Still no trotting meetings
NO REGULAR trotting meetings have been held at the Maryborough Showgrounds since 1985 – that long drought is still far from being broken.
Fraser Coast punters are facing an uncertain future with still no race date on the horizon for them to see some action in their own backyard so to speak after the bid by Wide Bay Harness Racing Club to hold a meeting on April 26 was knocked on the head.
Harness Racing Queensland advised that date clashed with some meetings elsewhere and there wouldn’t be enough stewards to go around.
If that wasn’t enough to cope with, imagine how the Wide Bay officials felt when they were told the venue is now booked out for the rest of the year.
The club had originally planned to have a meeting in January this year but that was washed out just days before the scheduled seven-race event was due to take place.
Not surprisingly, Wide Bay Harness Racing Club president Bob McCrae said he was gutted by the news.
“We are all feeling devastated to be honest,” the Childers-based McCrae said.
“I know it’s knocked the stuffing out of me personally.
“There have been times when I have simply thought what’s the point of going on but I’m not a quitter and neither are the rest of the committee.
“We want to bring trotting back to the region but it’s proving to be so hard, so much harder than we thought I can tell you.
“But we’ve done as much as we can do at this stage – we cannot do anymore.
“We’ve just got to wait to hear back from Harness Racing Queensland with some dates that we can possibly look at next year and that’s all we can do.
“Our hands are tied unfortunately.”
McCrae said he and his officials had tried all possible avenues to have a meeting this year.
“Believe me – we tried every which way we possibly could,” he said.
“We even asked the council if we could possibly share the venue with whoever was using it but that was a non-starter.
“It’s just such a shame because there has been so much interest from the members of the public in seeing the sport return here.
“We had people coming from everywhere to the meeting we had scheduled in January – we would have had a decent crowd for sure.
“The racing we held at the Fraser Coast Show last year proved very popular and I’ve got no doubt that would be the case when we have a meeting.
“We must also not forget that the Maryborough track is the only one north of Brisbane following the closure of Rockhampton three or so years ago so it should prove to be a huge drawcard.
“The interest is certainly out there but we cannot keep the momentum going forward if we cannot tell people when a meeting will be held and that’s so disappointing.”
But the lack of a date is not the only thing McCrae is feeling disappointed about.
He’s not very impressed by what the council want the club to pay to hire the venue for a day.
“Originally it was going to be $750 but now the bill would be more than $2000 for us as sole users,” McCrae said.
“That’s a lot of money in anyone’s books.
“We cannot afford that – that sort of figure leaves a huge question mark over the future of us ever holding a meeting.
“It seems we face a new hurdle with every move we try to make but we’ll hang in there.
“It’s obvious to us that people want a meeting here and we’ll do our best to meet that need but we can only take so much.
“We all have our own lives to lead and our own jobs to do.
“We are trying our best to make this happen but it’s getting harder with each passing day and the longer it goes on means it will be harder to keep the public interested.”