding the September 22 Tatura Cup.

President Mick Toll said the extra meeting was the result of hard work from club figures — both securing the meeting and keeping the track in top condition.

‘‘Our club manager John Dight has been trying really hard to pick up one of those Seymour meetings,’’ he said.

‘‘I think he was told a while back we’d have a chance later in the year, the track holds up really well through rain. It’s great we’re able to host a Saturday meeting.’’

The racecourse’s gates will be flung wide open, with no charge to attend what the president said would be a subdued, yet superb, Saturday of thoroughbred action.

‘‘I’m pretty sure we won’t worry too much about full catering, but there’ll be coffee and food available,’’ Toll said.

‘‘As far as punting goes there’s a lot more on the Saturday meetings, and overall that means a bit more turnover.

‘‘There probably won’t be a great number of people there, but it’s really good for the club.’’

After cup day, Tatura will also host meetings on October 7 and November 20, before the December 9 Italian Plate.

Toll said the track was in great condition, with recent rain doing it a world of good.

Racing Victoria announced Seymour’s meetings between August and October would be moved to give the track extra time to improve, with testing and works to occur after a poor autumn period.

Seymour Racing Club chief executive Penny Reeve told the Seymour Telegraph the decision to transfer four race meetings — and cancel the Seymour Cup — had been heartbreaking.

Ms Reeve said the decision to transfer these meetings was a tough one — especially to lose the Godolphin Seymour Cup.

‘‘However it is in the best interests of improving the long-term condition of the track,’’ she said.

‘‘We will continue to do everything in our power to get the track up and running again and we expect to see a return to racing here at Seymour in November.

‘‘On behalf of the club, I would like to thank those who continue to support us, in particular the local community and those clubs that have taken on our meetings for the next three months.’’