Dubbo Turf Club has been named as a finalist in the Outstanding Achievement category of the 2018 NSW Country and Provincial Racing Awards.
In what is almost a clean sweep for western area clubs, Coonamble, Mudgee, Shoalhaven and Warren are also finalists, while legendary Dubbo hoop Greg Ryan is a Country Jockey of the Year finalist.
Dubbo Turf Club general manager Vince Gordon credited the club’s growing success as a training ground for its nomination.
“It’s a privilege to be nominated as a club,” he said.
“The club is known for producing a high number of trained starters in country NSW, so horses that are trained in Dubbo, and that’s a legacy of the training facilities we have here.
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“We would have 110 to 120 horses in work at any time so continually repairing and upgrading the facilities and getting that to the standard that’s acceptable and workable and we’ve got a great staff, people that are willing to work diligently to achieve the outcomes we want to achieve.”
The club has also undertaken major upgrades in recent years, including the installation of a new sand track, the upcoming renovation of the gold stabiliser track, as well as the mammoth project to install a new drainage system under the track’s grass surface.
“That was a project that took over 18 months and two summers and over all that we only lost one race meeting and continued to train at the facility,” Gordon said.
“So that investment was an achievement and something we’re proud of.
“It’s always nice to get recognised … it’s nice to know we’re doing something that is seen by others as beneficial to the industry and the local economy and beneficial to racing locally as well as regionally.”
The club now runs barrier trials outside of race days – a feature that sets it apart from many regional clubs – and Gordon foreshadowed more exciting developments in the coming months.
He said the usually busy spring calendar featuring the Dubbo City Toyota Gold Cup, Derby Day and Melbourne Cup Day, would be joined by a new Tradies Race Day on September 28, and a Christmas twilight meeting on December 21.
“We’re very excited … we’ve got lots happening, lots of racing and lots of other developments coming,” Gordon said.
Duck Creek Picnic Race Club and Coonabarabran Jockey Club are finalists for Community Race Club of the Year. Cowra’s Matthew Cahill is a Country Jockey of the Year finalist and Narromine’s Ricky Blewitt is the only finalist for Leading Approved Rider of the Year.