Harness racing is hot to trot
MARYBOROUGH is on track to become a mecca for harness racing fans.
No regular trotting action has been seen at the Maryborough Showgrounds since 1985 – that long drought is almost over.
Wide Bay Harness Racing Club officials are keen to make up for lost time and will start hosting meetings on a track, described by many as one of the finest in regional Australia, next year.
The first meeting will be on January 10 and will feature seven events with full fields of eight pacers in each race.
Two bookmakers will also be trackside for those keen to have a punt.
Many of the pacers will come from the Leigh Wanless stables and training track in Maryborough while others, who race regularly at Redcliffe and Albion Park, will also be in action.
Wide Bay Harness Racing Club vice-president Don Cross said these were exciting times for the sport in the region.
“No longer will those who love it have to look elsewhere for entertainment – it will be right here in their back yard now,” Mr Cross said.
“It will be really great to see the horses going ’round the track again because that was what it was built for and it’s been idle for so long.”
With Maryborough up and running again, Mr Cross said the club, which has been granted a licence by Harness Racing Queensland, is aiming to hold meetings more regularly now.
“I’d like to say we’d have six or so – that would be great,” he said.
“It all depends on the support we get because all the meetings will be self-funded.
“Toowoomba had its first meeting in seven or so years last week and got a crowd of 2000 or so – I’d like to think we’d get that and maybe more.
“The racing we held at the Fraser Coast Show earlier this year proved popular so I hope that’s the case again this time around.
“Our facility is the only one north of Brisbane following the closure of Rockhampton in 2007 so it should prove to be a huge drawcard – we hope so anyway.”