• PHOTO: Representatives of local junior sporting clubs lined up to receive a donation from Coonamble Jockey Club: Liz Green, Maureen Nalder, Adam Macrae, Nicole Jackson, Michael Wilson, Ana Robson (CJC Secretary), Ben Williams, Lisa Wheeler, Angus and Emma Coleman, Mick Heaney (CJC Vice President), Graeme Proctor (CJC), Mick Fletcher (CJC), Ken Waterford (CJC President), Noel Ledden (CJC).
COONAMBLE Jockey Club this week gave their community another good reason to go to their local races as they donated money back to junior sporting clubs.
The $8300 was raised from the Club’s Calcutta held as part of the 2020 Gold Cup and was divided among eight community-run groups that work hard to encourage and enable children and young people to participate in a range of sporting activities.
The funds were divided based on participation numbers within each junior sporting club.
At a small ceremony on Monday 8 March at Coonamble Racecourse, Adam Macrae accepted $2000 on behalf of the Junior League and Netball while Nicole Jackson received $1250 for the Coonamble Netball Association’s new goal post padding.
Little Athletics’ $1250 was accepted by Maureen Nalder who told the Times that the money was going towards a trailer to carry the ”very heavy” high jump mats and that the trailer would be built by local fabricator David Burtenshaw.
Ben Williams was on hand for Coonamble Junior Soccer and collected $1250 to go to new soccer nets.
Coonamble Junior Cricket was represented by Michael Wilson and he said their $750 would help buy a kit bag and some new bats.
Angus and Emma Coleman picked up $600 for Coonamble Swimming Club’s new stop watches and Lisa Wheeler said that the $600 donated to the Wanderers Tennis Club would contribute to hiring a Junior Tennis Coach during the school holidays.
Liz Green thanked the Jockey Club for their $600 contribution towards a new hot water system and to replace equipment recently stolen from their shed at the Showground.
Jockey Club Vice President Michael Heaney said that a further $1000 was earmarked for prizemoney for the Re-educated Racehorse events held as part of the equine program at the 2021 Coonamble Show.
Country Championship Qualifiers this weekend
The presentation was held just days out from the 2021 Country Championships Western Districts Qualifier to be hosted by Coonamble Jockey Club on Sunday 14 March.
This will be Coonamble’s second time as host for the prestigious event and huge crowds are expected for the expanded nine race program which has gone one better than the 2020 event to break the record as the richest race meeting ever run at Coonamble Racecourse.
A total prize purse of $400,000 is up for grabs and the contest between the western region’s top horses and jockeys will be hot with just two spots available in the Newhaven Park stakes at the Country Championship finals to be held at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday 3 April where the race winner will bag $500,000.
Improvements on display
The Coonamble Jockey Club has been preparing for this weekend “from the minute the 2020 event ended” with the ongoing improvements to on and off-track areas continuing.
“All the inside grounds now have an automated watering system, we have a new septic, two new horse washbays, four new stables and new starting barriers,” Mr Waterford said.
“This is on top of the 1400 square metres of new turf that we laid earlier.”
Their work has not gone unnoticed with the Western Districts Stipendiary Steward Todd Smith recently saying the track is the best he’s seen in his 18 years and Dave Hodgson, Curator for Racing NSW, commenting that Coonamble currently has as good a grassed track as anywhere in the state.
“We just want people to come out and have a great day,” Mr Waterford said.
“We say it every time but you don’t have to love racing to enjoy the day out.”
“This is for the town to come out and enjoy a party,” he said
There is plenty to love this time around with the Jockey Club organising a free glass of champagne for the ladies on entry, Pooka the clown and jumping castle for the children and a well-sponsored multi-category Fashions on the Field to look forward to.
Even their food and beverage offerings have increased with their Oyster Bar, Cocktail bar, cheese platters by TP Catering, sandwiches and other food by Diane Pennell and Global Village café, and Joe Bellgardt’s famous steak sandwiches to keep the hunger pains at bay.
The TAB are getting on board with their on-site van and free entry for 100 invited punters in a covered area catered by Two Birds Café.
Jockey Club President Ken Waterford also announced on Monday that the local organisation voted by his committee to be the primary recipient of the Calcutta fundraising to be held this Saturday evening will be the Koonambil aged care facility.
“We’re all headed there,” Mr Waterford said. “We hope to raise enough money at the Calcutta to buy outdoor furniture to go in Koonambil’s garden for the residents and their visitors to enjoy.”
Any remaining funds will go towards on course amenity improvements.
The list of auction items is already looking impressive and the Jockey Club has kept their books open for anyone willing to support the cause with a donation.
Those attending can so far compete to buy some stock transport, a load of composted manure, a two night hospitality package in Dubbo, 200 hectares of mouse baiting and their own front page of the Coonamble Times.
The Calcutta is being hosted by the Terminus Hotel.
Tickets for the races on Sunday are available on 123tix and at this stage can still be purchased at the gate unless new COVID restrictions come into play.
Gates open at 11am. The first race is 12.20pm sharp.