WHAT'S ON

Wellington Race Club says preparations going well ahead of 2020 Boot

Superium won the Wellington Boot for Joseph Pride on Sunday. Photo: AMY McINTYRE
Superium won the Wellington Boot for Joseph Pride on Sunday. Photo: AMY McINTYRE

Despite the drought taking a toll on many country race tracks, the president of the Wellington Race Club said preparations were going well for the upcoming 2020 Boot.

Earlier this month, a Wellington race meeting, which was targeted for Monday, January 13, was shifted to Dubbo when Racing NSW imposed the change due to continuing drought conditions.

In a reversal of events that transpired late last year, the Dubbo club lost a race meeting due to extreme heat and dangerously low air quality and the event was instead held at Wellington's Race Course.

The track was deemed suitable for the boxing day races, where Daniel Northey notched up a big win for trainer Cassandra Stummer.

Wellington Race Club president Ian Darney said there were a few, small patches on the track that weren't up to scratch for the Boxing Day races.

"Since then we've been buying plenty of water in so we can get the track up," he said.

"You have to have out track at an optimum level to be able to hold race meetings like we do."

Darney said the dry times have been testing, which have made it hard to keep on top of keep the track at that optimum level.

"But we're winning. And we will have a terrific Boot, there's no worries about that. We will have the track in tip-top condition by then," he said.

The track received 70 millimetres of rain recently, which the Wellington Race Club president said was very welcome.

"There's no water like rain, there's no comparison," Darney explained.

"Now we're just fixing those ordinary spots up and it's coming ahead in leaps and bounds."

The racing surface for the horses was their upmost important issue, Darney said.

"When you have a $200,000 two-year-old race, plus a 100,000 Wellington Cup, you've just got to have your track at an optimum level. There's no in-between," he added.

"The community cannot afford to lose the event. We've gone through the worse possible drought and we can't have the pubs, clubs and all that lose accommodation or anything else. We've just got to keep at it."

The Wellington Race Club president said Dubbo Regional Council have been working hand in hand with them to ensure the track is at its best.

"We're going along fine at the moment, more rain would be lovely," he said.

The 2020 Wellington Boot Racing Carnival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5.

The 'Boot' 1100 metre race for two-year-olds has produced on-going champions of the turf and next year is the race's 40th anniversary.