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Country race clubs want action after cancellations

Brewarrina Jockey Club President Tim Slack-Smith believes people should speak out about the issue of country race meeting cancellations. Photo Djanayah Jeffries

The impact of the recent race day cancellations at Brewarrina, Quambone and Merriwa are still impacting country racing, with club some committees fearful of their future viability and some committee members, jockeys, and trainers afraid to speak out against Racing NSW.

The Brewarrina race meet on May 13 was cancelled less than hour before the first race, with the Racing NSW steward saying the track was not up to standard.

At the Quambone races the week before, the Marthaguy Club Committee which holds the meet, was told on the day of the races they had to cancel due to track concerns and at Merriwa just a few weeks prior, the meeting was also cancelled on the day.

The scrapping of three country race meetings within weeks of each other has sent shockwaves through the country racing industry.

Concerns have also been raised about what some committee members say is heavy-handed management of small country volunteer committees, and that criticism of NSW Racing could impact their viability or registration.

The Marthaguy Race Committee said it had received a letter from Racing NSW, allegedly warning that further criticism from the club could jeopardise its future registration.

Brewarrina Jockey Club President Tim Slack-Smith said he was surprised at how cautious jockeys and trainers were in making comment following the cancellation of the Brewarrina race meeting.

“I don’t think it is healthy that people have to be so cautious,” Tim said.

“On the day when our race was cancelled, I got the sense that they didn’t want to speak out loud and there seems to be something held over them that they’re worried about.

“During discussions I have had with people since the cancellation of our meeting, I was told to be careful about what I said, and I think that’s wrong,” he said. […]

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